How the environment and community shapes our health

“You can create the most wonderful city from the ground up but it could be totally heartless. If it’s not got a soul, a culture and history, what has it got?” Dr Michael Dixon, GP and Chair of the College of Medicine.

What comes to mind  when you read the phrase, ‘healthy city’? Perhaps an abundance of green space, the whirr of cyclists making their daily commute, or affordable healthy food down every shopping aisle?

As therapists, we are aware of the things we need to make us healthy and how our environment can impact our wellbeing. But in a world with so many options at our fingertips, where do we begin when it comes to building infrastructure, a healthcare system and a health education system that works for all?

In the lead feature of the Summer issue of International Therapist magazine, we share some eye-opening statistics about UK population health, before delving into government plans to improve this and how we can make a difference in our own communities.

Read the full article

Pic attribute:

MPs call on government to address lack of regulation over non-surgical cosmetic procedures

On 21 July, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing (APPG-BAW), of which the FHT is an associate member, published its final report into Botox, fillers and similar aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

Co-chairs of the APPG-BAW, Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, launched a year-long inquiry following the explosion in the popularity and availability of these treatments. They were particularly concerned that there are currently minimal legal restrictions in place on who can provide these treatments, or what qualifications they must have to do so.

The lack of a legal framework of standards around non-surgical cosmetic procedures has left consumers at risk and undermined the industry’s ability to develop.

The APPG investigated practitioner standards and qualifications, the case for a registration of practitioners or licensing, ethics and mental health considerations, and the serious issues around advertising and social media.

There is much good practice from aesthetic practitioners in the beauty and medic industries, but also cases of poor practice from both. It was not the APPG’s intention to state who should or shouldn’t be allowed to become a practitioner, but ensure all practitioners gain the appropriate training and prove their competence to deliver advanced aesthetic treatments.

In the report the APPG makes 17 recommendations for government to plug this regulatory gap, including:

  • Setting national minimum standards for practitioner training;
  • Mandate that practitioners hold a regulated qualification in line with national standards;
  • Legislate to introduce a national licensing framework;
  • Make fillers prescription only;
  • Develop and mandate psychological pre-screening of customers;
  • Extend the ban on under-18s receiving Botox and fillers to other invasive aesthetic treatments;
  • Place advertising restrictions on dermal fillers and other invasive aesthetic treatments;
  • Require social media platforms to do more to curb misleading ads and posts promoting these treatments.

These recommendations are based on evidence given in public inquiry sessions and written submissions from a wide range of stakeholders including trade associations, aesthetics industry operators, trainers, practitioners, health bodies, regulatory agencies and consumers themselves.

Co-Chairs of the APPG, Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, said: 

“For too long there have been next to no limits on who can carry out aesthetic treatments, what qualifications they must have, or where they can administer them.

“We launched this inquiry as we were deeply concerned that as the number of advanced treatments on the market continues to grow, the regulation remains fragmented, obscure and out of date, which puts the public at risk. 

“We were also particularly concerned about the advertising and social media promotion of these treatments and how to make sure vulnerable people, such as children and those at risk from mental ill-health, are protected.

“We strongly urge the government to implement the recommendations in our report and to take action to improve to improve the situation for the benefit of the industry and public safety. Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option.” 

Minister for Patient Safety, Nadine Dorries, said:

“Far too many people have been left to live with the emotional and physical scars caused by their experience of cosmetic surgery, needing prolonged medical treatment after botched cosmetic procedures, particularly fillers.

“Patients must always come first and I am committed to protecting their safety, making sure people have the right information they need to make informed decisions about cosmetic surgery and ensuring the highest quality training is accessible to all practitioners.

“This report is an important contribution to our shared understanding of the consequences of this kind of treatment and I look forward to reviewing its recommendations on how we continue to improve people’s safety.

“Anyone considering Botox or fillers should pause and take the time they need to consider the potential impact of surgery on both their physical and mental health, and take steps to ensure they are using a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner.”

Access the APPG-BAW report

Picture credit: vectorjuice at

Laughter yoga boosts health in older adults

According to a report by the Office of National Statistics, by the year 2066, there will be an estimated 20.4 million adults aged 65 years and over in the UK, who will make up more than a quarter (26%) of the total population (ONS, 2018). The report also highlights that, “the likelihood of being disabled and/or experiencing multiple chronic and complex health conditions among those aged 65 years and over increases with age. As life expectancy increases, so does the amount of time spent in poor health.” Finding innovative approaches to help promote healthy ageing and also protect extra burden being placed on the health and social care services is therefore a growing priority.

