Thursday 27 Nov 2014
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Rosemary Pharo approaches the controversial subject of training, and while this article was published in HTM print in issue 6, it is something that is as relevant now as it was then, and so worth a read… Remember if you would like to get your hands on any HTM back issues – just CLICK HERE.

How do you create excellent complementary health practitioners? Are you worried about the kind of pressures that may be exerted on practitioners in the future over what type of courses to take? Or are you concerned about the diversity in standards of training?

A few years ago, an educational consultant stated in a review process that I was involved in, that they believed that all complementary therapists should be educated to degree level. This sent up red flags for a number of reasons: firstly the idea that a degree by itself; an academic, intellectual, training would somehow produce superior Reiki practitioners is really quite laughable. An apprenticeship model, as in an old fashioned guild – yes! A craft that is learnt and honed – yes! Writing a paper on, for example, how to scan a client will not actually prove in any way that you can do it, or, most importantly that you have done sufficient work on self-development; an absolutely crucial ingredient for many therapies.

For many excellent hands-on practitioners, whose skills have been honed over years of practice, the idea of academic study may bring up bad experiences of school or college. Ex-nurses are sometimes the most vehement opponents of medicalisation. Of course, degree courses are standard for certain therapies: osteopathy and acupuncture for instance, where a medical-standard training in anatomy and physiology amongst others is required.

However, foundation degrees are also springing up in ‘complementary therapies’, in general covering a number of subjects, for example, at Reaseheath College you have been able to take Reiki as part of a foundation degree in a Equine Science degree for a number of years now. But with fees running at six thousand pounds or so, per year for many of these courses, in what is generally a part-time profession with key users such as hospices relying on volunteer therapists, exactly how viable is this?

And yet there is no doubt that training standards in how to run a practice and client handling skills have, in the past, been taught superficially or not at all, in some areas. This has been remedied in Reiki, by the presence of the Reiki Council’s Core Curriculum and more teachers are adjusting courses and material for people who wish to practise professionally.

Is a degree, then, just another of those ‘passports to work?’

At a CamExpo lecture, last autumn (from the time of writing this), Paul Medlicott of the Sports Massage Association, pointed out that during their degree-level training, physiotherapists may have done very little massage training in their courses, and yet will be covered for massage by insurance companies, whereas massage therapists whose training is hands-on massage, who may far exceed graduate physiotherapists, would find it much harder to have an insurance company pay out for their greater experience.

However, in the last few years some of the best known degree courses in complementary therapy, e.g. at Westminster University have closed down, ostensibly due to lack of students, but also due to pressures from ‘scientists’ who rage about ‘nonsense’ subjects. Steeped in their materialist worldview, there has been a sustained campaign against CAM. And yet, if they wish to use a little bit more of their grey matter, they could do worse than consider the reasoned arguments put forward by M Franks, using logical arguments and physics breakthroughs in his 2003 book “The Universe and Multiple Reality”.

The joke is that while materialists may lambast complementary therapy for not being ‘evidence-based’, one of their chief chorus masters, Ben Goldacre, brilliantly outlines exactly how what constitutes everyday evidence-based medicine where drugs are concerned is, in fact, very often not evidence-based medicine, but rather marketing-based evidence. Poor trials, with unflattering data left languishing unpublished, major academic journals that may piously refuse to publish research on complementary and alternative matters, apparently bankrolled by drug companies by agreements to, for example, pay for two thousand reprints of specific research articles. And academics – possibly the people training graduates in degree courses – are putting their names to articles, mainly written by commercial writers employed by the sponsoring company. Oh, and the doctors who may well pooh-pooh complementary treatments may almost certainly be having their Continual Professional Development (CPD) paid for by drug companies.

Well really, that’s exactly the kind of things the complementary therapy industry can do without. While Chinese Herbal Medicine, with a 2,500 year unbroken tried and tested tradition of use is said to be “unproven”. Unproven? Or, unacceptable?

If we are all paying twenty-five percent more for drugs than is necessary (according to Ben Goldacre), then is it not time to put pressure on the Department of Health to squeeze a little of the money that is spent in prescribing over-priced versions of drugs into good quality research for lower-cost complementary treatments? Massage is one of, if not, the most popular therapies in the UK.  The gold standard research body, The Cochrane Review, notes that massage may be beneficial for low-back pain.  Cochrane also notes that concerning touch therapies for pain relief “studies with greater effects are carried out by highly experienced Reiki practitioners”.

In this economic climate, training needs to be accessible, not exclusively for those with deep pockets! And good quality research needs to be financed by a department of health that’s looking for evidence that could save it money.


