International Therapist Summer 2020

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As a member of the FHT, your Summer issue of International Therapist will be arriving soon!

In this issue, you will find:

A special feature on male clients and how to support those who may be struggling with their mental health. In this feature we look at results from our 2020 FHT Male Client Wellbeing Survey and case studies from FHT members.

  • Janet Cairnie, MFHT, takes a look at the benefits of a complementary therapy service available to dialysis patients at Salford NHS Trust
  • An introduction to plantar fasciitis by FHT accredited course provider, Dawn Morse.
  • An insight into the benefits of Forest Bathing by Carlos Ponte and Emma Wisser from Universe Mindfulness.
  • An exclusive feature about FHT members Vanessa Jane Davies and Emma Holly joining forces so their clients can benefit from skin camouflage and ScarWork.
  • A look at how the Harlequins rugby team have crossed the advantage line in connecting sport and mindfulness.
  • A look at some therapeutic approaches that may reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Plus an essential oil profile on juniper berry, the latest FHT local group news; a day in the life of Claire Best, MFHT and charity volunteer; the latest research; expert advice; medical A-Z; and a guest column by Dr Michael Dixon on the unexpected benefits of virtual consultations.

And don’t miss the opportunity to win a body bolster positioning aid and a three-part sheet set courtesy of Affnity, worth over £200. Fill out our online form to enter our competition for this issue.

Landing on your doorstep from Monday 27 July. You can also log in to read this issue (from Friday 31 July) and past issues online at

FHT Vice President Judith Hadley talks about returning to work

FHT Vice President, Judith Hadley, has recently returned to work and wanted to share her experience of opening up her doors again for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown.

Judith said, ‘These are pictures from my first reflexology treatment! I found my client felt confident to come for a treatment, which is something that has been built through ‘a mutual trust’ between myself and my client over time.

My client’s comments afterwards were, ‘I’d forgotten how much better these treatments make me feel, the relaxation benefits are immediate and I know I’ll sleep better tonight than I have since my last appointment in March’’.

He subsequently booked weekly treatments for the next four weeks, as opposed to his usual once a month treatment prior to COVID-19.

Please note: In England, government guidance on wearing PPE currently states, “unless crucial for the treatment, avoid skin to skin contact and use gloves where possible”. If you believe it is not possible to perform a particular treatment with gloves on, or that skin to skin contact is crucial for that treatment, then it is important that you highlight this within your risk assessment, along with what other measures you have put in place to mitigate the risk of cross-infection. The guidance also goes on to state, “When providing close contact services, it often may not be possible to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m apart with risk mitigation, is acceptable). As a result, personal protective equipment in the form of a visor will be required to mitigate the risk.” Therapists may choose to wear a mask underneath their visor if they wish.

Read our full Coronavirus (COVID-19) statement and FAQs at, where you will also find updates for other countries in the UK, as and when we learn new information.





Music therapy reduces pain and anxiety during colonoscopy


Colonoscopy is widely used to detect a number of bowel diseases, including colorectal cancer, and also to detect and remove polyps. Many patients find the procedure uncomfortable or painful, which can be exacerbated by feelings of embarrassment, fear and anxiety associated with this invasive procedure.  

A recent study looked at whether music therapy could help to reduce pain, anxiety and patient discomfort during colonoscopy (Çelebi et al, 2020). One hundred and twelve patients were randomly assigned to either a control group or intervention (music therapy) group. All patients received a low dose of Midazolam 2 mg (conscious sedationbefore the procedure.  

Those in the intervention group were also supplied headphones with appropriate music selected by the Turkish Music Research and Promotion Group, and were advised that they could adjust the volume and stop and stop the music as they wished. Those in the control group received standard nursing care.  

The findings of the study ‘showed that music therapy during colonoscopy reduced pain and anxiety, increased comfort, and positively affected vital signs in the music therapy group. The authors concluded that, ‘since music therapy is an inexpensive, simple, non-invasive and non-pharmacological method without any side effects, it might be used as an adjunct to analgesics and sedatives for patients undergoing colonoscopy’.  