A systematic review published in Complementary Therapies for Clinical Practice looked at the effects of laughter yoga on physical function and psychosocial outcomes in older adults (Kuru and Arikan, 2020). Laughter yoga is a non-invasive practice that comes in many forms, but typically combines yoga breathing techniques with laughter exercises, with both having reported health benefits.

While the authors state that the number of studies and data quality in this field is limited, of the seven studies that met the inclusion criteria, laughter yoga was found to have the following health benefits in people over the age of 65:

  • Physical function – improvements in blood pressure, cortisol levels and sleep quality.
  • Psychosocial function – improvements in life satisfaction, quality of life, loneliness, death anxiety, depression, mood and happiness.

The authors conclude that, “Laughter yoga can be used for health promotion in older adults. It is a cost effective and enjoyable technique for older adults. Significantly in this analysis, it has been found that the intervention duration necessary to effect the outcomes in older adults appears to be a minimum of four weeks.” They also call for more high-quality randomised controlled trials with validated study protocols and guidelines.

Did you enjoy this research summary?
The FHT features research summaries in each issue of International Therapist magazine. To find out more about the many benefits of being an FHT member, visit

Kuru Alici N, Arikan Dönmez A. A systematic review of the effect of laughter yoga on physical function and psychosocial outcomes in older adults. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2020 Nov;41:101252. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2020.101252. Epub 2020 Oct 28. PMID: 33217706.

ONS (Office of National Statistics). Living longer: how our population is changing and why it matters, August 2018. Living longer – Office for National Statistics (

Picture Credit: Man photo created by –

New! Series two of the International Therapist podcast launches 

We launched the International Therapist podcast this Spring so that our professional complementary, beauty and sports therapists can gain inspiration from others in the industry. 

In the first series on the FHT Virtual Congress, we spoke to expert seminar hosts at the FHT Virtual Congress about their careers, journeys and goals for the future.  

Series two – Celebrating Excellence

Here at the FHT, a huge highlight of our year is celebrating our member’s hard work and dedication through the FHT Excellence Awards. There have been some truly amazing accomplishments and we thought what better way to share these far and wide than to invite some of our winners to feature as guests on our podcast? Keep reading for a sneak peek at what to expect from series two… 

Celebrating Excellence | Episode one 

We speak to 2020 FHT Sports Therapist of the Year, John Molyneux, author and owner of fitness platform MolyFit. In this conversation, John speaks openly about his incredible journey into therapies, as well as his passion for supporting older people and his experience of being recognised for his hard work in the industry. 

Listen to John here

Celebrating Excellence | Episode two 

We speak to 2020 FHT Complementary Therapist of the Year, Mary Atkinson, who has written six books on massage and co-founded the renowned Story Massage Story Massage Programme. Mary shares more about her work during the pandemic, explaining why she decided to share stories for free and the impact it has had on so many. She also tells us about her experience of winning the award, including a special virtual dinner organised by her family. 

Listen to Mary here

Celebrating Excellence | Episode three 

We speak to 2020 FHT Beauty Therapist of the Year and owner of businesses Karma Beauty and Karma Boutique, Stephanie Chaytor. In this conversation, Stephanie speaks about her experience in setting up her business at the age of 19 and how she continued to develop her offering, she also speaks about what winning the award meant to her and gives some words of encouragement to fellow therapists looking to nominate themselves. 

Celebrating Excellence | Episode four 

We speak to 2014 FHT Excellence in Practice award winner and 2019 FHT Tutor of the Year, Dr Carol Samuel from In this conversation, Carol speaks about her research into the effects of reflexology on acute pain, shares tips for therapists looking to evidence the positive effects of their therapy and reflects on winning her awards. 

We want to hear from you! 

We are thrilled about the success of both our podcast series but want to hear from you, our listeners, about topics you’d like us to cover. 

If you have any ideas you’d like to share, please email Editor, Karen Young at 

Listen and follow at

6 ways to practice self-care between clients 

In each issue of International Therapist magazine, we share six ways to support you professionally and personally. In IT Summer 2021 (Issue 137), we look at ways to practice self-care between clients…

As therapists, we know that working with clients who are unwell or emotionally draining can take its toll. This, paired with the adjustment of returning to work following the most recent lockdown, may leave the best of us feeling drained. We share some suggestions to help you maintain and boost your energy levels throughout your workday…  

  1. Visualisation  

We know that ‘prevention is better than cure’, so start your day as you mean to go on. Before treating clients, use visualisation to protect your energy levels. Try this exercise: imagine you are putting on a new pair of overalls before your first client, the overalls will help to protect you from absorbing any negativity. When the day is done, you can then ‘take off’ your overalls and leave all that stress behind.  

