A place for supplemental tools within the massage industry

By Una Tucker, FHT accredited provider at Kneader On-Site Massage

A place for supplemental tools within the massage industry

In our world of technology and fast-paced 24/7 lifestyles, getting a relaxing massage can be like stepping back into a simpler time. Although there are electric and battery-operated options, the majority of massage therapists have kept routines reliably simple and hands-on – a strategy that has proved costly for some as the growing popularity of massage treatments has dramatically increased demand. Therapists massaging for bigger companies or spas regularly work 40-hour weeks and such repetition/physical exertion has resulted in a dramatic increase in RSI and other such massage therapist-related injuries. In fact, the AMTA places the average career span for a massage therapist at just 7 years.

Despite such a growing problem, the massage industry itself has remained firmly on the fence when it comes to researching and/or promoting supplementary massage tools as a way for therapists to safeguard themselves and their careers. Although the massage tool market has seen some growth (largely due to the spa industry’s love of new kit), the majority of hand-held tools remain limited in their functionality, with the price and quality of what’s on offer being either basic budget or costly, quasi-medical implements. Hands-free techniques have grown in popularity yet some therapists (due to age, size or even physical ability) find the techniques and/or the positions difficult, proving that one size does not fit all.

What therapists need is a variety of reliable and affordable options but, more importantly, a change in the view that the use of supplemental tools somehow lessens the experience by breaking the direct contact between therapist and client. Hands-free and/or supplemental tools options suit a more pro-active and positive way before injuries occur, rather than leaving therapists to seek alternatives later in their career and, most likely, under duress.

Find out more about Kneader On-Site Massage

My Journey with the Total Release Experience (TRE)

By FHT accredited training provider Caroline Purvey

My Journey with the Total Release Experience (TRE)

My journey started over four years ago when I was about to embark on opening my own yoga studio. A dream I held after leaving full time teaching in a 24/7 boarding school. I was trained to trainer level and taught yoga to staff and pupils as well as in the wider community. So when I left the school I took the opportunity to turn my hobby into my work. This was all happening at a time when my daughter was happily married and living in South Africa and was due to give birth to her first baby. Like any mum, I said to her we will be out there for the birth. However, birth like death comes when it wants. I was a touch concerned we could be in SA for two weeks having to return and no baby!

One night, I had a mail from one of my yoga students who sent me a link and asked if I had heard of TRE. Of course I hadn’t, I took a quick look before going to class. When she saw me she was quite excited and after my questions she told me a friend with a visitor from SA had told her about TRE and it ‘sounded amazing’. That night something urged me to take a further look. Before I went to bed that night I made a call to SA, I spoke to an English doctor who took TRE to SA. I had also booked two flight tickets because at the time of the birth, David Berceli was running a training in SA and of all the things I knew the venue – it was five minutes from my daughter’s home. The writing as they say was on the wall. We arrived on Monday, baby James arrived on Wednesday and the following week I attended the first stage training.

There were 100 people from around the world and I was the only one from the UK. At the end I stood up and vowed that I would go back and bring TRE to the UK.

When I returned home, I opened the Yoga Centre, set up TRE UK™ and started to invite people to be my case studies for TRE. Although I had no materials or support network I really understood the concept. Slowly, on a local level, the word was spreading. About nine months later one of my clients, who had done the practice after losing her father, called to say her friend was suffering during an acrimonious divorce, she had tried everything wanted to experience TRE. She then said ‘Oh and she is a reporter with the Daily Mail’, I thought this would either be the shortest career in history or it could go somewhere! She wrote a very positive article. The day the paper came out I had over 4000 hits on my website. I realised that from Land’s End to John O’Groats there were many people suffering from anxiety and illness from day to day stress and deeper held traumas.

That summer, I drove 1400 miles around the country and started to deliver workshops teaching the Total Release Experience (TRE). I guess my mission for the UK had started. Since then I have delivered over 90 workshops and over 400 weekly sessions. In 2015, having written my training programme, I started the TRE UK™ Diploma course with six lovely people who had all done TRE for themselves and their passion was indicative enough for me that they would be the start of the TRE UK™ team.

