Sports therapist Nicholas Flanagan reveals why he chose a career in care

Following the release of the FHT’s second ‘My therapist helps me..’ case study, we have caught up with sports therapist Nicholas Flanagan who revealed why he chose a career in care.










Why did you decide to train as a sports therapist?

‘I started my journey on a complementary health therapy course which introduced me to massage and many other types of therapy. When the course ended, I found myself wanting more – I had developed a thirst for learning. I went on to complete a BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy degree and have recently embarked on a master’s degree in Physiotherapy at Teesside University.’

What do you enjoy most about your role?

‘I really enjoy working with people who have developed seemingly unwarranted aches and pains, whether that is due to poor posture as a result of working at a desk or from not having a correctly balanced gym programme. Being able to assess the root of these issues allows me to help people to understand the cause of their problems and therefore provide them with treatment or tools to help correct these. The best feeling is when people return to the practice with a feeling of self improvement and greater understanding of their body.’

What are the most common problems you help your clients address?

‘I see a lot of people dealing with low back pain, and back, neck and shoulder issues due to poor posture as well as a variety of sport related injuries. They all have one thing in common; regardless of how the problems occur, people want to improve their function and reduce pain.’

What has been your greatest achievement while working as a sports therapist?

‘I couldn’t define one moment but rather a general feeling. When you are in a position to help people improve their function, you gain an insight into how significantly these problems can affect people’s lives, and that can be tough – people can be really down and feel hopeless. However, with some encouragement and therapy, I often see people return to the practice with a positive attitude and feeling like they can make a difference in their lives. That gives me joy; it makes me proud to have been an influence in that transition.’

What did winning the 2016 FHT Sports Therapist of the Year award mean to you?

‘”Wow!” first of all, considering the competition of Adrian and Nicholas, I didn’t think I stood a chance against such strong calibre, high achieving therapists.

‘For me it was a real validation of the work that I do, not only in practice but also as a volunteer. To be recognised as somebody that makes a difference has always motivated me; it inspires me to keep learning and developing and to continue thinking outside the box. It has already afforded me so many new experiences, and this is only the beginning.’

Tell us about your part in the FHT’s ‘My therapist helps me…’ campaign.

‘I had an inordinate amount of fun taking part, especially being given the opportunity to go on this journey with my wonderful client, Kevin. Kevin is a real inspiration and such a go-getter; he is determined not to let life get in the way of his ambitions. Being able to help him manage his body was good enough for me, but to see him push forward and keep coaching the rugby team was the icing on the cake. I also have to mention the hard work that the FHT does to make the campaign flow seamlessly; it puts me at ease knowing that there are such competent and dedicated professionals working to best represent me and fellow therapy professionals.’

What inspired you to take part in the 2017 FHT Training Congress and what should guests expect from your seminar?

‘Truthfully, I jumped at this opportunity. In the past I have lectured to new learners but never to peers. I am always seeking a new challenge as I believe working outside your comfort zone is essential for both personal and professional growth.

‘This seminar on age and exercise is going to be a lot of fun and will get your heart beating. I have some relevant and informative research to highlight, and will be presenting a collection of recommendations for practice, received from very well recognised practitioners. There is also a nice surprise in store for you – I am all about experiential learning and so I ask you to bring an open mind, a positive attitude and comfortable footwear!’

What’s next for Nick?

‘I have just begun studying a master’s degree in Physiotherapy which will be my main focus over the next two years. I also work at The Westoe Practice in South Shields; we are a multidisciplinary center for health and well-being. I am part of an amazing team of people who are passionate about helping people improve their quality of life through various physical, psychological and spiritual modalities. I hope to offer the highest quality of service to those in need and continue to develop my craft by learning from my clients and peers.’



Nicholas Flanagan will be hosting the “Age and Exercise” seminar at 10:30 on Sunday 21 May at the 2017 FHT Training Congress.

Book here






You can find out more about Nick and Kevin’s case study here

How much do you value your care?

One of the main focuses for the FHT’s Accredited Register is to offer a platform for the public, and therapists, to have names they can trust. Your own well-being is one of the most important things you have, so why risk it? 








The Accredited Register programme was launched in 2012 to accredit voluntary registers of Health and Social Care occupations that are not statutorily regulated, such as complementary therapy. 

Why is that important for the public?

The FHT Accredited Register ensures that therapists meet the high standards set in the areas of education and training, ethical and professional conduct, governance, skill, competency and public safety. 

This means that if the public choose a therapist that is listed on the FHT Accredited Register, they will have the additional assurance that they are receiving the best possible care.

Professional Standards Authority 

The Professional Standards Authority is accountable to Parliament, and accreditation by this independent body demonstrates that a voluntary register is managed effectively and adheres to good practice. It enhances public protection and enables service users, employers, healthcare commissioners and the public, to choose a practitioner who is competent and behaves in an ethical and compassionate manner. Everyone who is listed on the FHT’s Accredited register has met the Professional Standards Authority requirements.