  1. Mindful handwashing  

Washing our hands thoroughly is a necessary practice between clients, so why not make the most of this time and carry it out mindfully? Run the water until it is at the right temperature for you before lathering the soap in your hands, giving yourself a soothing hand massage while you do. Dry your hands slowly, trying to take note of what your hands look and feel like. Most importantly, moisturise before you head back out to the treatment room and appreciate the softness of your hands.  

  1. Block out ‘me time’  

In our business feature published in the International Therapist Winter 2021 (issue 135), we asked our FHT Virtual Congress speakers to tell us some of the biggest lessons learned during the pandemic. A reoccurring reflection was recognising the importance of scheduling in ‘me time’, even just five or ten minutes can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to carry out your next treatment.  

  1. Connect with the outdoors  

Ritualise heading outdoors to connect with nature – no matter the weather. Studies show that 29 minutes outdoors can increase productivity by up to 45% (Richmond, 2020). If for some reason you might struggle to achieve this, bring the outdoors in by adding some indoor plants to your treatment room.  

  1. Pen to paper  

Keep a journal. You can use this for reflective practice at the end of the day – writing down what went well and what didn’t go so well, so that these thoughts don’t stay running round in your mind, stopping you from relaxing and recharging your batteries. You can also write down all the tasks you need to carry out the following day — clients you need to speak to, follow-ups, suppliers you need to ring, and so on. Then leave this journal on your desk or in your bag for the following morning, so that you learn to ‘leave work at work’. 

  1. Level up your meditation  

Do you practice meditation or controlled breathing exercises? They can be particularly useful tools to slow the mind down and become more present. Monks in Tibet are often taught to practice meditation in a busy place to help them use the tool whenever they need it. A nice little goal to set yourself may be to improve your daily meditation practice, so that you can find your calm place no matter what is going on around you. 

International Therapist magazine is a perk for FHT members. Find out about FHT membership at

International Therapist Summer 2021

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 how our environment shapes our health and how we can become the architects of our own communities. 

  • Reflexology expert Sue Ricks, MFHT, writes about her work with babies and children
  • FHT’s editor, Karen Young, looks at just a few of the health and wellbeing benefits of different beauty treatments
  • We share some of the signs of domestic abuse and where to direct clients for appropriate support
  • We look at the science behind natural deodorants and some of the most popular products on the market
  • A short book excerpt from Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s new book, Feel Great Lose Weight
  • Dawn Morse, FHT accredited course provider, looks at the use of dry needling to support soft tissue dysfunction
  • Chriopractor and business guru, Nikki Collinson-Phenix, shares tips on bouncing back to buisness

Plus an essential oil profile on Neroli, the latest FHT local group news; a day in the life of Alison Bailey, complementary therapy lead at Weston HospiceCare; the latest research; expert advice; medical A-Z; and a guest column by Caroline Nokes MP about restoring client confidence.

And don’t miss the opportunity to win a deluxe facial oil and eye serum gift set by Bespoke Aroma Spa. Fill out our online form to enter our competition for this issue.

Landing on your doorstep from Friday 16 July. You can also log in to read this issue (from Friday 16 July) and past issues online at

FHT gives tips to Natural Health readers on essential oils for travel

In an article published on Natural Health website, aromatherapist and FHT Vice President Mary Dalgleish offers tips on how to use essential oils safely to tackle some common health complaints associated with travelling.

In Essential Oils: Natural Travel Companions For Your Health, Natural Health readers learn:

  • how sniffing one or two drops of ginger essential oil can help to tackle nausea, vomiting and motion sickness;
  • that neroli can help to reduce holiday anxiety;
  • which essential oils make useful insect repellents; and
  • how chamomile and rose hydrosols can be used to soothe mild sunburn.

At the end of the article, Mary covers some important safety advice when using essential oils and readers are directed to FHT’s Directory to find a registered, qualified and insured aromatherapist in their area.