I am more than proud that my course has been accredited by the FHT, making it the first accredited course of its kind in the UK and probably the world. It is a standard for the professionals that want to join with me in sharing the work. Now with representation in Oxford, Bournemouth, Somerset, Kent and Bristol, the opportunity for others to learn is increasing. I have also been asked to share my work with university students on a course for trauma psychology. My team and I worked with 31 stressed sixth form students in a school. Awesome. The week after it was that with the staff. My journey continues.

As a yoga teacher I thought I had a great understanding of the anatomy of humans and it has been my key interest. However, the insights that have revealed themselves through TRE have been incredible. I feel blessed to have found this work and although I am busier now than I probably have ever been, I am on a mission – it is what I wished for.

For out more about TRE

The 3 ways to grow your holistic practice

In our new blog series, marketing teacher and business mentor Lisa Barber at Roots and Wings will help you to market with integrity and attract new clients…

3 ways to grow your holistic practice

You’ve thrown heart, soul and savings into your training. And now you’re ready to receive money in return for the valuable service you offer clients. You’re doing something that’s helpful to others and both meaningful and enjoyable for you. You’re all set to earn a healthy living through your holistic practice.

You know that marketing is important. So perhaps you’ve asked friends and family to spread the word about your business. Maybe you’ve advertised in the local paper or set up a website. Or perhaps you’ve had some flyers printed and been networking to find new clients.

When not enough people are buying

You appreciate the word-of-mouth referrals from family and friends. But business is still too sporadic. You aren’t seeing the flow of clients you need and you don’t know where your next new client is going to come from. It’s so frustrating when you have all this passion but not enough of your right people seem to care. After all, you are actually trying to help them!

If this sounds like you, let me start by saying this – this is so normal. You are not alone. If you know you’re doing good work but you aren’t seeing the income you need, you’re in the right place.

You haven’t come this far just to come this far

You want to help more people. But you also need money to cover your bills. And ideally you’d like to be able to earn a healthy living doing this meaningful work. Check in with these three ways to grow your holistic practice. (Most people are using just one).

How to grow your holistic practice – the three ways

  1. Get more clients through the door

Attracting new clients into your holistic practice will absolutely grow your business. Use marketing techniques to become visible to your ideal clients. This is how the majority of holistic practitioners think about growing their businesses – getting new clients through the door.

  1. Make more money per client

FacialI’m so saddened by the number of therapists I see, marketing themselves to the point of exhaustion. It’s one of the reasons I created ‘How To Market Your Holistic Practice’. I want to help you create a business that sustains you energetically as well as financially.  Yes, getting new clients will grow your practice. But it isn’t actually the most profitable way to approach growth. Nor is relentless networking and social media sustainable from an energy point of view. But imagine if you were to make more money from each client you already helped. You could do this either by raising your prices to reflect the true value you give to your clients. Or, encourage people who already know, like and trust you to come back more often.

  1. Offer your existing clients something new

I’ll let you in to a secret. This is usually overlooked and yet it’s how the most sustainable holistic practices grow. Offer your existing clients something new – something that’s currently missing for them. Ask your existing clients, “What would be a miracle for you right now?” or, “Is there anything you would you like to see from me that I’m not already offering through my business?” Then create that product, that service, that package. Profitability follows when you’re offering people what they already know they want and need. And this is especially true when you’re creating for clients that have already bought into your unique approach, philosophy and vibe.

About Lisa Barber

Lisa Barber - Roots and WingsLisa Barber helps complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapists to get more perfect-fit clients and to set up their businesses for the long term. Her video course, ‘How to Market Your Holistic Practice’ is currently available for FHT members. For affordable, DIY marketing techniques and smart, sleaze-free strategies that work, click here to get her online video series.

Guest post: Julia Urquhart, MFHT

Massage tools

Massage tools

I’ve been a practising massage therapist for 12 years now and it’s been an interesting journey, learning new skills at courses and workshops, and meeting other therapists who have been a great source of support and knowledge.

