Tuesday, 14 June 2016

A colleague and myself recently set up a website to accompany our complementary therapy courses.
The following posting relates to our experience as therapists and teachers.


When I first started in complementary health, the college I trained at pushed students towards being a member of the FHT, The Federation of Holistic Therapists.  We were told that being a member of the FHT, would ensure the public that you were a bona fide practitioner and that could help you get clients. One slight problem, the public had never heard of them.

They claim to be the largest professional body representing therapists, this is fine except so do many other professional bodies… and there are so many. Just what is a practitioner to do…and what does it mean for them anyway.

If you research (google) professional bodies for insert therapy name, a mass of different organisations with varying levels of requirements for membership, pop up. Each one making claims that they are this lead body or that lead body, each trying to outdo the level of training required but in varying ways.

If they are not ‘The’ lead body, they are ‘The’ largest body. The lead here, the lead in Europe – soon there will be one that spans the universe…..guess what, the public will still not have a clue what they do or who they are or what it might mean re the practitioner.

They seem like quangos after quango’s paid for by ever increasing fees from practitioners that feel they should join them but often question why.

What do you get by being a member? Some offer discounts, some offer cheaper conference places, various financial benefits on things you very often don’t need anyway and if you didn’t pay the fee in the first place, you could use that towards your own chosen CPD (continual professional development) Sometimes there is access to a magazine – very often a self-congratulating piece of propaganda, featuring the same faces every quarter.

These organisations are nothing more than a mass of letters and acronyms – all claiming that being a member will enhance your professional status. CThA, CMA, BacP, BCMA, GCMT, NAMMT, APNT, SMA, CNHC…the list goes on. Each one costs money and you could end up spending a fortune.

So it was a real eye opener for me when I attended the recent Balens conference.  Balens are a UK based insurance company that are very large and have an ever growing foothold in the field of complementary therapy. One of the speakers gave a talk on what he called the Alphabet Soup of organisations.  What an appropriate title.

There are really split into 2 forms.  The first are the professional bodies, and they offer support to practitioners, often set up by practitioners, you become a member and they ensure their members meet the standards they set up. They may provide training and or CPD events and can represent practitioners if ever complaints are made against them.

Then you have the regulatory bodies….now that sounds official and scary, but do they have any real clout…only if you are a member. Do you have to be a member? NO.  These are voluntary registers that might have government support and some funding; they say they are there to protect the public.

One such register is the CNHC, but if you google them, you find plenty of complaints from what were once members and plenty of members not renewing their membership.  You can set up any organisation you like, but if people don’t join it, then you have no organisation.  It seems numbers of the CNHC are falling…may be, like me, people are not keen to pay money to an organisation that are more about regulation than they are about the therapies they claim they represent.  It’s like paying for the stick for someone to beat you with and not support you fairly. They seem to set the scales against you. Any weak links in a commercial world will naturally fall by the wayside.

Therapists are not medical practitioners, no one prescribes drugs and do not have ultimate responsibility for patients health, as we do not diagnose or treat specific illnesses.  The public visit a therapist because they wish to take a different approach to their wellbeing in general, it is not free and therefore if that practitioner is not helping or not providing the service that matches client’s needs, they vote with their feet and don’t go back…in a way, the industry takes care of inadequate practitioners naturally.  If people don’t use a certain store because it fails them, that shop will close.

When we decided to set up our own courses and thought about getting them accredited, we met with the same problems that practitioners face, on who to belong to.Which professional body is best? 

It was a minefield, especially as one of our main courses does not fit into any of the existing models but strangely we had less problem getting this recognised than our more traditional courses.

I have to say the real low point was the organisation we have one of our courses with, the CHP, has aligned itself with the GCMT, the General Council for Massage Therapy….I was told they are ‘The’ leading body…but they seem one of many.

We wanted to put through our Indian Head Massage course, but were told that we need to insist on a body massage qualification first before therapists could do this course.  I had never heard of anything so ridiculous.