Read the full study.

FHT 2020 Equality and Diversity survey


To help inform an article for International Therapist magazine about equality and diversity in the industry, we’d really appreciate it if you could take 5 to 10 minutes to complete our short survey.

We are particularly looking to find out how our members promote equality and diversity within their own practices, if training effectively covers supporting a diverse client base and what is needed to achieve more inclusivity within the industry. Within our article we will be sharing tips and case studies about creating a more inclusive therapy practice.

Please note that you do not need to provide any personal details and therefore can remain completely anonymous. Thank you for your support.

Take the 2020 FHT Equality and Diversity survey.

*Survey closes 21 July at midday.

Jump back July – this month’s Action for Happiness calendar


Every month, Action for Happiness produces a calendar packed with daily actions we can take to increase our own happiness and that of others around us.

This July, the charity’s calendar focuses on daily activities to help us be more resilient in challenging times

The calendar begins with a quote about responding to difficult situations, ‘We can’t control what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond.’

The calendar is free to download as a PDF or image file (JPEG) in 16 different languages. You can also download the actions straight to your calendar using a Google Calendar or iCalendar file.

Download the January 2020 Action for Happiness calendar

Celebrating 72 years of the NHS


This Sunday 5 July marks 72 years since the NHS was first established. In what is being called the ‘most challenging year’ of its history, leaders are calling for people to use the birthday as an opportunity to recognise, reflect, and remember.

At 5pm on Sunday, the public are encouraged to come together to applaud frontline workers as part of the NHS’ #ThankYouTogether campaign.

To celebrate, renowned photographer Rankin has taken portraits of 12 NHS staff members who have played a critical role in managing the UK’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The portraits are of staff in a variety of NHS roles, including an ICU consultant, a COVID-19 critical care nurse, a midwife, a psychiatrist, a hospital porter, a COVID-19 ward cleaner, a paramedic, a GP, a pharmacist, a district nurse, a 111 call centre worker, and a Chief Information Officer.

As part of the project, Rankin includes a story from each of the 12 individuals, detailing their experience of working on the frontline during the pandemic.

View Rankin’s project and find out more about the NHS’ birthday.



Let’s work together and make some noise


For more than three months, FHT members have been diligently following government guidelines in order to protect the NHS, save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is therefore completely understandable that so many of you are feeling extremely frustrated by the government’s recent decision to reopen hairdressing and barbershops in England on 4 July, while other close contact services – including beauty, sports/massage therapy, and wellbeing and holistic services – have been told to remain closed ‘until further notice’ (see page 3 of these guidelines for more information).

While we all knew that the therapy industry was unlikely to get the ‘green light’ any time before 4 July, what we didn’t anticipate was that the government would reopen some close contact services ahead of others, without providing any scientific rationale as to why they were doing this.

In addition, the ‘road map’ for England seems to have dropped off a cliff, with no review dates announced or published by the government that go beyond ‘Step 3’ (4 July).

So, we think it’s time to make some noise. Together.

Throughout the pandemic, the FHT has been working closely with other professional organisations and stakeholders in the industry, both as a Core Member of the Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC), and more recently through meetings with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing (APPG-BAW).

As such, we have already sent four letters to the Prime Minister and different Secretaries of State to represent the interests of our members (see our coronavirus statement for more information), but now we’d like to ask you for your support.

Sign this petition

Along with 20 other organisations and stakeholders in the complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry, the FHT is a Core Member of the recently formed Integrative Healthcare Collaborative (IHC).

For seven weeks, the IHC has been waiting for approval of a parliamentary petition (a process that usually takes up to 7 days), asking the government to work with the IHC and its Core Members to produce guidelines for COVID-19 secure workplaces in this industry, and prioritise a safe return to work as soon as possible.

As the situation is now time critical and we cannot wait any longer, a petition has been launched on behalf of the IHC on

Read and sign the IHC petition

Email or write to your local MP

We have two template letters for you to choose from, both of which you can adapt and personalise, which will carry much more weight.