What modalities do you specialise in? Do you have a story to share? Or perhaps a case study? Maybe some business or holistic advice? Health advice?

Remember that this magazine is a platform for holistic professionals – sharing knowledge and as a result strengthening  the industry as a whole, and encouraging each and every one of your businesses to grow and thrive.

So if you would like to get involved by sharing your relevant holistic story or journey on our website then please do contact and copy in access@ with more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Remember to have a look online to see what kind of things our readers – you – like to read about and learn about, and keep in touch via our social networking too!

make or buy hummus

A fantastic snack for the lunch box, a picnic, or if guess a visiting is a freshly made hummus dip. Hummus can be eaten with vegetable sticks, or some lightly toasted wholegrain bread… And is is super easy to make:


1 x 16-oz can of chick peas, drained OR you could prep and cook some dry chickpeas

1 x cup of tahini

1 x cup of lemon juice

1/2 of lukewarm water

1/2 tsp garlic powder or fresh garlic (to personal taste)

1 x tsp of pepper


  • Add tahini and lemon juice to the blender, plus 1/2 cup of lukewarm water – Mix until smooth.
  • Add the chickpeas, garlic and pepper to the mix – Blend into smooth, thick paste. Hummus does thicken once chilled, and so you can add a little more water, gradually!
  • You can add olive oil for taste or if the hummus is a little dry.
  • Place hummus in a bowl straight for serving, or cover and place in the fridge for later – where it can stay for a few days before consumption.


If you would rather purchase a tub of hummus instead of making it – even though it is super easy: Then here are three organic brands that are yummy!

  1. Carley’s Organic Hummus found at
  2. Planet Organic found at
  3. Arthur’s Organics found at

holsitic camexpo clinics

HTM are super thrilled to be at camexpo this year offering practitioners sessions at the business clinic. So if you have not already done so, you can register online for your ticket at camexpo, by clicking here: … But before you do, make sure you jot this Priority Code to get your ticket for just £7.50: CMEX568.

Have you been to camexpo before? If YES! you have probably already registered, if NO! Well, 2015 can be your first time at the annual industry event where the whole natural and integrated healthcare community comes together.

If you work within natural, integrated or holistic healthcare, camexpo has something new for you to discover. Here’s a list of those that visit camexpo each year and take away new ideas, inspiration and advice:
Beauty Salons and Therapists
Counsellors and Stress Management Therapists
Fitness Clubs
Sports Therapists
Ayurvedic Practitioners
Chinese Medicine Practitioners
Complementary Healthcare Practitioners
Massage Therapists
Healthcare Professionals
General Practitioners/Nurses
Nutritional Therapist
Health Food Stores
Shiatsu Practitioners
Alexander Technique Practitioner
Holistic Therapists

For this list, more information and to register head to remembering to use your Priority Code: CMEX568

… AND WE’LL SEE YOU THERE at Olympia, London on October the 4th and 5th 2014.

Latest free stuff website

Let’s face it – who doesn’t love a freebie!? Working hard to earn something that you’ve wanted for ages, whether it be for use in the professional environment or in your personal life, is an extremely rewarding feeling. That being said, there’s not many things nicer than being given something thanks to a gesture of good will from a friend, colleague, or family member. Taking any materialism out of the equation for a second, receiving something for nothing generates positive mental signals that shine through in your demeanour for the hours, and even days, that follow. The chances are that with these positive vibes, you’ll be touching other people’s lives without even knowing it, allowing positivity to generate all around you all thanks to that one moment of gratitude that resulted from your gift. Materialistically speaking or otherwise, freebies rock – so what if we let you in on a secret that would allow you to get free stuff EVERY DAY? You’d call us crazy, would you not?

It turns out that there is a website dedicated to giving free stuff to people like us, with absolutely no catches or hidden agendas. Latest Free Stuff provides an online marketplace entirely dedicated to providing members of the general public with fantastic freebies; pet food, nappies, socks, organic children’s snacks, fragrance, gym memberships – the list goes on…

But why? As it turns out, giving away free stuff is a powerful marketing strategy used by a large number of companies – it generates exposure and interest in a product for a fraction of the cost of a national advertising campaign. There are 1000s of companies in the UK giving away FREE samples of their products on the internet – and the team at Latest Free Stuff spend all day searching high and low for the very best offers, before adding new products to their website on a daily basis. All of their offers are genuine and from reputable companies, and they promise never to pass on your details to third parties.