Indian Head was brought to this country by Narendha Mehta, in the 1960’s it is part of the oldest medical system in the world, The Ayurveda system, which is thousands of years old.  The massage techniques that were being required before anyone could study Indian head are just about 200 years old.
So unless those that developed what we know as Indian Head massage, had a time machine, nipped forward and then returned to develop Indian Head, this request was nonsense…and coming from ‘The’ lead body.
The school set up in London by Narendha Mehta himself, makes no pre-requisite.  So is this lead body declaring that his courses are not meeting the European standards, as he is not asking for body massage first….without him, we might not have the therapy here to start with.
This is a typical example of these organisations, becoming so obsessed with their criteria; they have forgotten to look at the origins of the therapy in the beginning.

So back to Balens….

What does a therapist actually have to do?
Well it turns out you do not have to register with any voluntary regulatory body. You do not have to join any professional body, and scarily, you do not have to have insurance.
You do however have to comply with trading standards.
You would be crazy to practise without insurance, because we live in an increasing litigious world. If you have a complaint against you, your insurance company will take it up, you don’t need a professional body to do that, the legal team of the insurance company will take that on.

If you are a dedicated therapist, you will naturally want to keep your knowledge up to date, keep training and learning and work within health and safety guidelines.
So we decided that we would get all our courses insured through Balens, so that anyone wanting to practise can get their insurance through Balens too.

We are offering courses that meet the occupational standards and in keeping with the ethos behind their origin.  We aim to help you become professional therapists and point you in the right direction to keep skills updated, and work within safe frameworks. We do not need to behave like medics; we just need to be safe practitioners.

I like what Balens are doing on the bigger stage and the last few conferences are better than any I’ve ever attended provided by ‘professional bodies’ over the years. The calibre of speakers has been fantastic. Balens are filling a void.

I’m not prepared to join organisations that take your money and offer nothing of significance in return. Nor am I paying voluntary regulators money to buy that stick to beat anyone with.
I’m not saying don’t join, but be aware that you have choice and ask what you would gain by joining. Don’t be mislead by claims that you can work within the NHS etc in reality our NHS struggles to provide its own approach to health care. There are not going to suddenly find money to pay for alternative methods just yet and an abundance of posts.

Where our ethos and philosophies merge, we will work with professional bodies, but my experience of the Indian Head has made me question the basis on which they work from.

If and when there is one body, one authority, be it lead, biggest, European etc, and it actually is compulsory and carries real weight, then we can work to that. Until then, how on earth are therapists expected to know who is best and just how many fees do you pay out each year.

If and when that body is formed, let’s hope it is by people who are interested in the practise of complementary therapy and not just regulators. Please can it be formed with common sense and not try and regulate therapies as if they are medical interventions.

Many think therapies are pointless and of no real benefit – yet think they need regulating….bit of a paradox.  The moment compulsory regulation comes in; it would be recognition that therapies actually have the ability to do something.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Does the Spiritual/Angelic Realm Really Need Rules or is it Man's Ego Again

I was recently at a talk where the speaker was describing a therapy that used symbols for healing. I'm aware of therapies that do that and have tried them myself. The dilemma I have with them is that everyone that I have come across using symbols, is convinced that they are guided to use certain symbols and that these specific symbols will pull in specific energies or clear certain problems.
I'm not doubting that they work but how they work is more of the issue.

It would seem to me that with matters spiritual and spiritual healing modalities, we human beings can't but help stick an ego on them or an identity.  So we declare that it must be this symbol or that symbol and we fix them into a healing framework. The next thing someone is charging you to gain access to these 'special' symbols -  Now its beginning to feel a whole lot less spiritual or from our nature surroundings

Perhaps all that is going on is the intention - what if 6 people all had the same intention, but it was represented by 6 individual symbols. It would surely be the intention to heal that was the overriding factor and not the symbols.

There is a tendency to represent angelic healing by specific symbols - calling in the help of certain angels by drawing symbols that we are told represent them.....again, i'm not doubting the belief of this, but does such high spiritual energy only come into force if you give the correct symbol?
Do we have angels refusing help if you don't address them properly?   Now that really smacks of a human ego.