When choosing an FHT Accredited therapist, you can rest assured that your therapist:

  • Has a qualification that meets the national minimum standards
  • Is insured to practice those therapies
  • Abides by the FHT Code of Conduct and Professional Practice.

Are you a therapist who wants to be listed on the FHT’s Accredited Register? 

There are many benefits to being listed on the FHT’s Accredited Register, they include:

  • Being a part of the largest register in the UK and Ireland
  • No additional fees for FHT members to be included on the Register 
  • The Register covers many different therapies
  • The Register will promote you and your therapy to the public  

FHT’s current Register modalities are:

Alexander technique * Aromatherapy * Body massage * Bowen technique * Craniosacral therapy * Healing * Homeopathy * Hypnotherapy * Kinesiology * Microsystem acupuncture * Naturopathy * Nutritional therapy * Reflexology * Reiki * Shiatsu * Sports Massage * Sports Therapy * Yoga Therapy 

For more information visit

My therapist helps me… to manage my injuries

My therapist helps me... Kevin and Nick


It’s our mission to make the public more aware of our members and the FHT’s Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register, accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, a body accountable to Parliament.


Accredited Register AdvertAs such we launched the ‘My therapist helps me…” Campaign in August of last year, showcasing FHT Fellow Alison, and her longtime client Helen, whom she helps to cope with her back pain. You can read Helen’s story here.


We know that complementary therapies can provide much-needed support to all different people affected by long-term health conditions, every step of their journey. Our new advert introduces Nicholas Flanagan and his client Kevin.


2016 FHT Sports Therapist of the Year Nick, has been helping his client Kevin manage injuries he’s sustained over years of sports activities. We travelled over to the Emerald Isle to understand Kevin’s journey and how he benefits from sports therapy. You will be able to read Kevin’s story in the coming weeks.


The advert will appear in publications read by a highly engaged and health-conscious audience, including Men’s Fitness and Healthy for Men, also Facebook and Google, along with supporting case studies in the press.


This campaign not only highlights the great work FHT Members do, but also raises the importance for the public to choose a therapist, like you, who meets the highest standards in both training and practice. We’ll also be posting updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – please share/re-tweet to help spread the word!

See the full advert here

Helen’s story: My therapist helps me…


To promote the health benefits of complementary therapies and direct people to the FHT’s independently Accredited Register when looking for a therapist, the FHT has launched a new campaign called ‘My therapist helps me…’, which draws on the experiences of genuine clients. To support each of the campaign’s adverts – the first of which is currently appearing on Facebook and in magazines such as Psychologies, Natural Health, Your Healthy Living and Liz Earle – the FHT is publishing case studies about the clients featured, to highlight how their complementary therapist has helped them to live life to the full. Here you can read…

Helen AtkinsonHelen’s story
Helen is 53-years old. She lives in West Sussex with her husband, Steve, and three cats. A solicitor by day, Helen’s passion outside of work is belly dancing. She also enjoys walking and gardening in her spare time.

Here she explains how complementary therapies, alongside standard medical care, have helped her to cope with some of life’s challenges – from arthritis and an ongoing back problem, to stress and losing a loved one…

Q. When did you first discover complementary therapies?

‘I went to a therapy taster session at a colleague’s house. At the time I was suffering from sciatica, as I have a lower back problem that stems from a car accident and years of horse riding. After just a short massage treatment from Alison, I could feel the pain start to subside. I have had other treatments for this condition, but nothing that provided relief so quickly.’

Q. How often do you have complementary therapies?

‘I have been a client of Ali for more than 12 years now. I see her almost weekly for a massage or reflexology. I have always found Ali a warm and personable therapist. She is a fantastic listener, is very professional and has high standards for herself and the treatment she provides.’

Q. Tell us how Ali’s treatments have helped you…

‘I have arthritis in my left foot and I find that reflexology helps to relieve it. It also helps me to relax, as I have a job that can be very demanding at times. The body massage helps to keep me supple and complements the belly dancing I do, as it’s important to have flexibility in the spine and hips. [cont…]

‘Ali and her treatments really have seen me through so many things – including the death of a family member and extreme stress at work.’

Q. What else do you particularly like about the treatments you have with Alison?

‘The holistic aspect of the therapies is very important. There have been times when I have been under a lot of stress, or my health has been poor – both mentally and physically – and Ali has been able to adjust the treatment to help provide me with the support I need.

‘Having regular complementary therapy treatments with Ali helps keep the problems I have manageable.’

‘I find the treatments are a much less aggressive way of dealing with problems. They are supportive and don’t have the same side-effects as drugs or other physical treatments. In addition, any problem I have is not treated in isolation to other aspects of my life and health, so the treatments provide broader support to my overall health and well-being.

‘The time I spend with Ali is as also ‘my time’ – it helps re-charge the batteries and allows me to really relax.’

Q. What are the qualities about Alison that make her a good therapist?

‘Ali is such a warm, caring and approachable person, and easy to talk to. She is perceptive and creative in the way she approaches her treatments, but at the same time, highly professional.

