FHT partners with SIRPA for 2017 conference

The FHT has joined in partnership with SIRPA to sponsor their 2017 conference – Chronic Pain: the role of emotions – held at the Royal Society of Medicine, London on 15 October.

Sirpa Conference 2017

SIRPA (Stress Illness Recovery Practitioner’s Association) is an organisation committed to engaging and educating health professionals and people affected by chronic pain, with the aim of aiding recovery through education.

Sirpa logoTheir conference this year will take place in October, and feature a plethora of expert speakers discussing the cause and treatment of chronic pain.

Over 64% of FHT members treat clients who are seeking support for long-term health conditions and the FHT is proud to sponsor this pioneering conference to ‘understand the links between emotional stress and real physical symptoms and how they can be successfully treated with education and self-empowerment using a mind-body approach.’

Find out more about the conference here

FHT responds to Charity Commission consultation

The Charity Commission for England and Wales is currently reviewing its approach to deciding whether an organisation that uses or promotes complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is eligible to have charitable status.

As such, it opened a public consultation to seek views on: the level and nature of evidence to support CAM; conflicting and inconsistent evidence; alternative therapies and the risk of harm; and palliative alternative therapy.

As a key stakeholder, the FHT responded to the consultation and was also invited to attend a discussion chaired by the Charity Commission, where we represented the interests of our members working in the charitable sector. Amongst others, the FHT:

  • Stressed the level of health and wellbeing support complementary therapists offer the public, with many patients/clients accessing complementary therapy services via registered charities
  • Highlighted some of the challenges concerning evidence base for complementary therapies
  • Directed the Commission to appropriate sources of research and data regarding the beneficial impact of therapies
  • Stressed that complementary therapies should only be used alongside, and never as an alternative, to conventional medical care
  • Highlighted the benefits of the Accredited Registers programme, which aims to protect the public.

Mary Dalgleish, FHT Vice President, attended the Commission’s stakeholder discussion and responded to the consultation on behalf of the FHT. ‘The results of our most recent survey clearly show that FHT members are playing a vital role in helping the public to live with and self-manage different health challenges,’ says Mary. ‘What is vitally important is that those seeking a complementary therapist are signposted to practitioners who are listed on an Accredited Register, independently approved by the Professional Standards Authority, so that they can choose a practitioner with confidence.

‘As charities, by their very nature, tend to provide access to support services to those populations who are most in need – and often least likely to be able afford to pay for these support services otherwise – we stressed to the Charity Commission how important it is that organisations that promote and use complementary therapies remain eligible to apply for charitable status, albeit with appropriate criteria in place, such as practitioners being listed on an Accredited Register.’

The Professional Standards Authority also responded to the consultation, along with at least 200 other interested parties.

The Charity Commission is now considering all of the information received as part of its review process, and will update the FHT and other parties of any progress or decisions ‘as soon as possible’. We will, of course, keep our members informed.

Accredited Course Provider shares benefits of infant massage at Malawi orphanage

Gayle Berry, FHT Accredited Course Provider, and owner of Blossom and Berry Baby Massage spent time in Malawi to help teach baby and infant massage to staff at the Ministry of Hope baby orphanage.
Here Gayle tells us her story:

Gayle Berry‘I am an expert on baby massage and yoga and have worked hard to build up Blossom & Berry Baby Massage – a successful business with international recognition and over 200 teachers across the world. I have been teaching, as well as training others to teach, infant massage and yoga, for over 15 years and I am passionate about the positive benefits of nurturing touch in early years.

‘In 2014 I stumbled across some incredible sunglasses called LOVE SPECS. Love Specs turn any light into rainbow love hearts and more importantly, through sales at music festivals, they generate income for Love Support Unite Africa. LSU was founded by Alice and Nina Pulford to provide sustainable education to the poorest children in Malawi. Their work has ensured powerful and lasting change, built on people rather than proceeds.


