FHT’s Maria Mason talks about her business activities during COVID-19

Maria Mason yoga

Maria Mason is an FHT Vice President and owner of a multi-award-winning salon, BeautyTime, in Bristol. In this piece, Maria talks about what she has been doing to support her clients during the COVID-19 lockdown and to start getting her salon ready for business, when government guidelines allow…

Like all of our members, I was initially shocked and saddened when it became apparent I would have to put my business on hold as a result of COVID-19. I knew it was the right thing to do, to help protect my clients and staff from this awful virus, but it was still incredibly hard to say farewell to my team and close the salon doors at the time.

However, in the back of my mind, I had already considered what I would need to do if I had to shut down the business for any length of time, so it didn’t take long to put an action plan in place…

The personal touch
My first priority was to contact all of our clients. As an established salon, we have hundreds of people on our books, so I started by making a list of our top 100 clients, who I then contacted by telephone. As you can imagine, it took a long time to speak to them all in person, but without exception, they were incredibly grateful for the call. After helping them with any immediate wellbeing concerns, we moved any upcoming appointments to a later date in the diary and agreed to review these nearer the time. I explained to them the different ways I was planning to support clients during lockdown, asked them if they would be interested in any of these support measures and, if so, how they would like to be contacted moving forward.

For the remainder of our clients, I contacted them all by email – again, explaining what services I could offer and asking them how they would prefer to be contacted with information and updates.

In many ways, it was a unique and welcome opportunity to talk at length to my most loyal clients about their health and wellbeing needs and to refresh their communication preferences.

BeautyTime’s remote support for clients
I decided to offer my clients two key services. The first is remote 1-2-1 consultations, which are free of charge. The majority of these take place by telephone or a video app such as FaceTime, whichever means of communication best suits the individual client. Based on what they tell me during the consultation, I will recommend products and self-help techniques that they can use safely at home, from wheat bags and essential oils to taking part in an online meditation or yoga session.

The second is a ‘click and collect’ service. Many of my regular clients buy products from the salon, so I put measures in place for them to easily order and pick up products when they are passing the salon. The payments are taken over the phone or online and there is a pick-up point in our car park. I deliver products to my most vulnerable clients, or those self-isolating, and leave them outside (at no extra cost).

Professional development and salon upkeep
When I’m not supporting my clients, I am keeping myself busy and getting the salon ready for when we return to full business. I have been using this opportunity to review our policies, to research new treatments, and directing my staff to online training opportunities, which then can do while my business takes advantage of the government’s furlough scheme.

I’ve also been redecorating and deep cleaning every inch of the salon, as well as tending to the outside areas too, such as the Zen garden we have and repainting the fence in the car park. I make a point of doing these mundane tasks mindfully; using my experience of meditation from the various monasteries I have travelled to. I find this helps to keep my own health and wellbeing in check.

I made the decision to donate our face masks and various other hygiene products to our local hospital. And when it is safe for the salon to reopen, I am planning to do a free one-day meditation workshop, for the local health professionals and key workers who have been bravely supporting our community throughout this time.

From a business point of view, it’s important that we are communicating all of this positive work to our clients. That way they know we are already taking steps to ensure that the salon is a safe and welcoming environment for them to return to when we open again.

A couple of business tips to other therapists…
While this situation is as unique to me as it is every single FHT member, I thought it would be helpful to highlight a couple of things I have already learnt from experience.

The first is not to offer your support and services to everyone. Make sure that some of your remote business offerings are exclusive to your regular clients – whether it’s a private group on social media that they can join or another service that’s just for them. It’s important for them to feel special and extra cared for at this time.

The second is to maintain professional boundaries, which I know is easier said than done. Of course, it is vitally important that we connect with others during this time but when we resume business, our clients need to see us as their ‘friendly professional therapist’ rather than their ‘friend’ – for both their sake and ours.

Stay safe and well and I wish you and your clients the very best for the future.


2020 FHT Excellence Awards open for entries

Pictured: illustrations
We are pleased to announce that the 2020 FHT Excellence Awards are now open for entries.

First launched 10 years ago, the FHT Excellence Awards showcase how you, our members, are making a difference to people living in your local community – from helping clients to improve their health and wellbeing, to providing tailored learning and support to students and qualified therapists.

This year, we have introduced a new category – FHT Green Therapy Business of the Year – as we know that more than 50% of our members are embracing sustainability and looking at ways to make their business practices more environmentally friendly.

Our full range of awards categories are:
• Complementary Therapist of the Year
• Sports Therapist of the Year
• Beauty Therapist of the Year
• Student of the Year
• Tutor of the Year
• Local Group Coordinator of the Year
• Green Therapy Business of the Year

Entering the FHT awards is free of charge and you can enter, or nominate someone else, for more than one category.

As well as gaining much deserved recognition, our winners will receive a certificate, trophy, logo for marketing materials and PR support to help spread the word in their local area, and nationally.

Finalists will be published on the FHT website in August and the winners announced later in the year (date to be confirmed). Entries close on Tuesday 30 June.

Click here to learn more and enter this year’s awards

FHT contributes to Holistic Therapist Magazine


We have contributed an article about boosting morale to the issue 34 of Holistic Therapist Magazine.