About a year ago, a sports therapist I was swapping treatments with used a massage tool on one on my calves, as they were very tight and the usual techniques weren’t helping. Using a flat tool, with bevelled edges, he worked all the surface fascia and it made such a difference. I was rather impressed by this, so started to incorporate a massage tool into some of my massage treatments, too.

In my other blog posts, I talk about fascia, the marvellous connective tissue that runs throughout our body. This type of massage tool works on fascia to help loosen it. It’s is a great complement to massage as sometimes you can’t tell if the muscle is tightening the fascia or the other way round. You can work fascia with your hands but these tools can give very quick results.

Massage tools are great for general stiffness and tightness, working around scar tissue, as it can help break it down and make it more flexible. It’s also helpful in treating tendinopathies, ligament pain and entrapment syndromes.

FHT Member, Julia Urquhart, is the owner of Mobile Massage Cardiff

For further information about massage tools and a sample of what’s available, read ‘Tools of the trade’ (International Therapist, Issue 87)

Guest post: Helen Roach, MFHT

It is possible to enjoy touch therapies and beauty treatments from the point of cancer diagnosis and beyond?

Guest post: Helen Roach, MFHT

Helen RoachI qualified as a beauty and complementary therapist 20 years ago. Back then, anyone that had been diagnosed with cancer was excluded from having any therapy sessions; a definite no-no, a contra-indication of treatment.

Since then there has become an increased level of awareness and acceptance that not only will those with cancer come to no harm or worsen their diagnosis, on the contrary, they will often encounter a heightened state of well-being. For women who are diagnosed, cancer can present a number of questions and challenges of their female identity, of their femininity.

“All I wanted was for people to treat and see me as a normal woman after having surgery through cancer. Helen really put me at ease and it felt wonderful to be pampered again.”
Fiona Murphy, from London.

I completed a post-graduate course in adapted oncology massage, facial, scalp, hand/foot and nail treatments, and Indian Head massage with the Jennifer Young Training School. Since then, I have given treatments to numerous women who have expressed their joy at their inclusion in the world of traditional beauty and complementary treatments. It’s an honour to be part of a movement that opens the door to women who appreciate, sometimes more than most, the well-being potential of touch therapies.

For more information about Helen’s therapy practice, visit www.revivetherapeutics.co.uk

Please note, complementary therapies should always be used alongside conventional medical care and not as an alternative. Always tell your doctor or consultant if you are having any complementary therapies while under their care.

For more information, visit www.fht.org.uk/what-is-complementary-healthcare

Guest posts

Guest posts

If you have a passion for a particular therapy, would like to share photos of a recent Local Support Group meeting, or simply have a question for our readers, we are inviting you to submit a blog post to be shared with over 15,500 social media followers. Published blog posts are worth 2 CPD points each.

Simply email your blog post (250-500 words) to online@fht.org.uk

Please note: Content must be relevant to therapies practised and of interest to our members. Advertorials will not be accepted. All content is subject to editing and we cannot guarantee its use.

Published guest posts

Image: iStockphoto

Surviving tough times

Surviving tough times

Paul HitchensPaul Hitchens, Creative Director of Verve Brand Consultancy and contributor to International Therapist, offers some top tips to FHT members on how to build a brand during tough times…

In tough times and at the onset of economic recession, the first impulse for many businesses is to cap spending. Despite the advice of seasoned businessmen to market your way out of a recession, marketing budgets are usually the first to go. It may seem counter intuitive, but a recession can prove to be the best time to build a brand and there are prime examples of household brands that began that way: General Electric (1890), Walt Disney (1923), Burger King (1953) and Microsoft (1975).

The founder of Virgin, Sir Richard Branson, believes that when the going gets tough the tough get going. He told The Times (London); ‘Fortunes are made out of recessions. A lot of entrepreneurs get going in the economic depths because the barriers to entry are lower’. The entrepreneur who got into business at the age of 15 added ‘I’ve seen four recessions, so I’m quite used to weathering these storms’.

A recession can be the perfect business school for an entrepreneur launching a new business brand. The lessons that will be learnt from launching a brand in a recession include:

Resourcefulness – When funds are scarce, you need to think carefully and focus on what is essential.