Gayle Berry in Malawi
‘I decided to volunteer with the charity using my experience in infant and baby massage to benefit babies in orphanages who were not receiving regular touch. I provided free training to the staff at the Ministry of Hope baby orphanage, so the babies could receive the vital interaction they were missing. Massage provides so much more than touch; it helps to support the development of the emotional brain in children, teaching them about the world and human relationships. Babies thrive and grow on love and baby massage provides a window of gentle stimulation and nurturing experience.’
‘I set up Growing Babies: Little Blossoms Project, working alongside Love Support Unite Africa Foundation, aiming to harness the power of parents, families and communities to improve mother and baby health and early brain development in children aged 0-3 years, through educational programs and nutrition. We use infant massage to provide the vital love, positive communication and attachment needed for healthy physical and emotional development, whilst providing women with skills and knowledge they can share. I have taught, funded and now support five infant massage Nurture Ambassadors to teach six women’s groups infant massage and safe motherhood. I was able to teach hospital physios, special needs massage, as many children have cerebral palsy as a result of premature birth, due to malaria. I also set up a sustainable farming project to provide food security.
Gayle Berry in Malawi
‘Growing Babies-The Little Blossoms Project has two volunteer trips a year for baby massage instructors who have changed many lives in Malawi with goals to focus on carers, mothers and babies and the wider family unit. We aim to provide education, training and support to parents and babies, increasing the health and wellbeing of families, using infant massage, baby health care guidance and first aid techniques. Out main goal is to empower women within the community and give these babies the best start in life. All my teachers have the opportunity to become volunteers in Malawi. I also donate 10% of my baby massage enrolments to the project so one student’s education helps to fund the safe motherhood and infant massage education of women and babies in poverty through our Nurture Ambassador’s classes in Malawi.
Gayle Berry in Malawi
‘What I hadn’t reckoned on, was exactly how much I could, and would, continue to give. Nor how much joy I would receive back from this trip. I went from being a curious volunteer to being a knowing participant and now, UK Director of the charity.’
You can find out more about Gayle’s company and project here.

Mother’s Day promotion

The FHT has produced the above social media advert for you to promote your therapy practice this Mother’s Day. Simply share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram along with your contact details. Adverts can also be printed at postcard size – just click to full size, then print.

Looking for other social media adverts to promote your therapies? Leave your suggestions below.

MND Association needs complementary therapists

The Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association is on the look-out for trained therapists to volunteer at high profile events this year.

runners marathon

Every year, high numbers of the public raise money in support of those with MND, including at the London Marathon in April and Prudential Ride London in July.

The MND Association is in need of volunteer therapists to help their fundraisers with massages and treatments following their activities.

Therapists must:

  • Be a full FHT Member or Fellow
  • Hold valid insurance
  • Be qualified to Level 3 in any massage modality
  • Provide their own equipment

In return, the MND are willing to pay £50 expenses and supply you with a branded T-shirt to wear on the day.

If you would like to give your time and help out those raising money for a great cause, please contact Stephanie stephanie.steward@mndassociation.org

If you get involved please let us know – it would be great to feature you in International Therapist! Email Dan, our Deputy Editor, at dralls@fht.org.uk


My therapist helps me… to manage my injuries

My therapist helps me... Kevin and NickIt’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. Read Kevin’s story here.

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!

View the latest advert here

Guest speaker Lisa Barber’s tips on how to get to the top of Google

In this week’s blog post, Marketing Teacher and Business Mentor Lisa Barber at Roots and Wings, will help you get to the top of Google.


How to get to the top of Google

I get emails from people most days offering support to get me ‘to the top of Google’. And each time it pains me to think how many business owners are falling for their fear-based approach. If you have a website for your therapy business, you don’t have to pay for ‘SEO support’. There are many things you can do yourself – and for free – to be found by the people who need you.

Let’s start by clarifying some of the terminology and jargon.

Search engines (Google is a great example) want their users to have a good experience. In a nutshell, they want the people using them for searches to find what they are searching for. They want the results people get to be a good match. So this is how Google chooses to reward (and penalize) website owners. If your website, pages, blog posts, products and services are an accurate reflection of what you actually do for people, Google is happy. And Google will reward you by improving your rankings (i.e. where you appear on the list of search results).

SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is the name given to the activity designed to improve where and how you appear in online searches. You can pay people money to ‘do your SEO.’

Here’s my simple view.

With all your other overheads, I wouldn’t class spending money on Search Engine Optimization as a priority. Especially as there are things you can do to improve your rankings for free. I don’t pretend to be a SEO expert. But I have figured out what works in my own business. And I’ve supported therapists to get the same results. My blood boils when I hear about the large amounts some therapists have felt compelled to spend on ‘doing SEO’. To my mind, the results you’re aiming for can be much simpler, cheaper, more genuine and gratifying to achieve.