In this feature, we look at how to boost your personal morale when working independently and make your therapy space a more satisfying place to work.

We take encourage readers to reflect on their day, connect with nature by carving out time for a walk and to spruce up their workplace by creating uplifting images for therapists and their clients to enjoy.

FHT regularly contributes to magazines to promote the FHT, our members and the therapies they practice.

Read the full article here.

International Therapist magazine gets a fresh new look this Spring! 

Dear Members,

Given the gravity of the current situation we all find ourselves in, I hope you don’t mind me giving a small drum roll and ‘Ta-da!’ as I announce that we have given International Therapist a redesign in time for the Spring issue! 

FHT_cover_Mockup-whiteWhen your copy arrives through the post (any time from 30 April), you’ll see that it has a contemporary new look and feel, supported by a nature-inspired colour palette and new fonts. And while 98% of you told us in our latest FHT Member Survey that you think the editorial content is ‘very good’ or ‘good’we’ve reviewed this too, just to make sure the articles continue to reflect your needs as a professional therapist, working in an ever-evolving industry.  

Alongside your favourite therapy, health and business-related features, you can now enjoy a new set of regulars including ‘Things for Spring’, ‘Six ways to…’ and a special guest column, with Dr Michael Dixon, GP and national lead for social prescribing, kindly taking up the post for 2020.  

I’m sure many of you will appreciate that a lot of the content in the Spring issue was already under way before COVID-19 had hit our nation’s headlines, which means some of the articles will highlight practices or events that sadly aren’t possible at this time. We hope that where this is the case, rather than feel dejected, you will feel inspired by the possibilities that lie ahead, when you are once again able to provide your full and invaluable support to others. 

And finally, I’d just like to say a big thank you to you all – not just for helping us to shape the industry’s leading membership magazine, but for being some of its biggest champions. We are genuinely touched by the lovely comments we read or receive each time International Therapist is published. We hope you enjoy the latest issue and as always, we’d love your feedback  please email us at internationaltherapist@fht.org.uk or get in touch via social media. 

Best wishes and stay well, 

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 09.59.58 

Karen Young
Editor and Communications Manager, FHT 

FHT Vice President, Judith Hadley, invites FHT members to join together in sharing healing from a distance


During this very worrying time, many people are in need of healing energy more than ever.

The good news? Sending reiki from a distance can be just as powerful as a ‘hands-on’ reiki healing session.

While strict social distancing measures are in place, I am especially mindful of friends and family members living alone and having no regular personal contact, leaving them feeling isolated. This loneliness can escalate to feelings of stress and anxiety, which risks developing into more complex health issues. As holistic therapists, we are very aware that the mind and body are intrinsically linked, and the health of one can impact the health of the other.

Distance healing – which is a Reiki Level 2 technique – can be used very effectively at any time of the day and there will always be a more powerful surge of energy when more than one healer participates at the same time.

The most universally known distance healing time is 10pm (UK time) and sessions can last for approximately 15-30 minutes. I prefer this time for a few reasons – it is late evening, young children are asleep and most of us are beginning to unwind before bed, making it easier to focus on the reiki energy being sent.

Starting from this evening (24 April), I invite all of FHT’s Reiki Level 2 practitioners to join together in a 15-minute session of distance healing at 10pm each night in aid of all coronavirus patients, NHS staff and key workers, in addition to our friends, families, neighbours, communities, planet and every living thing.

If you can’t make 10pm every evening, or that time doesn’t work for you, that’s also fine – whatever distance healing you can provide, at any time of the day, will be gratefully received by others and the universe.

Together, hopefully, we can make a difference. Thank you.

Are you up for the 2.6 challenge?

Screen Shot 2020-04-23 at 10.04.23This Sunday 26 April the nation are being encouraged to take part in the 2.6 challenge to raise money for UK charities.

The challenge can be anything that works for you, you can run or walk 2.6 miles, 2.6km or for 26 minutes. Participants are being encouraged to be creative with their 2.6, perhaps a 26 minute yoga session, 26 minutes of gardening or even sharing 26 of your favourite therapy tips!

Organisers chose Sunday to kick off the campaign as it was due to be the date of the 40th London Marathon. The challenge will last until the Sunday May 3 and is open to people of any age and ability.

Donations can be made to a charity of your choice or participants can choose to donate to all of the VirginMoney 2.6 charities, where the final donation pot will be evenly distributed to each charity.

Find out more about the challenge.

Are you planning a particularly creative way to take on the 2.6 challenge? We would love to know more, get in touch by emailing Leanne at lsheill@fht.org.uk.

Sales of organic foods up since coronavirus (COVOID-19)


There has been an increase in demand for organic and sustainable foods since the coronavirus pandemic, according to specialist research company Ecovia Intelligence. Ecovia put the reason down to an increase in consumers looking to boost their personal immunity.

In the UK, Abel & Cole reported a 25% increase in sales orders and Riverford has reported a demand surge. Nourish Organic, an Indian online retailer had a 30% rise in sales last month.

Global retailers are seeing more sales for organic products, a trend which is expected to continue. Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest natural food retailer, has started limiting the number of its online grocery customers due to the unprecedented demand.

Ecovia predicts that with COVID-19 changing the way we shop and eat, there could be another big surge in organic food in the next five years.