Judgement – When the stakes are high, it’s paramount that the need for any new product or service is
carefully evaluated.

Commitment – Start-up businesses depend on people who are committed to a shared vision and thrive under pressure.

Timing – A business that starts in a recession will be in pole position when the market improves.

Tenacity – When the going gets tough … the tough get going. A recession can reveal winning qualities.


What are the winning qualities for surviving a recession? How do you emerge with your brand in good health? What are the strategies used by some of the hardiest brands in times of recession:

1. Think differently
Doing things differently can create rewarding and memorable experiences. Branding makes it clear to the consumer why a product is better than any other on offer. Celebrate the difference that makes you stand apart from your market competitors. Clarity and focus – be clear about what makes you special and what it means to your customers.

2. Back a champion
The founder or owner must be ready at all times to promote the brand in any situation and set an excellent example to employees and key stakeholders. A confident and strong brand champion inspires team morale and improves investor relations.

3. Appoint ambassadors
Each member of staff in an organisation is a Brand Ambassador, and it’s important they understand the part they play in building its success. The experience they provide to clients is the realisation of the brand. Invest in people – a positive spirit of fellowship and common purpose among employees is essential in communicating brand confidence. Positive employees make positive customers.

4. Make the world a better place
Every organisation, product or service must have a ‘reason for being’ – so identify what your brand does and the benefit it provides, making sure it’s clear and easy to understand. Is your brand relevant to current market conditions? Are you offering value, convenience or well-being? In a recession, consumers and businesses will take great care in how they invest their money.

5. Look to the future
Every organisation must innovate to survive, and can’t afford to stagnate by expecting their customers to keep buying the same products. Sometimes we simply can’t imagine what we want until we see it. Create demand – giving people what they didn’t know they needed but cannot imagine ever having lived without. New products, services and brands can stimulate demand and get people spending.

6. Be clear about what you believe in
A brand’s values are what it stands for and what it believes in; they’re the guidelines that form the organisation’s moral compass. If you hire expensive celebrities or famous talent to champion your brand, you must be careful to monitor their behaviour so that it doesn’t compromise your brand’s values.

7. It’s not what you say, but what you do that counts
Consumers can see past glitzy marketing campaigns and seductive advertising. As the old adage goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and actions will always speak louder than words.

8. Offer great value
Great value for money doesn’t just mean offering the cheapest price. A brand can offer value above and beyond the price label, by granting the customer the satisfaction of owning a leading brand. Every organisation can focus on its quality and service levels to offer a higher level of care and durability. A recession affects consumer confidence. A proven track record will pay dividends. New enterprises will need to work hard for credibility. Do what you say and be consistent – loyalty is born of trust.

9. Get to the front of the queue
In a crowded marketplace, it’s difficult to stand out if you’re the seventh best-selling brand. The opportunity is to identify the attributes that differentiate your product and promote your brand as the leader in that category. Positioning places the brand in the front of the queue for the consumer’s attention. A recession can clear out a lot of the market competition and leave the strongest and leanest brands in pole position for success.

10. Community service
By recognising the groups which interact with a brand, you build up a picture of an interdependent community, which includes employees, suppliers, investors, banks, government and customers. This community is never passive, it’s an interactive entity with an interest in the brand. The interest these groups have in the brand extends beyond the ‘buyer-seller’ relationship. The success of Social Media has created a platform for valuable consumer interaction. Brands that listen to their audiences and engage with them develop deeper emotional bonds of loyalty.

Paul Hitchens is the creative director of Verve Brand Consultancy and the co-author of ‘Successful brand management in a week’, the new guide to branding, published by Hodder Education.

Join Paul for a one-day brand workshop in London or Manchester this December:


BOOK HERE 11th December 2014 London
BOOK HERE 12th December 2014 Manchester

A special one-day workshop presented by the author, Paul Hitchens. This fast paced workshop will follow the book with interactive exercises and real world examples. Each delegate will receive a complimentary copy of ‘Successful Brand Management – In A Week’.

© Verve Interactive Ltd 2014