To help promote our members to those with an interest in natural approaches to health and wellbeing even more, we also have a direct link to the FHT Directory on the Natural Health website homepage throughout July, as well as a full page advert in the July issue of the printed magazine.

Click here to read Mary’s article on Natural Health’s website

Picture credit: karlyukav at

The longest nerve

In International Therapist Spring 2021 (Issue 136), FHT accredited course provider and physiotherapist Jane Johnson contributed an article on sciatica which looks at how therapists can support clients living with the condition.

Jane gives an insight into the function of the sciatic nerve, common causes of sciatica, symptoms and medical/non-medical support that can be given. She writes, ‘Sciatica is a condition for which hands-on treatment of the local area may not be appropriate. However, there are many other ways in which a therapist can support someone living with sciatic pain.

‘The first thing to do when treating a client with sciatica is to quantify as best you can, how much pain the person is in and to what level the condition is affecting their life. One way to do this is to ask them about their symptoms using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) or a Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS). Both the VAS and the NPRS have
been adopted as recommended outcome measures by the Faculty of Pain Medicine and the British Pain Society (British Pain Society, 2019).

‘The reason for finding out your client’s level of pain is because it helps when setting a treatment goal, as well as for documenting whether their pain reduces and by how much. For example, if a person reports that their buttock and hamstring pain is 9/10 on a NPRS, one of your goals might be to reduce buttock and hamstring pain from 9/10 over a two-week period.

‘People sometimes feel that their pain is unrelenting, but you can help them to identify those times when they may not have 9/10 pain (for example), and which factors aggravate or ease their symptoms. Helping a client to identify that there are times when they may be pain free, even if for only a few minutes, can be comforting for them.’

Read the full article as featured in International Therapist magazine.

About the author:

Jane Johnson is an FHT accredited course provider and a physiotherapist with a passion for helping therapists to gain confidence in hands-on techniques. A massage and sports therapist for many years, she appreciates the value of touch and thrives on sharing the many tips she has picked up over the years. Jane is the author of six books for therapists: Soft Tissue Release, Therapeutic Stretching, Deep Tissue Massage, Postural Assessment, Postural Correction and the Big Back Book; Tips and Tricks for Therapists. You can contact Jane on her Facebook page @thefriendlyphysio

In each issue of FHT’s membership magazine, International Therapist, we publish features from well respected contributors like Jane. International Therapist is a perk for FHT members, to become a member visit

Daily actions to help you jump back into action this July

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 ‘Jump back up July’ calendar focuses on daily actions to help you bounce back after the past year.

On day 28, ‘think about what you can learn from a recent problem’, consider the following points…

  1. How you felt about the problem when it arose, what were your thoughts and reactions?
  2. List some positives about the way that you handled that problem
  3. Reflect on what you might do differently next time

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 July 2021 Action for Happiness calendar

Nominations for the FHT Excellence Awards close tomorrow

After the unprecedented year we have all experienced, and the ongoing pandemic, it has never been more important to recognise the many ways professional therapists can make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of others. Nominate yourself or someone you know in the FHT Excellence awards tomorrow and you could be in for the chance of being named one of our 2021 winners.

We spoke to winners of 2020 FHT Green Therapy Business of the Year, Anne Bramley and Helen Saunders, about their experience of winning the award. They said,

‘It has encouraged and supported our aims of being a sustainable and ethical business and has helped us to access further positive opportunities. 2020 was a challenging year but the award provided a positive focus which allowed us to continue with small, achievable steps towards greener practice.

‘We would love to encourage other therapists and practitioners to apply for the award however small your steps towards sustainable wellbeing. We have heard so many inspiring examples of greener product development, reduction of packaging and use of less wasteful products. We look forward to hearing about the amazing things that are being offered by FHT members and send all candidates for every category of the Excellence Awards 2021 our very best wishes.

‘We believe that if we all take small steps forward that our collective actions can contribute to a brighter vision of “One Wellbeing.’

FHT Green Therapy Business of the Year

Wherever possible, have you reduced the amount of single-use products you use in your salon/clinic?

Maybe you’ve developed a ‘green’ product for professional therapists and their clients to enjoy, such as a plant-based candle with essential oils, or organic skincare range or massage medium?

Perhaps you have embraced the principles of sustainability and zero-waste, applying green solutions to every single aspect of your business…

Perhaps you have embraced the principles of sustainability and zero-waste, applying green solutions to every single aspect of your business…

Is this you? Nominate yourself for 2021 FHT Green Therapy Practice of the Year