Discussing pain perception at an FHT local group

Hereford local group

During our previous meeting, we had a fascinating talk on rethinking pain by Lin Leong, a neurophysiotherapist and yoga teacher, writes Hereford group coordinator Carina Stinchcombe.

Lin gave us an overview of the mechanisms active in persistent pain. As our collective understanding of pain perception develops, it seems that tissue damage, misalignment or degradation are not sufficient explanations in the treatment of persistent pain. Applying the biopsychosocial model to understanding pain, we considered strategies beyond tissue release and remedial action, to support clients with persistent pain.

In practice, it can be confusing for a bodyworker to apply a biopsychosocial model to their treatments. A helpful shift is to emphasise the value of validating a client’s experience, using empowering language and creating a safe environment where a client needs to relearn a pain habit. We can also sometimes help a client to identify factors that may increase pain perception, for instance, fear avoidance, leading to habitual and unhelpful movement strategies, tiredness, loneliness, stressful work conditions, anxiety and depression. Many people won’t have made these connections for themselves, so we can use our own treatments and referral networks to help clients access strategies to help with the reduction of pain.

Because translating this theory into practice is so multifaceted, we couldn’t cover applications in much depth, so we plan to have another session later in the year.

Find your local group and feel part of a therapy community!

Local groups are a valuable hub for all those with a passion for therapies. Come along to hear from excellent speakers about the latest therapies and business ideas, take part in outings and social events, enjoy treatment swaps and share best practice.

We hope you enjoyed this article, which was first published in the Summer 2019 issue of International Therapist!

International Therapist is the FHT’s membership magazine. Published on a quarterly basis, it offers a broad range of articles – from aromatherapy and electrolysis, to sports injuries and regulation updates. The magazine is a membership benefit and is not available off-the-shelf or by subscription.

Join today to start receiving the leading magazine for professional therapists.

Jennifer Young & Beauty Despite Cancer joins forces with Cancer Research UK

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FHT Accredited course provider, Jennifer Young, has announced a pioneering collaboration between Cancer Research UK and Jennifer Young & Beauty Despite Cancer.

The Jennifer Young Skincare Collections are formulated to combat some of the side-effects of treatment for cancer, such as dry, sore, sensitive, flaking skin; chapped lips; and brittle nails. The products were created with the help of those affected by cancer and their healthcare teams.

On 30 August 2019 at the Cancer Research UK premium store in Marylebone, London, Jennifer and her team will be offering skin, nail and wellbeing advice, mini treatments and workshops, promoting rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. The event is not just for those currently undergoing cancer treatment, all are welcome to join one of the complimentary workshops, receive a free massage or call in for a chat.

Workshop Timetable

11:00 – 11:45 Mini manicures and hand massage

12:00 – 12:45 Nail workshop

13:00 – 13:45 Hand massage

14:15 – 15:00 Nail workshop

15:15 – 16:00 Head, neck and shoulder massage (through clothes)

In addition to free workshops, Jennifer Young & Beauty Despite Cancer is offering a free gift worth £20, exclusive to this event, with product purchases of £30 or over.

Jennifer is delighted to have opportunity to provide further support to the many already helped by Cancer Research UK.

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Jennifer says, ‘I am very much looking forward to meeting everyone in Marylebone in August. It is always an honour to help people regain some normality as they undergo or recover from cancer treatment. Women don’t stop being women when they are diagnosed but, often, their sensitive skin means that they are no longer able to enjoy their usual skincare products. We can help, not only by providing high quality, specialist skincare but by giving well-researched advice. We don’t only help ladies, I hope men, women and children call into the Cancer Research UK premium store in Marylebone on 30 August. We have something for everyone. After all, who doesn’t like a free bespoke massage and manicure?’

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Its vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. In addition to researching cures for cancer, Cancer Research UK is committed to improving the lives of those affected by cancer. One way the charity does this is via its range of cancer care products available to buy from the Cancer Research UK online shop.

Among a range of cancer care products including mastectomy underwear and swimwear, the online shop contains a carefully curated collection of Jennifer Young specialist skin, nail and lip care products, formulated to help those going through cancer treatment feel a little more comfortable and pampered.

