Cultivating passions

Dawn - webpage image black and white circleIn the fifth in a series of interviews with 2019 FHT Training Congress expert speakers, we talked with Dawn Morse about sport, training and the benefits of dry cupping.

Tell us a bit of background about yourself…

After working for several years in administration for Electronic Data Systems, I realised that my passion lied within sport, fitness and health, as during this time I was a long-distance runner and a keen gym goer. After much consideration I took the opportunity to study as a mature student for a degree in sports and exercise sciences.

During this time, I completed several industry short courses alongside my degree, which included personal training and sports massage therapy. Studying additional short courses while completing my degree enabled me to setup a personal training and sports massage therapy clinic upon graduation.

I was self-employed for around seven years, running my personal training and sports massage clinic, along with several group exercise and yoga classes, when an opportunity to move into teaching was provided.

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Initially, I continued to run my business while working part time for both Swindon College and the City of Bath college. I was then offered the opportunity to teach and become the programme leader on the University of Bath Foundation Degree in Sports Therapy.

I learned a tremendous amount while teaching on the sports therapy degree programmes, and it was fantastic to be able to help so many students through their study and to see them passionate about starting their new careers.

Unfortunately, both government cuts and University reorganisation had a detrimental effect on our department. I took this as positive opportunity for change and founded Core Elements, which provides sports massage and sports therapy-based qualifications and short courses that are accredited by the FHT.

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Give us an insight in to your normal day-to-day schedule…

There are several different branches to Core Elements, so every day is different and provides variety, which is great.

For instance, a typical Tuesday will start with delivering our morning Hot Yoga class in Malmesbury. I’ll pop home and shower, reply to a few emails and will then spend the afternoon treating clients in my home-based sports massage therapy clinic.

I will then pop back into Malmesbury to pick my children up from afterschool activities. After which, I’ll spend a few hours in my office working on admin for our courses, classes or upcoming workshops.

Fridays, however, are a contrast as we often have training courses running on this day of the week or over the weekend.

A typical Friday will start, after a morning coffee, by checking that my kids have everything they need for school. I’ll then travel to the Jury’s Inn Hotel, to ensure everything is set and ready for the upcoming course. After that, I’ll re-read through the power-point slides and presentation materials for the day’s course and will check that all handouts are ready for the group. I’ll then meet the group and start the day’s training course. Lunch break is usually spent by having a quick walk to get fresh air and then checking and replying to emails.

As I love teaching, delivering courses and meeting new people, the training days always fly by and before I know it the course is over. If this is a one-day course, I will then dismantle the room and take all equipment home with me, ready to be stored for our next course.

What interests you outside of work?

I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but I enjoy relaxing and spending time with my family, especially after a busy day.

I also enjoy taking time out for exercise, which depending on the day may be the gym, running, road cycling or yoga.

Plus, I love reading and like to stay up to date with industry reading and, of course, a good crime novel or thriller.

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What is your Training Congress seminar about?

My seminar for the Training Congress focuses on dry cupping therapy and includes both theory and practical demonstration. Discussion will specifically focus on the western application of dry cupping and integration within sports massage therapy.

What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

Dry cupping is a fantastic modality to add to a therapist’s skillset as it’s such as versatile tool to use. For instance, it can be used with static application or with a variety of movement patterns. It’s also great for time efficiency and for taking the pressure off a therapist’s hands.

What will attendees of your seminar expect to come away with?

Attendees should come away with an understanding of the benefits of dry cupping therapy from a western perspective and how it can be integrated within their current role as a therapist, to help increase effectiveness of their treatment, time efficiency and reduce pressure on their hands.

The seminar will also discuss how this medium can be used as a standalone treatment and within combination therapy.

Are there any other seminars in the programme which look particularly interesting to you?

There are many really interesting seminars on offer during the two days. A few that I would be keen to attend are Emma Holly’s seminar on scar tissue on day one; Jane Johnson’s on posture on day two; and Rachel Fairweather and Meghan Mari’s on myofascial release for fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.

What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

To be you and focus on your own strengths and personal interests. Avoid copying others and focus on what interests you within the therapy world, as this will help you to cultivate your own passion and enable you to stand out.

Take the time to network with other therapists and, if possible, work with a mentor during the early years.

Finally, attend seminars such as those at the FHT Training congress, when possible, as they are fantastic for picking up tips, developing ideas and meeting likeminded people.

Learn more

Join us at the 2019 FHT Training Congress from Sunday 19 to Monday 20 May at the Holistic Health Show, NEC Birmingham.

For more details about the talks and to book, visit


Meditation and meaning

Anna Louise webpage image black and white circleIn the fourth in a series of interviews with 2019 FHT Training Congress expert speakers, we talked with Anna-Louise Haigh about meaning, millionaire Mondays and meditation.

Tell us a bit of background about yourself…

I am Yorkshire lass, however grew up in rural Ontario, Canada where life was very nature-based and sports oriented. The sense of freedom and joy that it gave taught me what makes my heart sing!

From as early as I can remember, I have been able to sense others’ feelings, ‘known stuff’, and have always trusted the direct guidance I received through my intuition. I thought everyone did the same as me! However, as I got older, it became clear that was not the case. Alongside this, I had a natural desire to help and heal others.

