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.
Liz Phelps trained in Cheltenham
‘Just go floppy for me Liz’ says my therapist, as I lie fully clothed on a futon on the floor – a little apprehensive as what’s about to happen to me. I’ve booked my first Thai massage. As the therapist started to work, a peace descended on me and as he gently moved round my body, rocking and stretching my limbs in a continual, fluid, almost dance-like way I was transported to another realm. Every part of me was moved and stretched and I felt totally supported and safe, even when draped across his knees for an intense backbend – a testament to the skill required for this type of massage. I left the treatment floating. I felt taller. Energised. My body was singing. That was the moment I decided to learn this amazing form of bodywork. An interesting decision; as I was currently the finance director for a marketing company with no experience whatsoever of massage or bodywork. ‘Anything is possible if you put your mind to it’ so I started researching college courses. Thai massage uses internal energy lines, which are similar to the meridians used in Chinese medicine. Having done 20 years of Chinese Kung Fu and Tai Chi I was familiar with the meridians and didn’t want to waste this knowledge. I started seeking out Chinese medicine colleges that taught Thai massage and, after some searching, found a college based in Cheltenham. Their Thai massage teacher had learned his art all over Thailand. This was just what I was searching for! I signed up for their Anatomy & Physiology, and Thai massage courses and set about learning muscles. A year later I graduated with a distinction and now three years on, I make my living as a Thai massage therapist in Cheltenham still with as much passion as when I started. bodyworkthai.co.uk
Danny Allman trained in Thailand
Since I began my career in bodywork, I have come across many weird and wonderful forms of therapy, some of which I have found very affective and some that I feel were a waste of time. Though I would not say they would not benefit others they had little or no affect on me. So when I found myself interested in expanding my knowledge in bodywork, the first technique that really caught my eye and mind was Thai massage. Initially just through the observations of the techniques and later from the receiving of them. Once the decision was made to train in Thai massage, the choice as to where to train had to be made… Like many others I’m sure, I believed that the most authentic training would come from the source of the technique i.e. Thailand. And the Wat Po School of Thai massage in Bangkok is the home of traditional Thai medicine, with some of the original manuscripts inscribed in stone on the walls of the Wat Po temple. Admittedly, I did not question the quality of training, as the allure of training in Thailand was far greater than any questions I had. The course was quite cheap (£150) though this was 9 years ago and with the flight on top and accommodation for the duration of the course with food and other living expenses, the total cost was around £900. (Very cheap I think for the overall experience). The course is taught in medium size groups and is completely practical, the teachers do not speak English but the accompanying work manual explains everything sufficiently. From start to finish you will be pushed, pulled, stretched and squeezed – and within the process learn how to do it to others. Add into the mixture great food, great weather and a city rich in culture, it’s an amazing experience. Bare in mind that you will not be qualified to practise in the UK unless you are already a UK-qualified therapist. email@example.com
After much discussion and perfect planning the Holistic Therapist Team have compiled a fantastic series of business workshops. These new training workshops are catered specifically for therapists. There are seven workshops which will help therapists become or continue to be successful within business. You can book a place on all of the workshops, or pick and choose the subjects that appeal to you the most:
- How to build a six figure business doing what you love
- Creating a successful marketing strategy for your business
- Your brand story – your number one marketing tool
- How to use social media to build your business – Part 1: The bare essentials
- How to use social media to build with your business – Part 2: Blog your way to business success
- Everything that you need to know to create a successful website that attracts leads and turns them into paying customers
- Online marketing – emails and drip campaigns
These workshops start in September 2014 through to April 2015, not only cover all you need to know in areas of business, but they are a great way to meet other therapists, as well as an opportunity to enjoy the social element of these holistic business events held at the prestigious Hale Clinic in London. And delicious food, courtesy of Nutrichef is provided as part of the discounted price, and refreshing, fresh juices are provided by Nuture.
HTM are offering a Special Introductory price of £99 per workshop for a limited time only! (normal price is just £149.00) HTM are even offering HTM Subscribers a discounted fee of £85.00. So call 0208 668 5423 if you have any questions! FIND OUT ALL DETAILS ON CONTENT, AIMS AND OUTCOMES OF WORKSHOPS… AND TO BOOK YOUR PLACE TODAY CLICK : BUSINESS WORKSHOPS.
Do you have your First Aid up-to-date? How about your CPR? Maybe you work with children too? There are some essential certificates to have if you are working with people every day in the holistic therapist industry… And they are all related to the care and safety of your clients, as well as yourself. These skills are to be current for insurance purposes, but also for overall wellbeing of you and your clients.
Emergency First Aid at work qualification will mean that you will be able to deal with most incidents, as well as offer an overall level of care and safety to your clients. If you find yourself having to deal with incidents regularly, you may opt to take the First Aid at Work qualification. To find out which course is right for you, and to read more about First Aid in general head to: http://www.hse.gov.uk
Here are some places you can complete your qualifications:
Hi my name is Sue Masters, and I am the Founder and Principal of Infinity Training Academy in Melbourne, Derbyshire.
My aim and passion is to provide learners with the ultimate learning experience, providing therapy and business knowledge to enable all of our students to succeed in this wonderful industry.
Jane Sheehan, TV’s celebrity Foot Reader, author, and Holistic Therapist Magazine contributor, is to offer readings at the FHT’s 50th Anniversary Training Congress and Exhibition. On stand C2 at the FHT event, taking place on 7th and 8th July at the Heritage Motor Museum in Gaydon in the West Midlands, Jane will also be taking bookings for her FHT accredited training courses and selling her range of books.
Jane is also one of the invited expert lecturers at the FHT Training Congress, giving a talk on the secrets of Foot Reading on Sunday 8th July at 3.30pm. Tickets are available now from the FHT website.
Jane’s seminar series has been selling out around the world. She teaches the techniques used to ‘read’ personality traits and emotions in the feet, how feet reveal a person’s strengths (and also their weaknesses) and any hidden potential or undervalued talents. By learning what feet say about a person, the information can be used as a tool for personal development and growth.
Jane has taught her skills at workshops not only in the UK, but also in the USA, United Arab Emirates, Ireland and Australia.
The seminars benefit anyone who has an interest in reflexology or personal development. As well as offering qualified reflexologists a way to holistically enhance their knowledge, Jane’s seminars also give everyone, therapists and muggles alike, the opportunity to learn an unusual skill that will allow them to consider their own personal development and growth from a completely unexpected source whilst having lots of fun and insights about themselves in the process.
Jane comments: “I am delighted that my courses have been accredited by the FHT. The seminars have helped a lot of therapists and individuals with an interest in reflexology to widen their knowledge and add another tool for personal development or a more holistic approach to their therapy practice.”
Jane launched her full-time Foot Reading career in April 2005 with her first appearance on ITV’s ‘This Morning’. She has since made regular return appearances with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield and was recently asked to read comedian Alan Carr’s feet (and his dayglo orange nail varnish!) as well as Holly and Phillip’s. Internationally, Jane has appeared on The Afternoon Show on RTE, Sama TV in Dubai, Inside San Diego and Fox in the Morning in California and Channel 9 in Australia.