‘I don’t regard my treatments as a luxury, but essential to my health and well-being.’

To find a therapist like Alison, visit


Banish that headache!

September Natural Health cover

FHT President Paul Battersby, has contributed to a feature in the September issue of Natural Health magazine, entitled ‘Banish that Headache’.

Working to raise the profile of the FHT and it’s members, Paul’s expert insight highlights the benefits of complementary therapies in managing tension-type headaches, while emphasising the importance of the FHT Accredited Register.

‘”Most of us have experienced a tension-type headache (TTH) – that accompanied by tight neck and shoulder muscles and a feeling of pressure behind the eyes,” says Paul Battersby, president of the Federation of Holistic Therapists. “The exact cause of TTHs still isn’t clear, but commonly reported triggers include anxiety, stress, depression, poor posture, lack of sleep and physical exhaustion. To help manage mild TTHs, you may find some of the following techniques useful: “Massage, as well as being very relaxing, has the added benefit of actually working tight muscles, so a back massage or an Indian head massage – both of which focus on the neck and shoulder area – are ideal for headaches. “Many people find other complementary therapies helpful too, such as reflexology, aromatherapy and acupuncture. Regular exercise is also recommended for headache sufferers. “A good night’s sleep is important but be careful not to get too much, or you may suffer a ‘weekend headache’, which can be triggered by a change in routine, including too much sleep.”

“Poor posture can cause tension in the back, neck and shoulders and be linked to headaches in some people, with pain occurring at the base of the skull,” says Paul. “Try to avoid sitting or standing in one position for a long time, move around at regular intervals, and gently rotate any affected joints. “A full assessment by a sports massage therapist or Alexander technique practitioner could also help you to identify and correct any postural problems.” To find a therapist in your area, search FHT’s accredited register, which has been independently approved by the Professional Standards Authority, by visiting’

Read the full article here.

Promoting you to the public

Promoting you to the public

Look out for the FHT’s advert on Natural Health magazine’s brand new website,, launched on 11 March.

It is our mission to make the public more aware of our members, with adverts directing them to where they can search for a practitioner in their area.

The advert also emphasises accreditation of the FHT’s Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register by the Professional Standards Authority. The Accredited Register quality mark will give extra peace of mind for anyone looking for a practitioner, letting them know that anyone who holds the mark is committed to the high standards of the organisation holding an Accredited Register.

If you would like to join FHT or find out more about our Accredited Register, visit:

Accredited Register update – December 2015

FHT’s Accredited Register Survey results

FHT's Accredited Register Survey results

First of all, we’d like to say a very big ‘thank you’ to all those FHT members who took the time to complete our recent online survey about the FHT’s Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register. We received an amazing 678 responses in total, which is our biggest response rate to an FHT survey yet!

As with all of our surveys, your feedback will help us to improve our services and communications, and keep us up to date with issues affecting you, our valued members.

And our survey says…

FHT Member Maria Mason is featured in ‘Let’s work together’ video

FHT supports Accredited Registers videoThe FHT is delighted to have supported a recent video commissioned by the Professional Standards Authority, called ‘Let’s work together’, which aims to promote a wider workforce of health and care professionals, including complementary therapists, through its Accredited Registers programme.

FHT member and two-time FHT Excellence Award winner, Maria Mason, can be seen demonstrating reflexology in the video, which also features a massage therapist, sports rehabilitator, acupuncturist, counsellor and play therapist.

Read more and watch the video

Case study: Massage – supporting children in a Special School

Mary Atkinson Accredited RegisterMary Atkinson is from Chichester, West Sussex. She is listed on the FHT’s Accredited Register of Complementary Therapists, offering aromatherapy and reflexology.

This case study focuses on the use of Story Massage in Westfield School in Leominster, near Hereford. It is a maintained Special School for 50 pupils with severe or complex learning difficulties within the age range 4 to 19 years. Read more

Case study: Hypnotherapy and relaxation techniques to support patients receiving cancer treatment

Linda Orrett - Accredited RegsiterLinda Orrett is listed on the FHT’s Accredited Register, offering massage and hypnotherapy, amongst others. She is a senior therapist with the CALM Team at a major cancer centre in the North West, offering a variety of rapid complementary therapy interventions to distressed patients undergoing medical procedures.

This case study focuses on the use of hypnotherapy and relaxation techniques to help an anxious patient with cancer complete a course of radiotherapy. Read more

Download your resources

Accredited Register resourcesEligible members who appear on the FHT Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register can now display a special FHT/Accredited Register quality mark on their business and marketing materials to show they are on a register that meets the robust standards of the Professional Standards Authority. Log in to the Members Area to download a range of resources, including: a logo for your business materials, posters to display in your local area, a leaflet about the Register, guidelines and approved phrases, and a template press release.

Accredited Register logoThe FHT holds the largest register for complementary healthcare therapists, which has been independently accredited by the Professional Standards Authority, a body accountable to Parliament. For more information about the FHT Register and the Professional Standards Authority