Back in the 1980s, in rural Canada, the career choices were teacher, nurse or secretary. I chose to follow nursing because it was the nearest to my calling, to help others heal. Although I passed all the college exams, I knew in my heart that this path was not the way for me, so I changed direction and studied recreation leadership instead. I had always loved massage and when I heard about reflexology during a random conversation in college, something inside me lit up!

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I returned to the UK for a three-month holiday when I was 23, and immediately felt as though I had come home, so here I am still!

After two years selling advertising space for a top regional newspaper, I knew I wanted to become a therapist. Without any training to build upon, I quit my promising career. Helping others, making sense of life’s challenges, and trusting my soul’s compass led me to become a reflexology and aromatherapy practitioner in 1988. I trusted my heart and followed my calling.

Soon after gaining some experience, I was asked to run an evening class and from there I discovered my love of teaching and watching others grow. Through the enrichment of working with clients, along with exploring my own awakening journey, my role naturally expanded to embrace becoming a therapy teacher, principal and lecturer, both in the UK and internationally. My days of feeling like a misfit ended when I embraced journey into personal and spiritual authenticity. I invested heavily in my growth by only training with the best teachers in the world and have travelled the globe to do so.

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Naturally, everything that made me who I was from childhood to adulthood started to make sense. Along the way, I could see the challenges and conflicts my ‘yet to awaken’ clients were experiencing. Once again, my role blossomed to include mentoring, writing, workshops and courses to nurture self-discovery, spiritual connection and confidence building, through self-knowing and soul whispering.


Give us an insight in to your normal day-to-day schedule…

Until recently, my days were a mixture of early morning admin and marketing, a full diary of clients and then some form of live or online teaching in the evenings! With the exception of my meditation time, the reality of loving what I do meant it was hard to find time to simply kick-back and chill!

In December 2018, I retired from therapy life so I can focus on nurturing my monthly meditation online group called The Meditation Imaginarium, along with offering my signature online courses which are accredited by the FHT, masterclasses and destination retreats.

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Now my day starts with a longer session of Morning Stillness, followed by writing, creating and development time, a long walk on a sunny day, followed by connecting with the wonderful women who have joined my offerings. Providing support, insight and nurturing is very important to me.

I pour my heart and soul into everything I offer. I am loving what each day brings and witnessing the transformations that happen all around me. To finish each day, I send out my gratitude and look forward to starting another day in-service to my path.


What interests you outside of work?

For 20 years I have loved having Monday off! I call it my ‘millionaire’s Monday’ because usually there is no one else around and it feels like everywhere I go is my playground! You will find my partner and I in the Yorkshire Dales, walking by a river (often recording a guided meditation or insight piece) or checking out some yummy food in a traditional pub! I am fortunate to have a woodland on my doorstep, so I get to spontaneously go for walks. In the evenings, as I do a bit of stargazing, I am often blessed to hear the owls hooting to each other!


What is your Training Congress seminar about?

I am absolutely delighted to be presenting my signature Guided Meditation seminar at the Training Congress. Guided Meditation can be used by any therapist who wishes to develop themselves and benefit their clients through lasting transformations. Today’s clients are wanting more from their therapists as they seek ways to de-stress and gain understanding and fulfilment in their life.

My aim is that everyone who attends personally experiences the power and potential of professionally crafted journeys of the imagination. I hope everyone takes away a new awareness that they can personally benefit from and that they can appreciate the role Guided Meditation could have as they grow their career by helping their clients more deeply.


What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

I have personally used meditation, in various forms, since early adolescence when I used to take myself for moonlit walks to clear my mind. It was during these times, when I discovered and learned to trust the wisdom I received through being centered and open to receive. I love the connection, clarity and direction that naturally is available when the mind is still and receptive.

In 1998 I followed my intuition and became a meditation teacher. Since then I have incorporated guided meditation into my client sessions, workshops and retreats.

I know how powerful this approach to wholeness, fulfilment and joy can be, both personally and professionally. Clients love to be guided to discover their own answers, potential, release limiting beliefs and receive insights when facing a difficult challenge, or are wanting to evolve into the life they were meant to live.

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What will attendees of your seminar expect to come away with?

Guided meditation has the potential to add an invaluable dimension to a therapist’s offerings because it is very powerful, adaptable, and hugely effective when delivered skillfully.

I have always believed that a good therapist must have an affinity with their craft and have experienced it for themselves. By attending the guided meditation seminar, participants will receive a personal experience of the power of a deeply relaxing visual journey that has the potential to inform and inspire new perspectives.

For anyone considering expanding their skills, whether to include guided meditation or not, attending the seminar will bring clarity, direction and the confidence to follow their calling.


Are there any other seminars in the programme which look particularly interesting to you?

I am sure that the session by Nic Wood on how the mind works with the Hudson Mind Theory will be fascinating. From an integrative perspective, the seminar from Julie Crossman looking at the role of Complementary Therapies within the NHS could be invaluable for therapists wanting to offer their skills and experience in that domain.


What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

Be authentic! Stay true to what makes your heart sing and lights you up inside. This may mean taking a different path to others, however, by being a pioneer you are following your calling and creating a legacy that has meaning, validity and longevity through the clients and possible future students who see your light and find their way to you.


Learn more

Join us at the 2019 FHT Training Congress from Sunday 19 to Monday 20 May at the Holistic Health Show, NEC Birmingham.

For more details about the talks and to book, visit


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