A day in the life of an FHT Ambassador

Pam Hardy ambassador

My name is Pam Hardy and I have been a Member of the FHT for 14 years and Coordinator for the Eastbourne and South Downs FHT Local Group for the last six years. I have recently become an Ambassador for the FHT and wanted to share with you my day as an Ambassador.

I was invited by the local College to come along to give some employability feedback to the students. When I arrived in the morning, the Level 3 complementary therapy students were just about to take their final exam. I was asked if I could assess them and give them feedback as to their employability. I spent the whole time in the exam with them assessing their two treatments, of a back, neck and shoulder massage and a reflexology treatment on the same client. They had two hours to complete their task.

Whilst they were treating, I was assessing them with the lecturer, Bev Collison, who is also an FHT member. We discussed everything that they did throughout the two hours, making very thorough notes as we went. At the end of the exam, Bev and I discussed all the students and graded them accordingly. The students were then called back in for us to give them their final grading and feedback.

I was introduced to all the staff at the college as an Ambassador for the FHT and they all told me how happy they were to have our support. I felt so privileged to be invited by the college on such a busy day, to see the high standards achieved by both the college and students, and to give them valuable feedback on their employability and future careers. I wished them all the best for their future and the students all did really, really well.

Find out more about the FHT Ambassador Programme

FHT member Tamer Morsy wins gold medal at massage world championship


Congratulations to Tamer Morsy, MFHT, who took home a gold medal, after finishing first place in the Freestyle Massage Western inspired category at the World Championship in Massage, held in Copenhagen from 22-23 June.

No stranger to professional recognition, Tamer adds the gold medal to a string of recent awards, including a bronze medal at the European Massage Championships and a silver medal at the UK’s National Massage Championships last year.


Representing the UK, Tamer finished ahead of stiff competition in the Freestyle Massage Western inspired category, with the USA’s Patrick Arnold gaining silver and fellow Brit and FHT member, Slav Marinov gaining bronze. Therapists in this category displayed versatile skills, combining different types of western massage methods, including self treatment, cupping, massage with tools and other types of bodywork.

Speaking to the FHT Tamer says, ‘Participating in championships allows me to meet fantastic therapists from all around the world (200 therapists from around 50 different countries participated in this one). It feels amazing to be surrounded by like-minded people who share the same interest and passion. I’ve seen a lot of new techniques and types of treatment and it gives me the opportunity to be judged by more experienced therapists and get their feedback about ways to improve my skills.

‘It feels amazing to get the gold medal. I didn’t expect to win, but when I received the medal, it boosted my confidence and indicated that I’m using my current knowledge about massage therapy efficiently. However, from what I’ve seen from the other participants, there’s a lot more to learn. Also, I was sponsored by CityLux during this championship, and coming in first place made me appreciate their trust and believing in me.

‘For those considering entering, they should definitely go for it. Everyone who participates in similar championships gains something. What is gained from networking and learning is a guaranteed win. Delivering treatments while judges and other therapists are watching is a different experience, as it takes you out of your comfort zone, making you more experienced for when you are delivering therapies in a treatment room. In addition, it opens unexpected doors for career development and progression, and can easily boost your business.

‘The next Championship is the UK National Massage Championship, [sponsored by the FHT] at Olympia London, and therapists who are planning to participate need to spend enough time practising their routine and ask for other trusted mentors to observe and help them to improve.’


Diane Leopard discusses inspiring photo project on UK Health Radio

Diane Leopard 3.jpgFHT Fellow Diane Leopard was recently interviewed for UK Health Radio to discuss a photography project she has launched to raise cancer awareness and help support those affected.

Interviewed by UK Health Radio’s Jenni Russell for the Her Health and Happiness show, Diane told her how she had purchased a camera with prize money from winning an FHT Excellence Award in 2015.

She then joined an adult education class to learn how to use the camera and was required to complete a final project about ‘a journey’. Diane decided to use this opportunity to reflect on her own personal cancer journey, by taking outdoor photographs that were symbolic of the different stages of her cancer journey and the emotions she had experienced.