Who deems it necessary to have a symbol at all yet alone declare them to be certain one or others,

I do not have a religious back ground at all and I'm extremely grateful to have been raised to respect religious beliefs but without the burden of them myself.  I do however have a belief in something that isn't just the physical.  That spark that makes us who we are are and a connection to something greater than us all, but that connects us all. A back drop to our material world but what that is perhaps needs no definition. Not everything has to be defined and logged in Wikipedia!

May be my lack of religious ceremony and symbolic acts prevents me from seeing why this assigning symbolic drawings or markings is important but I would like to think that when such higher energies are at work, they are there for us all and access is simply by asking or healing through intention.

The moment it gets defined, it becomes tainted by man and usually scuppered by  man made rules.

I was told that symbols are from the ancients and have been used for centuries, that to me isn't an argument for making them 'fact' Man has always felt the need to structure things and apply rules - rules that mean you have to follow or be excluded in some way....not at all spiritual then!

I'd like to think that these higher energy realms are bigger than ego and wouldn't care less if you used a symbol from the 'ancients' or a so called  'guided to be used' symbol at all.

May be they come in to help all those that try and help others with a true and open heart and may be they work to guide those that need it too, regardless of whether you call them or not - that would be true universal unconditional love there for all.

Lets hope our spiritual back drop out there isn't working from ego - there is enough of that on the planet already.

If you need a symbol - where in the 'rules' does it say you can't draw your own.

A symbol for good intentions and for all our highest good

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Panorama - GM bias? softly softly catch the public!?

Panorama's programme on GM plants looks like it is part of someone's recipe to start to soften up the public to be favourably disposed towards GM food on our shelves.
Typical ingredients
First add 2 guys that have switched from being anti GM and show a clip of one of them publicly declaring he was sorry for his previous view and is now a reformed thinker on this and in favour of GM
Next mix in the once leading light of Sainsburys, Justin King with his view that GM will lower the cost of food and that will sway the many 'undecided' in the population - and how timely is that, when you see a weekly shop that increases week on week, of course it's a primed public ready to reduce costs somewhere....but at what expense.
Throw in the 'feeding the world' argument and how morally wrong it is for us here in the UK to deprive the rest of the world access to food.
And stir in a great gush of hospital scenes in Bangladesh whilst referring to farmers suffering from pesticide exposure, happy farmer growing his GM aubergines and show the reporter eating a dish of aubergine and rice declaring it something we couldn't eat here...not true...we could have the GM free version!
Then for the obligatory dose of protesters being portrayed as luddites, ripping up crops and how much in financial terms that cost the company.

A balanced recipe? possible not as that should include farms where GM has failed and talking to someone on the ground who truly knows about that - why not include an Interview with Dr Vandana Shiva, a physicist and global campaigner on GM?  Why not ask her about the lives of Indian farmers that have been destroyed through growing GM crops, what has happened to the land since BT cotton etc

The life of an Indian farmer is hard enough, so growing crops that are drought resistant and naturally pest resistant is crucial....they need seed banks not GM.

Much was made about the health risks of GM food, yes instinctively eating GM doesn't sit well with many, but neither side truly knows the long term health risk. There are pictures of tumours in rats fed GM and strangely nature avoids eating GM, but even so, I'm not keen on any results of studies on animals being supposed as the outcome in humans, be it GM or medicine.
But sovereignty over food is a concern, and we have seen where corporate giants like Monsanto have sued farmers for what is nothing more than an act of nature...cross pollination from wind and insects - so where was the mention of that, a small nod in the direction of a female Bangladeshi farmer, growing a wild form of aubergine which was naturally resistant to the fruit worm that was taking out the cultivated crops....surely the answer was right there....and if you wanted to make a programme based on anti GM, she would be your farmer of choice, no need for pesticide spray, wild form of a plant that was naturally resistant, as nature would have it.

