FHT members support the 2017 London Marathon

Following the great success of the 2017 London Marathon, FHT therapists offered their services to help tired runners on behalf of two leading charities, the MND Association and the Stroke Association.

runners marathon








The 2017 London Marathon, which took place on 23 April, saw a record number of competitors take to the streets of London to raise money for a variety of charities. 

Participants were greeted at the finish line by FHT therapists offering free treatments to participants, to make sure the runners left the post-race reception venue in the best possible condition, after clocking up a massive 26.2 miles.

FHT members volunteered their time and skills on behalf of both the MND Association and the Stroke Association.Their generous donation helping to ease runners aches and pains in a professional and skillful manner, while upholding the standards of the FHT.

With over 160 runners raising money for the charity, it was the biggest year yet for the MND Association.

‘We were impressed by the hard work, care and professionalism of both the FHT therapists, Will McAllister and Neil Ferebee. They really did help to make a difference to each of our runners’ experience, for which we are so grateful. Roll on London Marathon 2018 – we would love to work with your therapists again.’

Also working at the event were FHT members Peggy, Martina, Aria and Wendy; representing the FHT and providing support for the Stroke Association. 

“We are hugely grateful to the FHT therapists who gave up their time and provided their expertise on Sunday to help us look after our team of 240 incredible and inspiring #TeamStroke Marathon runners. So far the runners have raised over £300k. They were so very grateful for the post-run treatments and we offer sincere thanks to the FHT for once again supporting the Stroke Association.”

The FHT are proud to represent therapists who are committed to the industry and who are willing to volunteer their own time to give back to the community. 


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

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


Kevin’s story: My therapist helps me…

In the second in a series of case studies, the FHT looks at how sports therapy has helped real life client Kevin.

My therapist helps me... Kevin and Nick









To promote the health benefits of different 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 FHT is publishing case studies about the clients featured, to highlight how their therapist has helped them to live life to the full. Here you can read…

Kevin’s story

Kevin is 55 and lives in Belfast with his partner. He works as an Employer Engagement Officer with USEL, a not-for-profit organisation that employs, supports, and trains people with disabilities.

Kevin is a sports and fitness enthusiast. Over the past 40 years he has competed in badminton, athletics, rugby, volleyball and hockey. He also enjoys occasional water skiing, jet skiing, wind surfing and scuba diving, and regularly goes skiing with friends.


Tell us about your sports therapist, Nick, and your first treatment…

‘I help to run a rugby team in Ulster, which focuses on developing players who are relatively new to the game or have felt excluded in the past. Nick joined the team and it was clear we had a lot in common – from our diverse interest and participation in sport, to helping to support others for a living.  

‘My first session with Nick involved a really detailed assessment. He asked me lots of questions and carried out different tests and exercises to check my muscle strength, range of movement, and so on. He identified a hip impingement, which was being further aggravated by general wear and tear in the area. Nick worked on my hip mobility, using a range of techniques to improve my range of movement. He also massaged my quadriceps and surrounding muscles, and gave my body a general MOT. At the end of the session Nick showed me some exercises to use at home, between treatments.







Tell us how Nick’s treatments have helped you

‘My body has had some knocks over the years and I have a few injuries that raise their head from time to time. In particular I have osteoarthritis and sciatica, and both have been treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. In the long run, I will need a hip replacement but until then, I need to deal with pain and mobility issues, which is where Nick has been a huge help. He spends a lot of time working on my hip area, where I have an impingement issue, and also takes me through strength-building exercises to improve my range of movement. He’ll use other techniques, too – like taping, dry needling and cupping – if it will help a particular injury or problem I have.

‘General maintenance and injury prevention is also important, especially for a body that’s regularly put through its paces (something I also try to encourage in my team mates). For me, this involves having monthly leg, neck and back massages. Nick literally helps to keep my body in the best shape possible, so that I can keep playing the sports I love.’



In the long run, I will need a hip replacement but until then, I need to deal with pain and mobility issues, which is where Nick has been a huge help.’




How does Nick help you between treatments?

‘He will often send me diagrams and reminders of exercises I need to be doing between sessions. This helps to make sure I’m doing the exercises properly when he’s not there to guide me, and without this ‘homework’, recovery can take much longer. Nick will also ‘check in’ with me now and then, to see if I’m doing OK. He’ll also chat to me on the phone or online if I have any queries or I’m starting to feel demotivated. This can make all the difference if I’m starting to flag.

What are the qualities about Nick that make him a good therapist?

‘I have total confidence in Nick – he’s extremely knowledgeable and professional. Knowing that he is listed on an accredited register is also very encouraging and important to me.’





To find a therapist like Nick, visit www.fht.org.uk/findatherapist



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.

Wearing running shoes without cushioning may reduce injury risk

Wearing running shoes without cushioning and landing on the balls of your feet puts less strain on the body, according to research from the University of Exeter.


The study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal  was designed to measure the loading rate of runners (when their feet hit the ground), a factor in injury risk.

Twenty-nine runners were involved in the study, with those wearing ‘minimal’ trainers recording significantly lower loading rates than people in standard running shoes.

People wearing cushioned footwear are said to land more often on their heels, known as ‘rearfoot strike’, while someone running without shoes would land on the ball of their foot, known as ‘forefoot strike.’ The rearfoot strike is believed to result in an ‘abrupt vertical impact force’, which is often missing from the forefoot strike.

Many runners experience injuries because they purchase inappropriate footwear, despite footwear being highly modifiable.

However, Lead Author of the study Dr Hannah Rice says,  ‘our research tells us that becoming accustomed to running with a forefoot strike in shoes that lack cushioning promotes a landing with the lowest loading rates, and this may be beneficial in reducing the risk of injury.’

Look out for an article on running injuries and prevention in the next issue of International Therapist, out in January 2017.


Golfers are more likely to have unusually shaped hip-joints

A number of elite golfers have been found to have unusual hips, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Golf 123rf

The study from the University of Warwick examined the hips of 55 elite players, using MRI scans and aimed to ‘assess the morphology and pathology of golfers’ hips comparing lead and trail hips.’

The researchers found that many of the elite players had egg-shaped right hips, with the usual ball-shape on their left side.

It is not yet known if playing golf causes the unusual hip shape or whether people are more likely to reach a professional level with these hip shapes.

Playing golf may be a factor because of the huge force a player puts into the hips in the golf swing.

Read the full study

  • Click here to read an article about golf injury treatment, rehabilitation and prevention, featured in Issue 116 Spring 2016 of International Therapist.