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Diagnosis – This picture of Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland represents how Diane felt when the consultant told her that she had breast cancer. In the foreground of this picture you can see people going about life as normal while Diane’s life came tumbling down.

After presenting the project to her classmates, Diane was overwhelmed by the response and felt compelled to expand the project, first taking it into a local hospice and Pink Sisters, a breast cancer support group. Diane has since given a talk at a Stoke-on-Trent FHT Local Group meeting and has spoken to hospice staff on several occasions about the emotional impact of cancer and how they can help to support clients/patients.

In the interview Diane goes on to talk about her journey with cancer, how her life became uncertain after a diagnosis, and discusses the meaning behind each photo.

Speaking about the project, Diane says, “As a complementary therapist working with cancer patients I thought I understood cancer but nothing had prepared me for the emotional impact of a diagnosis. Since then I have taken a series of nature photographs to represent the emotional impact of cancer called ‘Focus on Emotions’. This represents not only my story but also emotions and feelings that have been shared by many other cancer patients all with different stories to tell and my family.  The images are natural, unedited other than the occasional crop and not staged.  They are often everyday scenes for example sunrise, sunset, flowers, beaches things most of us have experienced.  During the presentation I explain at little bit about each image and why I chose it. I then let the  audience have a few moments to reflect on what the image means to them.

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Tunnel of treatment, this is a poisonous laburnum arch with purple allium flowers standing tall and strong below. The laburnum represents chemotherapy and the allium are the medical staff who care for patients during treatment. The light at the end is where everyone hopes to be after treatment. Taken at the Dorothy Clive Gardens.

“I deliver the talk and exhibition to health care professionals, cancer patients, work colleagues and the general public. I want people to understand the devastating emotional impact cancer has on lives.  If people can have an insight to our emotions I am convinced that cancer patients will have an improved quality of treatment and recovery.  Cancer changes lives but that’s not always a bad thing.  I now see the beauty that surrounds us all yet many of us take for granted.

“The response from health care professionals, cancer patients and the public has been amazing, it has resonated with so many people.  Comments have included: – ‘that is one of the best presentations I have ever heard’ and ‘thank you, you’ve helped me to understand what my father must have gone through’.

“By looking at these images people seem to able to relate to their own emotions which may be cancer related or relate to other difficult life experiences such as bereavement, divorce and life changing illnesses.”

Listen to the full interview here

In addition, Diane has also published guest blogs on the project, highlighting her work on various websites, including Baba Baboon and Ticking Off Breast Cancer.

FHT Ambassador inspires next generation of beauty therapists


FHT member and ambassador, Vanessa Franklin, recently enjoyed meeting beauty therapy students at Wiltshire College, to offer expert advice for their future careers. Vanessa was invited by the college in her role as an FHT Ambassador, to give a presentation to students studying a City & Guilds Level 2 Technical Certificate in Beauty and Spa Therapy.

The FHT Ambassador programme puts a trusted, trained FHT representative in classrooms across the UK, giving students valuable information about regulating bodies, insurance, and all the valuable support the FHT has to offer at every step of their therapy career. Students are awarded two CPD points for attending these talks and are given a certificate for their portfolio.


Speaking after her talk, Vanessa said, ‘What a lovely end to the week. I spent two hours in Chippenham today with the students after being invited by the lovely Emily and Sophie.

‘In my role as an FHT Ambassador, I presented the benefits of membership and support a professional association can offer, particularly if you are a newly qualified therapist or lone worker. A hot topic was the value of progressing to the Level 3 qualification in beauty/spa to increase employability and earning potential. We also had questions and discussed insurance considerations, from treatment liability cover, to getting the takings into the bank.

‘It was a great session with everyone. Wishing the students every success with the next steps in their careers and best wishes with exam results.’

Find out more about the FHT Ambassador Programme

FHT member offers advice to Professional Beauty readers

PB_CoverFHT member, Kate Mulliss, has recently been featured in Professional Beauty magazine, offering readers advice on how to support clients with arthritis and rheumatism.