What I liked most about Latest Free Stuff is how every offer they have is of genuine use to a wide range of people – even us therapists! After spending just 10 minutes in total on the site, I managed to bag myself:

These were just the ones that first stood out to me; there are plenty of options to suit everyone. Best of all, the system is completely user friendly – rather than spend your time trawling through countless deals, simply follow Latest Free Stuff on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date with the latest offers. You can also join their mailing list (like I have!) to receive details of their very best offers every day.

We’re so pleased to have come across Latest Free Stuff, and we’re hoping that by spreading the word, more people in our close knit community can benefit from getting something for nothing. Hopefully the karma will spread and with the money we save, we’ll be able to treat our friends and family as well as ourselves. Check them out at – happy freebie hunting!

JD Hancock

In the yin and yang world of Chinese medicine, there isn’t a particular aspect that is especially masculine or feminine. However, one area we can always focus on to strengthen men’s health is the Kidney’s function.

Those of you who know me may have heard me refer to the Kidney* as the fireplace of the home. It is the area where warmth radiates from and where friends and family congregate around. Architecturally it is often the focal point of a room. The Kidney is very much the VIP in the Chinese medicine organ system.

When the VIP is unhappy or unwell all kinds of problems can arise, including low back pain or knee pain or hair loss. A person with strong Kidney qi, whether they are young or old, will look and feel good. They are those people who bounce back from injuries much easier. They are the ones with vigour who never “look their age”. Mentally and physically they are alert and present, with less aches and pains. Their hair may be white but the hair is strong.

In Chinese medicine we refer to the Kidney as the place that stores the “essence of life”, a collective term to describe the congenital essence (essentially what the ancient Chinese called genes and hereditary characteristics as we know it today) andacquired essence, basically the nutrients we absorb from our food. This is an important point because it means that the start you had in life can be impacted by your choices later on. A poorly baby can be described as having “weak congenital essence” but grow up to be healthy and strong. A healthy teenager may go on to have type II diabetes due to a poor diet.

Since human growth and development are imperative in both men and women, then surely everyone would benefit from strengthening their Kidney functions. This is true but men can be affected by a weak Kidney in a very singularly obvious way, and that is sexual health.

All manners of private sexual male dysfunction (such as premature ejaculation, nocturia, impotence) can be due to impaired Kidney function. Traditionally it would be due to an overly active sexual life (every time there is an ejaculation the body needs time to recuperate from the loss of “essence”). However in today’s society it can be any combination of stress, overwork, lifestyle, relationships and diet that can wreck havoc on the Kidney.

But self-care can be very effective. Besides having acupuncture and Chinese medicine either as treatment or a preventative measure, nutrition should be your main port of call. Eat well, keep your mind and body happy and your Kidney can enjoy the party. On the other hand, excessive work, excessive exercise, sex, drugs, alcohol, excessive caffeine, anxiety, and stress will deplete kidney essence before its time.

Winter is the season of the kidney, a time when the body naturally seeks warmth and nourishment. So enjoy the summer and soak in the rays to give yourself a good head start.

*Important: The Kidney in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) means more than the actual human organ. It is rather a group of functions, such as the regulation of water metabolism, storage of energy, and providing nourishment for bodily growth. If in doubt always get clarification from your acupuncturist or Chinese medicine practitioner.

by Ka Hang Leoungk

june events

21-22 June 2014 Mind Body Spirit Event at White Light Events in MILTON KEYNES. To find out more head to:

14th June 2014 Free HOLISTIC FAIR at Weatherstone Therapies in Wood Green Central Library, London. To find out more head to:

28/29 June 2014 BUXTON HEALTH & HEALING FESTIVAL at Pavilion Gardens. To find out more head to:

8th June 2014 Spiritual Birmingham Holistic Event Love & Light Events in Birmingham. To find out more head to:

If you have an event you would like published online to share with HTM readers please contact the online editor.

man drinking alcohol

This report of 2014 has some unique features. First, it describes some progress made in alcohol policy development in WHO Member States after endorsement of the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol in 2010. Second, this report provides a wealth of information on alcohol-related indicators for the comprehensive global monitoring framework for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) adopted by the 66th World Health Assembly.

Following the endorsement of the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol WHO has strengthened its actions and activities to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm at all levels.

Above taken from the forward of the report written by Oleg Chestnov, Assistant Director-General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health.

As part of the report, WHO highlights the Health Consequences shown below, and then further details these in the document.


o In 2012, about 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributable to alcohol consumption.

o There are significant sex differences in the proportion of global deaths attributable to alcohol, for example, in 2012 7.6% of deaths among males and 4.0% of deaths among females were attributable to alcohol.

o In 2012 139 million DALYs (disability-adjusted life years), or 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury, were attributable to alcohol consumption.

o There is also wide geographical variation in the proportion of alcohol-attributable deaths and DALYs, with the highest alcohol-attributable fractions reported in the WHO European Region.