To get the most out of your letter:

  • Find the name and email address of your local MP at
  • Address you local MP as ‘Mr/Ms/Dr’, writing MP after their name – for example, Mr Bloggs MP
  • Include your name and address – MPs only listen to concerns from their constituents, so will need your address and postcode to confirm that you are a constituent.
  • Make it personal – edit the letter to make it more personal and to reflect your own situation. Where indicated, use your own words to explain your contribution to the local industry and explain your concerns. This will help to make the letter more impactful.

Download a template letter written in collaboration with the IHC 

Download a template letter written in collaboration with the APPG-BAW 

Thank you for your support.

Collaborative letter to PM questions government’s inconsistent policies and lack of clarity


The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC), of which the FHT is a Core Member, has written to the Prime Minister to demand the government explains its scientific justification for preventing complementary healthcare workers from returning to practice.

The complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry has been fully supportive of, and compliant with, the government’s measures to control the spread of COVID-19. As such, the majority of practitioners and therapists have been unable to provide consultations in person, although many have continued to support clients remotely where possible.

However, in recent weeks, the government has allowed professions, such as physiotherapists and podiatrists, who practise in a setting and mode of practice akin to complementary, traditional and natural healthcare workers, to return to work. In addition, hairdressers and barbers, who also provide close contact services, have now been told by the government that they too can return to work, as long as they take precautions.

The IHC is concerned that there does not appear to be any logic, clarity, or scientific basis to the government’s decision-making in this area. Indeed, many complementary healthcare workers believe that this policy is unfair, inconsistent, and discriminatory. The result is that this valuable sector of the healthcare workforce, and clients who use their services, continue to suffer.

Healthcare professionals in this sector contribute to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of millions of people across the UK. They want to return to practice as soon as possible, but cannot, because of this continued confusion and non-science-based policy-making by the government.

The IHC has asked the Prime Minister to publish the government’s scientific advice and justification for continuing to prevent the return to practice of this sector of the healthcare workforce, and to provide clarity on when they will be able to do so.
The FHT is working hard with its colleagues in the IHC to hold the government to account in this matter, and to take action so that our members can return to work quickly and safely.

Read IHC’s letter to the Prime Minister

Send a letter to your local MP using this template


A study on grass pollen could help hay fever sufferers


Researchers from Aberystwyth and Bangor universities are looking at the DNA of grass pollen to find out which types cause the most allergic reactions.

Looking at the DNA of these pollens is a new approach to research, it is hoped it will be more conclusive than the traditional method of using a microscope, which can make it very difficult to see pollen differences.

This information could help the 13 million sufferers of hay fever in the UK to know which types of fields to avoid when in grassy areas.

Find out more.

Reflexology reduces back pain following coronary angiography   


Coronary angiography (CA) is a procedure used to diagnose coronary artery disease. It involves the insertion of a catheter into the femoral artery, via a puncture in the groin area, and injecting a dye to assess the extent and severity of the condition.

CA requires the patient to have complete bed rest for several hours after the procedure to reduce the risk of bleeding and other complications. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this immobility can lead to low back pain in many patients, however pain medication can carry with it undesirable side-effects, including vomiting, which would affect the patient’s ability to remain still.

The findings of a randomized controlled trial that evaluated the effects of foot reflexology on back pain following CA was recently published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (Kardan et al, 2020).

Conducted in 2018-2019, 120 patients were recruited to the study and randomly allocated to either a control group, receiving routine post-angiography care, or a reflexology group. Those in the reflexology group received an eight-minute treatment to each foot, which included a gentle two-minute warm up of the feet and ankles, including mobilisations, followed by a short routine that paid particular attention to the spinal column and solar plexus reflex points. Back pain intensity was measured using a visual analogue scale at the point of admission, immediately after the intervention, then at two hours, four hours and six hours after intervention.

The results showed that while back pain intensity significantly increased after CA in both groups, the pain intensity in the reflexology group at all post-intervention measurement time points was significantly less than in the control group.

The authors concluded that ‘foot reflexology is effective in significantly reducing back pain after coronary angiography’.

Read the full study.