In the April 2019 issue of Professional Beauty Kate discusses how aromatherapy massage is one therapy that can be beneficial. Kate suggests which carrier oils and essential oils are best to use, offers tips on the first session and adapting techniques, and encourages readers to be mindful of any other health problems the client may be experiencing.

Read the full Professional Beauty article here

In addition, Kate discusses aromatherapy for arthritis and rheumatism in the latest issue of International Therapist.

Read Kate’s International Therapist article here

Learn more

Kate Mulliss will be joining a range of expert speakers at the 2019 FHT Training Congress from Sunday 19 to Monday 20 May at the Holistic Health Show, NEC Birmingham.

For more details about the talks and to book, visit fht.org.uk/congress


Manchester North coordinator promotes FHT Local Support Groups in new video

Manchester North FHT Local Support Group (LSG) coordinator Martin Thirlwell has recently created an informative video to highlight the benefits of the FHT and being part of an LSG.

The video gives us an interesting glimpse of a recent meeting, where group members attended a workshop on first aid, learning potentially life-saving skills.

Group members talk about their impressions of the meeting and how beneficial it is to network with other local therapists.

Martin says: ‘We came up with the idea to film the promotional video to give people an insight into what the LSG evenings involve, what they include, and what you can learn from attending these events. We always try to involve audience participation and make these evenings as interesting as possible.

‘It also gives the opportunity for people to share the video to promote what the LSG meetings are all about, demonstrating holistic therapies from a range of qualified speakers and bringing together likeminded people for a chance to network.’

Find your local group and feel part of a therapy community!

Local groups are a valuable hub for all those with a passion for therapies. Come along to hear from excellent speakers about the latest therapies and business ideas, take part in outings and social events, enjoy treatment swaps and share best practice.


We hope you enjoyed this article, which was first published in the Spring 2019 issue of International Therapist!

International Therapist is the FHT’s membership magazine. Published on a quarterly basis, it offers a broad range of articles – from aromatherapy and electrolysis, to sports injuries and regulation updates. The magazine is a membership benefit and is not available off-the-shelf or by subscription.

Join today to start receiving the leading magazine for professional therapists.


Body positivity and mindful eating discussed at Hereford FHT Local Support Group meeting

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Twenty people attended a fantastic talk by Lisa Beasley on body image and mindful eating, writes Hereford FHT Local Support Group coordinator Carina Jones.

Lisa’s Bristol-based company, My Body Positive, runs talks and workshops to help women step out of the diet culture and embrace a person-centred, empowering model of food awareness. By placing physical health and self-esteem rather than weight loss at the heart of the process, she helps to build a sustainable and guilt-free relationship with the food women eat and helps them to understand their personal cycles with food behaviour.

Clearly, a 90-minute talk didn’t give us all the answers, but it certainly raised a lot of questions; everyone had such a lot to think about as we unpicked the messages that we give and receive constantly about food, weight and body image.

When the question of weight, health or body image arises in our treatments it can be difficult to know how to respond. I am often taken aback by the body shaming language that clients use about their own bodies and wish I could do more to reframe the conversation. We need to shift the focus from weight to health and replace shame with support. There is much work needed to counteract the insidious and persistent fat-fearing and fat-shaming language that exists not just in the media but in the medical profession too.

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Of course, it would be wrong to suggest that some diseases and conditions are not caused or worsened by poor lifestyle choices and excessive weight. However, there are more pertinent truths that this kind of one-dimensional coverage neglects that weight alone is a poor indicator of overall health, that fat-shaming and fat-fearing does a lot of damage and does not inspire positive lifestyle choices, and that shame does not help people lose weight or become healthier.

Treating people as individuals, compassionately listening and helping to build self-esteem and self-worth provides a much better foundation from which to empower people to make sustainable and lifelong positive lifestyle decisions. From here it is left for us to consider how we can build into our practice and conversations with clients, messages that contribute to a more positive dialogue about larger bodies.

FHT members can read more articles about body image, by logging in to fht.org.uk/members-area and typing ‘body image’ in the search bar on the top left-hand side.