The reporter asking her if it was fair that she could grow her crops but GM couldn't be grown??  well can she sue if she finds her wild crop contaminated by GM....that would be fair.  The problem is once a genie is out of a bottle, how do you get it back in.

Organisations like the Soil Association are not Luddites, the short interview with Helen Browning, the Soil Associations Chief Exec, is far from a farming novice, her comments that were shown, focused on the short and medium term solution, but this was left in the air by the programme.

When programmes cut to hospital scenes for anything, it is nothing more than emotive, the hospital waiting area was less full than our local A & E on a slow day and no one knew if the women, children and men there were farmers suffering from pesticide exposure - I do wish programmes would not do this, we all know what a hospital look like and it's purely emotive for their cause.

As for the  'feed the world' well we have just had a series of programmes on food waste and supermarkets are the biggest offenders along with sell by dates and over buying for actual need. The western world has a food waste problem, so much so, we have a company turning it into fuel to run the supermarket!  We have always had a food distribution problem and we in the west should certainly ask ourselves why we are buying in food from countries that struggle to feed their own, but we are quite happy to have them use their precious water supplies to grow food for the western world.

If Sainsbury's et al think we need to feed the world, why then are they pushing the farmers prices here so low, it is now more profitable for farmers to have fields of solar panels as opposed to fields of potatoes etc.

Then there is food sovereignty...If you create a plant that carries a patent, that plant cannot be reproduced, if it is a sterile seed, you will need to buy it year in and year out and you are then in the hands of the seed companies for ever.

Thank goodness to those right now that have the foresight to be setting up seed banks!

So never mind the unknown health risk, that is an unknown in humans, but do we need our food chain to begin and end with a few Big Agg companies in the long run and once those seeds are out there and cross pollinate with GM resisting farmers....that genie won't fit back in the bottle and who gets to sue who for either ruining there GM free crop or so called stealing the GM technology, albeit wind assisted.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Monsanto 2015 - Did it make the BBC news?

People in 452 cities across the world today, marched and demonstrated against the giant corporation - Monsanto. The third year this global event has taken place and people around the world are encouraging us all to wake up and make sure we all say no to Monsanto and their GM crops.
In a small country such as Britain, a GM crop here would soon contaminate may crops around it and very soon we could see no GM free land here.

There is no credible argument for GM crops...we certainly do not need a GM wheat crop here or GM potatoes or any other GM for that matter.

This is going to solve food shortage apparently...why then if we have food shortage, is a supermarkert in the North of the UK using its waste food to turn into a biofuel to power the supermarket and a few thousand of the surrounding homes...we are wasting food and using it to make fuel...Does that indicate a food shortage?  We have a food distribution problem not a shortage. We waste in the region of 25% of food.

If food is in such short supply, why do we suddenly have crop growing fields turned into solar farms, with solar panels stretching across vast stretches of land in our high agriculture area where I live. Why are we seeing wind farms on arable land? And why are we producing fields of Rape seed?....man can not live by rape seed alone...or woman for that matter! And actually we managed to live without rapeseed almost hidden into every pre packed food. - Avoiding that is another story!
But if we are told the GMO is the answer to our food shortage, then I think that doesn't stack up.
If this is yet another greedy corporate giant that has found a way to patten 'nature' (in its twisted form) then be honest about it.  The tell the public that you want food control and at any cost and you don't care who you screw over in the process.

If food is in such short supply, should we really see so many fast food outlets on every high street in the land. We have food coming at us from every direction. During the war, food was in short supply and yet people were at there healthiest. There wasn't the abundance of beef and chicken to be turned into some quick snack/poor nutrition food..So what is the real reason we are heading for GM food?

Funny how nature never needed a lab to provide all she has provided and never needed a lab to design life giving

What can't be good is to let patented seeds, genetically modified, be swept across our lands.

What is really odd about today's events and of the past 2 years, is that this global event gets a media blackout....If I search the BBC news site - it takes me to an article from the first march in 2013...nothing since.

Thanks to the TV station, Russia Today - news of all the marches around the world got reported


Shame on the BBC - The Worlds BBC?