If you love the idea of getting to the top of Google for the service you offer your clients, ask yourself this: “Do I really want to be at the top of Google or do I want to turn strangers into paying clients?” The two are quite different.

Let’s look at an example.

I don’t want to be at the top of Google for ‘marketing help’. Why not? Well, although that’s what I offer, it would give Google’s users a negative experience. Here’s why. There’s a niche I’m a perfect fit for. And many many more people my approach is not a fit for. If I appear at the top of Google and I’m not what the user is searching for … then back down the list of results I go. Remember, Google wants the people doing the searching to be presented with exactly what they are searching for. So, I don’t want to get to the top of Google for ‘marketing help’. But I would like to keep attracting an ongoing flow of people I’m a fit for. (Just notice – the two things are completely different). And I won’t do that by ‘getting to the top of Google’ or paying for ‘SEO support’.

Four no-cost techniques to try instead.

  1. Do your research.

Find out what your ideal clients are searching for. What problems do they have? What words do they use to describe those problems? What would they actually type into Google for help alleviating the symptoms? For example, might a potential new client be searching for ‘complementary therapist’ or ‘relief from lower back pain’?

  1. Start a blog.

If your blog answers the questions that are keeping your niche awake at night, people will find you when searching for solutions online. Use their actual words and phrases. For example, does someone really want to ‘be their most authentic self’ or do they just want to ‘stop bursting into tears’? What do they wish for when they blow out the candles on the birthday cake? You have your most compelling blog post title, right there.

  1. Mobile friendly.

Your website needs to be mobile-friendly or Google will penalize you accordingly. It’s a way of making sure that Google’s users are having a positive searching experience across all devices.

You can take a quick, free Mobile-Friendly Test by clicking here. https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly)

Follow the instructions and you’ll know whether your site passes or fails. If you fail, it will tell you why and what to do about it.

  1. Don’t search for clients.

Stop wearing yourself out searching for clients. Instead, position yourself to be found by the people who want and need what you sell. As opposed to thinking about how to ‘get to the top of Google’, ask yourself where your ideal people are already spending their time, their money or their attention. Then show up there with a blog, a point of view, a talk or a tweet.

SEO is not something you do anymore; it’s what happens when you do everything else right.” SEO guru, Chad Pollitt

Photo of Lisa Barber









About Lisa Barber

Lisa Barber is the creator of ‘How To Market Your Holistic Practicewww.rootsandwings.biz/fht

Which helps sales-phobic therapists to attract clients who’ll pay their prices. If you’re feeling in the dark about how to promote your business without being salesy, visit Lisa’s website for no-cost strategies that work.


Digital support from HMRC


Leading up to 31 January 2017, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are providing a variety of digital products to support customers who are completing their 2015-16 Self-Assessment tax returns. These include:

  • Self-Assessment help and support live sessions, where customers can listen to live Q&A and submit questions themselves
  • Live webinars on completing the online Self-Assessment return
  • Recorded webinars which can be accessed any time
  • A selection of e-learning packages including topics such as Business Expenses are designed specifically for businesses.

There are also a range of short YouTube videos covering topics such as:

Details of all these products can be found on the GOV.UK website.

FHT 2017 Training Congress launched!

2017 FHT Training Congress

We’re thrilled to reveal that this year’s 2017 FHT Training Congress will be held at the Holistic Health show, 21 – 22 May, at the NEC Birmingham.

Featuring 32 educational sessions of CPD training over the two day event, the Training Congress is a fantastic opportunity to network, learn the latest therapy trends, grow your business with informative business talks and contribute towards your annual CPD quota.

We’ve organised a variety of different speakers to attend, giving sessions on a range of therapy subjects, with both hands on and theory sessions available, this year’s Training Congress is not to be missed!

Make sure you follow the latest updates here.

FHT Vice President contributes to Natural Health mag

Natural Health October 2016

FHT Vice President, Jonathan Hobbs has contributed to an article in Natural Health focusing on gut health. Jon explains:

“The relationship between your gut’s microbiota (microorganisms) and immune system is crucial for maintaining good health. If this relationship breaks down, it can lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which has been linked to some of the more common symptoms associated with digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Research has shown that a number of everyday foods can help to support healthy gut bacteria and enhance overall wellbeing, so make sure you’re topping up on the five Bs on the right.”

Read the full article