Can you volunteer this Christmas?

Crisis at Christmas- Massage Volunteers_low res.jpgCrisis UK is looking for qualified complementary therapists to help its homeless guests relax and unwind this Christmas.

A charity committed to ending homelessness, Crisis runs a series of centres each Christmas where homeless people are offered meals, activities, crafts and complementary therapies.

Crisis is seeking a devoted team of volunteers to provide body massage, shiatsu, Indian head massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, reiki, craniosacral therapy, EFT and acupressure treatments between 24 and 29 December. If you think you can give up a day (or more) across the Christmas period, you could be making a real difference to people experiencing homelessness.

Homelessness is a stressful, lonely and often traumatic experience, with 44% diagnosed with a mental health condition. In addition, people experiencing homelessness are twice as likely to experience physical ill health than the general population. Therefore, having access to therapies at Christmas can really make a difference to people experiencing homelessness.

For a memorable Christmas, apply online today

FHT Members – we know that many of you have been kind enough to support Crisis in previous years. If you do get involved, please let us know at – we’d welcome a short write-up for International Therapist and our blog.


Social prescription a priority in Theresa May’s loneliness strategy

Social prescription.jpg

UK prime minister Theresa May has pledged to increase social prescribing by making it a key part of the first government loneliness strategy. Set to be implemented by 2023, the strategy will also see £1.8m allocated for community-based projects.

The decision to make loneliness a health priority follows on from research in 2017 by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, the legacy of the late Labour MP, who was committed to addressing the growing health problem, as well as initiatives by councils, charities and health experts.

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, 75% of GPs see between one and five patients every day who come in mainly because they are lonely. Under the new government plans, social prescription will allow GPs to refer patients to non-clinical services, including community cafés, gardening, creative activities, cooking and healthy eating, counselling, mindfulness and complementary therapies.

Theresa May believes that social prescription will improve quality of life and take pressure off the NHS. Social prescription has long been championed by the College of Medicine, whose chairman, vice presidents and other council members are amongst its leading innovators. This includes 2018 FHT Conference speakers, Dr Michael Dixon and Sir Sam Everington, who have been developing working models of social prescription for more than a decade.

We look forward to hearing more about social prescription at our 2018 FHT Conference next month, which is supported by the College of Medicine.

In addition, Westminster Forum Projects has planned a keynote seminar on the future of social prescribing in England, on 26 March 2019 – visit the Westminster Health Forum section of their website for more details and to book.


FHT promotes therapies in Natural Health magazine

NH Oct 2018 cover_.jpgWe’ve recently contributed to two articles in Natural Health magazine to promote the FHT, our members and the therapies they practice.

Natural Health ran a ‘6 ways to reboot your body’ feature in its October issue, discussing therapies that can give the body a much-needed boost. For this they called on the expertise of FHT President Christopher Byrne, who talked about the energy-boosting benefits of acupuncture, amno-fu massage, Chinese herbs, acupressure massage, Qigong and essential oils.

In the same issue we provided a plant profile for German chamomile, explaining its many health benefits.

Natural Health is a consumer magazine, covering healthy eating, wellbeing, therapies, beauty and fashion.

World Mental Health Day


Today is World Mental Health Day, a global event that raises awareness of mental health issues, highlights support available and campaigns for more to be done to ensure everyone gets the care that they need.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly 50% of UK adults believe that they have had a diagnosable mental health problem in their lifetime, yet just 33% have received a diagnosis.

Furthermore, young people are particularly vulnerable to ill mental health, with one in five adolescents experiencing a mental health problem in any given year and one in 10 children and young people clinically diagnosed.

According to our 2018 Members’ Survey, more than 82% of FHT members regularly support clients experiencing stress and anxiety, while over 34% support clients with a diagnosed mental health condition.

Many studies have looked at the effects of complementary therapies for mental health problems, with one recent study suggesting that aromatherapy could aid people experiencing depression.

A team of scientists at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University conducted a systematic review of 12 randomised controlled trials (five on aromatherapy through inhalation, eight in aromatherapy massage and one involving both methods).

The 12 selected trials involved a combined total of 1,226 subjects, of which 984 were female and 224 male, with a mean age of 47. Treatment times and frequency varied across the studies. The selection of essential oils used were determined by the aromatherapists. Where the oils were inhaled, lavender and bergamot were primarily used, whereas the aromatherapy massage studies opted for a wider range of oils, including lavender and rose otto.

Two of the five inhalation-based studies and five of the eight massage trials reported improvements in symptoms. Aromatherapy massage was also found to be more effective than inhalation for alleviating depressive symptoms.

Read more about World Mental Health Day and access online resources

Win a free ticket to the new Integrative Health Convention


Organised by Dr Toh Wong and Dr Naveed Akhtar, the aim of the Integrative Health Convention is to provide a platform where complementary and medical practitioners can meet, share, teach, and learn from each other, to help themselves and others.

The convention takes place on Sunday 13 and Sunday 14 October, at Park Plaza Victoria London, where delegates can choose from more than 30 talks across both days, covering physical and psychological therapies, as well as business and marketing.

FHT members can enter a free prize draw to win one of five two-day tickets to the convention – simply email your full name, FHT membership number and post code to writing ‘Convention’ in the subject box by midnight, Sunday 7 October for a chance to win.*

For more information about the convention, visit

*Competition terms and conditions apply – FHT members can visit for full details. Winners will be notified by email on Monday 8 October, 2018. Please note that the personal data you provide the FHT in relation to any FHT prize draw or competition will not be shared with any third party, and will be erased three months after the closing date of the prize draw or competition. Where it is necessary to share your personal data with a third party (for example, to send a prize out to you, direct from the supplier), the FHT will contact you to ask for your express permission to share the minimum amount of personal data required to complete this task.

Quote of the week

5 Oct Diane Leopard

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a reminder of how important it is to regularly check for any changes that could be cancer.

Find out more about Breast Cancer Awareness month and how to spot the signs of breast cancer

Look out for an article on breast cancer awareness in the Autumn issue of International Therapist (available from Thursday 18 October).

FHT member awarded for contribution to the NHS

Cavell Star awardCongratulations to FHT member, Jane Tomlinson-Wightman. Jane has received a Cavell Star Award, recognition for driving complementary therapy services within the NHS.

Cavell Star Awards are given to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who show exceptional care to their colleagues, patients or patients’ families.

A reflexologist and Lead Midwife for Safe Active Birth at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), Jane was nominated by her team for her dedication to the wellbeing of patients and colleagues.

Jane introduced the use of complementary therapies within the UHMBT, offering reflexology, aromatherapy and massage to colleagues and women using maternity services. She even attended college classes after full shifts to learn as much as she could about how complementary therapies could be beneficial within the NHS.

Speaking of her award win, Jane said,  ‘I’m very proud to win the award. Coming from my colleagues, it really means a lot to me. Sometimes we don’t stop and set time aside to care enough for each other. We carry on giving regardless, during times of work pressures with often stressful situations, but even a smile and a small act of kindness can make all the difference to someone’s day, can’t it?

‘My colleagues mean a lot to me, together we cannot do the job we do without the support of each other. And I just feel I’m giving my gratitude back to my team through offering them these therapies. If we look after our staff members, they in turn will feel willing and able to provide the best possible care for our women and families within maternity services.’