Well done to all that attended these events around the globe - and thank you!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

London's March Against Monsanto May 2015

This years Annual March Against Monsanto will take place on 23rd May 2015. 

The Event promises to be packed with entertainment and speakers.....updates coming soon.
March Against Monsanto is a call to action (static event).


Join over 3.5 Million People in over 600 cities worldwide!

23 MAY 2015 12PM

Richmond Terrace. London SW1A 21L


Liz O'Neill, GM Freeze, www.gmfreeze.org/
Pete Dean, Biofuelwatch
Lawrence Woodward, Beyond GM
Elizabeth Bragg speaking about Small Farmers and Community Food
Mizan The Poet

Other speakers to be confirmed. Programme may be subject to change.

For all those who dont know about March Against Monsanto, please read below. Taken from their websitehttp://www.march-against-monsanto.com/home/

May Updates

Hi Everyone

Such a beautiful May morning and the neighbours cat is sitting under the table waiting for birds to feed from the food I've just put on it for them...now she either thinks they are all quite stupid or blind but i'm pretty sure breakfast isn't going to land in her paws quite so easily.

I should be walking the Daisy dog with a friend on a beach this morning but the north circular on Monday teatime is no friend to a persons L4, I think i will never complain about the traffic in our city again. When it takes 2hrs to travel a 20min journey and you still don't reach your destination, you can lose the will to live...how people do that everyday is beyond me....So grateful to work from home i think.


Maddy and I did get to the Balens CPD event and I think we would both highly recommend it for the future...The calibre of the speakers was the the best I've seen at any of these type of events.It was purely Complementary Medicine based and David Balen certainly is leading the way in this field on many levels..some exciting developments to come and his final speaker was Rob Verkerk from the Alliance of Natural Health, another champion of CAM.
Given the cost of the event was a mere £25, it was certainly worth it to hear the array of Dr's and academics discussing the effectiveness and the measure of that in Comp health along with where it needs to be heading.

I have put a link to Balens site where you can view the videos of past speakers at these events and very soon the speakers from this event will be up on there too.

Tip of the Spear

One more event that is looming fast and again, if you have never been to hear this guy speak, it is quite a force.

Health journalist, Philip Day will be at Bury St Edmunds on Sunday June 7th or the day before in Norwich 

Details for this at...http://credence.org/home/

He calls it his Tip of the Spear tour this year and not only witty and entertaining in his delivery, extremely hard hitting, so hang on to your hats if you go. I shall get to the Bury one and hope you can make it.

And finally....it is the Psychic development evening at the Abington Barns tonight, starts at 7.30pm   Always a great space to be in.

As always if you have anything you would like to share with the like minded people that receive this email, let us know.

Have a great month and if anyone knows how to slow down time, please give it a go!

Good wishes to all

Sarah and on behalf of Maddy

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Since when is a Blue Badge conceding defeat!

Have to get this off my chest-I just read on the BBC website a quote from Nigel Farage....

''After the air accident Mr Farage was told that he could be signed off as partially disabled, but he said that having a blue badge would be "conceding defeat".''

Shameful to even suggest a blue badge is 'conceding defeat'  to many,a blue badge is the complete opposite to that.....It enables people who would otherwise be more restricted, to get to where they need to go and be able to park near enough to be able to go about their business, very often on their own and sometimes allowing others to help them get out and about.

Conceding defeat is an awful term to link in any small way to someone restricted by a disability.  

Clearly Mr Farage doesn't need one then,  but not everyone is that lucky and needs that little bit of help so they can have a near as poss, equal access as an able bodied person.

A 'grown up'society should not see illness and disability as a problem, more of an opportunity to put the right things in place to help everyone maintain their life to the full.  Even the able bodied need that in other ways. 

So people taking up the services they need to help them get on with their lives is far from conceding defeat - quite the opposite...Society should make the 'playing field' as level as it can and there is no stigma in using the services to help you get on with life.

But such comments could be very telling of the mindset of this Mr Farage.