This report is a great read to further and up-date your knowledge so that as therapists we can use our platform to keep clients abreast of such important information. This report is especially useful for those therapists working with patients effected by alcoholism either personally or as a family member.

The report includes sections such as: Regulating availability of alcohol, Reducing negative consequences of drinking, and Drink–driving countermeasures.

And can be downloaded from the WHO website here.

peep toe shoes

It is fast approaching the time when the boots are shelved and the open-toe flats, flip-flops, and peep toes are lined up waiting to see a little sunshine. And of course it is holiday season and so our feet will be seeing the light of day! Maybe your particular modality requires you to be bare foot?

… Feet – they are probably the least aesthetic things on the human body – or at least they get bad press! They can be webbed, flat, and often pretty unattractive, but they do serve a great purpose – and it is so important we give them a little gratitude and TLC right? For most of us mere mortals it certainly takes some work to ensure our feet look decent.

They get squished into all kinds of shaped shoes, and your long suffering feet also have to stand for hours on end. So all you really have to do is take a little time once a week to pamper your feet – or better still you could get somebody else to do it.


You’ll need: a towel, a bowl of water, a 30-45 minutes.

  • Scoop a finger full of vaseline and rub into your feet, add some large grain salt or sugar into the vaseline.
  • Add some natural moisturizing shower gel or organic soap to your feet and mix it in with the sugar/salt vaseline before rinsing with warm water.
  • Leave your feet in the warm water for about 10 minutes – you can add porridge oats if you would like a creamy softness on your skin.
  • Now your feet are feeling great – scrub any hard skin away from your heels with a file and use a brush to clean your toenails.
  • Pat your feet dry with a towel and massage some natural foot cream into the feet up to your shins.
  • Pop your feet up to give them a nice rest so they will be ready to wear a lovely pair of sandals the next time you head out.

FOOT TIP 1: Remember to be careful if you are pregnant when using certain creams. Also, some foot creams have the wonderful ingredients of tea-tree oil, eucalyptus, or peppermint – and these can give a lovely tingly, refreshing sensation as well as having an anti-bacterial effect… but some of these aromas can keep you from falling asleep, and so if you are pampering your feet prior to bedtime, substitute your invigorating foot cream for a fragrance-free hand cream.

FOOT TIP 2: If you plan to polish your toe nails, then ensure that you do so prior to moisturizing your feet. Ensure your feet are thoroughly dry and free of any greasy residue.



Alter ego dark chocolater

Okay – so not all dark chocolate is kind to trees – but this stuff – is my personally current favorite – tasting amazingly delicious, as well as being ethical in every way. You may noticed that the image is of empty packets… well, this is because it has been unwrapped, chewed and swallowed by me… And I’m not afraid to admit – that I shall be purchasing another bar shortly… And I will feel good about eating it and buying it because it is organic, fair trade, and the productions allows work for farmers, as well as preservation of tree/farming land… and plans to plant more.

I love trees just as much as I like good quality chocolate!

Here are five reasons why dark chocolate is good for you:

  1. Some research shows that a small amount of dark chocolate eaten daily can reduce blood pressure.
  2. Dark chocolate includes chemical compound that have positive effects on the brain, and also create feelings of happiness.
  3. The bitter taste of dark chocolate can reduce your cravings for more, so you only need a small dose of the good stuff.
  4. Dark chocolate contains anti-oxidants, and it also contains something called Theobromine, which is supposed to help keep tooth enamel hard.
  5. Dark chocolate’s flavonoids help the body to use insulin efficiently.

Oh – and it tastes GOOD!

Here are five reasons why quinoa is good for you:

  1. It is a super food – and protein rich.
  2. It contains more fibre than most other grains.
  3. It contains iron, and Lysine – vital for growth and repair.
  4. It is rich in Magnesium.
  5. And rich in B2 vitamins.

Oh – and it tastes GOOD!

Here are five reasons why trees are good for you:

  1. Trees purify the air – our air.
  2. Trees provide oxygen – HELLO! isn’t that the stuff we breath in to survive!
  3. Trees preserve energy, whilst keeping the streets cool.
  4. Trees provide food, shelter, soil preservation and more.
  5. Trees are spiritual and beautiful… and so much more!

Oh – DON’T eat them! Save them… and even HUG them! ;o)

You can find out more about Alter Ego.