Find your local group and feel part of a therapy community!

Local groups are a valuable hub for all those with a passion for therapies. Come along to hear from excellent speakers about the latest therapies and business ideas, take part in outings and social events, enjoy treatment swaps and share best practice.


We hope you enjoyed this article, which was first published in the Winter 2019 issue of International Therapist!

International Therapist is the FHT’s membership magazine. Published on a quarterly basis, it offers a broad range of articles – from aromatherapy and electrolysis, to sports injuries and regulation updates. The magazine is a membership benefit and is not available off-the-shelf or by subscription.

Join today to start receiving the leading magazine for professional therapists.

A day in the life of… a sports massage therapist

Have you ever wondered what a typical day may be like in the life of a therapist? You can find out just that in our regular ‘A day in the life of…’ feature, found in every issue of our membership magazine, International Therapist. This is one of many ways we celebrate the wonderful work of FHT members.

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In our Winter issue, Sheree Phelps, MFHT, gave us a glimpse of what she may get up to on a typical working day. Read Sheree’s ‘a day in the life of…’ below:

8AM I normally wake up, have a quick read of the paper and go through my social media while lying in bed.

10AM After pottering around the house, doing laundry and having breakfast, I head down to the gym (three out of five days a week) and have a swim, then a body balance or aquafit class. I’m not always this disciplined – having such a physical job, I take each week as it comes.

11.30AM I set my room up, pop the heated bed on and send out messages to any new clients who came the day before to see how they have been since their treatment.

12PM I see my first client of the day for dry needling. My client has had a tremor in his left arm for more than three years. He’s had every test, prod and poke a doctor can give and they have shrugged their shoulders at what to do. After treating his family, they asked me if I could help. The results so far have been outstanding. After one session of dry needling his flexor and extensor forearm muscles, he had 10 hours without the tremor. The second appointment gave him two days’ relief, and the third, a whole weekend. We are continuing with one appointment a week and monitoring the progress. I may never know what started it, but if I can help slow or stop it, then it will be my greatest achievement.


1PM My next client is a 78-year-old golfer who’s lost range of movement in his swing. A few simple sports massage treatments on his hips and glutes and he’s back on the course. He is my oldest client and even brought his wife along to meet me, so she could thank me.

2PM I have a mountain biker who always presents with new injuries, niggles, twisted kneecaps or delayed onset muscle soreness from his last ride. A regular in the clinic, he has referred many clients from the biking world to me.

3PM I’m jumping in my car, driving to a client’s home, while eating half a sandwich and drinking Pepsi Max (which keeps me going on long days).

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3.30PM I reach my client’s home and offer treatments, mainly for relaxation and lymphatic drainage. Her dog, Lulu, sits in with us and watches my every move. Lulu is happy to see me because I bring her a carrot each week as a treat.

4.30PM The other half of my sandwich is downed and often my client gives me a slice of whatever she has baked that day for me to have on the way home. I do love my clients, but not just for the free cakes!

5PM The first of the evening clients come in. This one is off to New Zealand, cycling the length of the two main islands for a charity, the Pilgrim Bandits, and raising money for ex-service personnel and wounded soldiers. I give him sports massage before and after his training.

6PM I often have a relaxation or pregnancy massage client in, and they feel ready to sleep when they go home. Some of them even bring their pyjamas to go home in. I don’t blame them, with the candles burning and dimmed lights, my treatment room is rather cosy.

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7PM I tidy up, clean the room and pop a towel load in the wash, then head home.

8.30PM I’m grabbing some dinner, not always the healthiest, but I try my best. I round up my day, replying to any messages and returning phone calls.

10.30PM I collapse into bed, grateful for the clients I have and the help I’ve been able to give. I smile, knowing that in the morning I’ll be waking up to a job I love.


Not yet an FHT member?

Join today and enjoy more articles like this in our online reading room and quarterly membership magazine, International Therapist. As a member, you can access lots of other benefits, too, such as tailor-made insurance policies and a listing on our Accredited Register of complementary therapists, independently approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (eligibility criteria apply). Click here to learn more about the benefits of being an FHT member