Complementary Therapists Association - Forums
Posted by Geraldine Knights, Apr 28 2010 1:07AM

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Massage/Indian Head Massage

I am only coming into this after spending the past 4 years as a part-time, low-key Massage/Indian Head Massage Therapist having succeeded in passing my ITEC Diploma with Credit and being fully insured, but practicing in my own home and as part of what I do in the Healing Ministry of my local Anglican church.

It worries me that there are so many people doing Aromatheraply Massage and other complimentary therapies in hospices, nursing homes, and other places and yet no one recognises this very worthwhile aspect of healing, and restoring people to wholeness in a regulated and professional manner.

So, what's the problem? Are we expecting too much of the general public or are we not confidento of the importance/value of what we do as complimentary therapists. I wonder whether members of the medical profession are purposely nudging us out because we are treading on their toes, so to speak. Are we providing a service which they haven't got time for?

If anyone has any thoughts on this, please let me know.

Gerie Knights

Jo Webb
Apr 28 2010 6:48AM
5 years ago when working in a practice we invited all the local GPs in to a social evening & look around the practice. We were surprised by the response, thinking most would be sociable, drop in for a chat and drink 15-20 minutes. We ran from 6-9 it was so popular that we were having to usher them out after 9, they were really envious of the time we spent with clients, health questionnaires 1:1 time. One asked me about charges suggesting that we should be charging upwards of £70 per hour, I pointed out in a rural area we would not get many repeat clients. We offered Indian Head, Homeopathy, Reflexology, Massage, Aromatherapy, Hypnotherapy, Counselling
Patricia Taylor
Apr 28 2010 8:09AM
My experience with GPs has been somewhat different: letters to local practice managers offering to go in and talk about the benefits of massage and reiki met no response at all. When I offered to give a demonstration to nurses and doctors at my local GP surgery, the practice manager told me that they would have to pay staff to stay outside working hours, so it wouldn't be feasible. I was prepared to give my time, but they weren't.
Maureen Powell
Apr 28 2010 9:55AM
It appears to me that this is 'hit and miss' as some doctor's surgeries and or group practices are appreciative of the work we as therapists do and offer. I have been given the oppotunity by a local group practice to advertise on their patients appointments card. I think it is fair to say that Complimentary Therapies have come a long way, but may still have a little way to go in convincing people in general that Complimentary Therapist is not another name for hippy. The feedback I get has always been positive and it is encouraging just how many people are interested.
Nigel Millett
Apr 28 2010 10:23AM
We will not get full recognition until the Government, BMA & GP's stop being so greedy and having their coffers filled by the all powerful pharmaceutical companies, we as therapists could be saving the NHS money but their is too much to be lost ie: funding & sweeteners from the aforementioned!!
Don't get too excited Maureen about getting lots of clients from the Surgery appointment cards the only winners there are the marketing company promoting it & the surgery gets free appointment cards. You may think me cynical but I have seen it over the years the best way to get clients is by achieving good results through good work in your therapy and you will get lots of recommendations, from clients maybe even your local GP will get to hear, but their hearing is very selective!!
Carole Thomas
Apr 28 2010 11:01AM
Oh dear. We gave up being 'alternatives' and became 'complementaries'! I am neither. I am a massuese. My clients come to me for the benefits of regular massage, not because alopathic medicine didn't work for them. Many of my clients have been referred to me via GPs or physiotherapists. Why oh why are we still conducting this defensive debate? We are our own worst PR if we hold 'forums' like this, initiated by CThA. Shame on you CThA. When we start acting like proud professionals we will be (are) accepted as such. How about a 'forum' sharing our positive experiences and offering our hints and tips on promoiting a successful business in our chosen fields?
Janet Bull
Apr 28 2010 11:36AM
As a practising midwife working in the NHS and a complementary therapist I get to see both view points.

The maternity unit I work in has several midwives who are also qualified Aromatherapists. We offer our mothers an intra-partum and post-natal aromatherapy service which is keenly used our mothers. The midwives value the service as it offers them an alternative to pharmaceutical options for pain relief in labour. We have found that Lavender and Tea Tree is very beneficial, either used on its own or combined with traditional pain relief, for perineal trauma. The aromatherapy service is funded by voluntary contributions from mothers who use the service. There is no cost to the NHS as we buy our own oils and supplies from these contributions.

Until recently we ran monthly aromatherapy and massage classes for couples during pregnancy. These were always very popular and frequently over booked. We also ran Baby Massage classes with a 5 week rolling programme. Again we have several midwives who are qualified CIMI's with the IAIM. As with the aromatherapy classes they were very popular and always over booked. Unfortunately these classes were stopped when the Trust ran into financial difficulties as the midwives running the classes did so outside of their contracted hours.

I believe that many in orthodox medicine are coming to realise the benefits complementary therapies can offer. However money is always going to be a problem and a difficult one to overcome. Are hospital trusts prepared to pay for these therapies if money is short or will they see them as an expendable luxury?

I feel that as therapists we most promote out therapies and the benefits they bring either by talks, demonstrations or research studies. We must also ensure we have recognised qualifications and belong to a professional body in order to gain the confidence of our orthodox colleagues. Complementary therapies have made enormous inroads into orthodox practice in recent years, lets continue to do so.
Irene Williams
Apr 28 2010 2:21PM
Janet - you are very lucky in that your particular hospital/maternity unit allows you, as midwives, to offer your complementary services. In my local hospital it definitely gets a big X - many of the midwives practice aromatherapy, reflexology, reiki..... and have their hands tied. I practice TCM and specialise in providing acupuncture for pregnancy and childbirth and have been in discussion with "interested" parties in our local hospital but basically was told it would be extremely difficult to get the services I offer into the maternity unit because of (1) funding and (b) I was told that the NHS guidelines did not and would not ever include anything like acupuncture in their services (I now know that to be not the case). I offered to give my time to conduct a pilot study and even this was turned down. I was told that I would have to conduct RTC's (even though there is plenty of research already out there) and basically jump through hoops of fire and even then might not get anywhere. I was told that money was an issue and that they are committed to saving money - I pointed out that the servies I offer would help considerably in this direction ........ still no no - might reduce a consultant surgeons hours from 60 to 40! Oops!

I actually believe it is down to whoever is on the board and whether they are arrogant, stuffed shirt dinosaurs who refuse to see outside their box or if they are more forward thinking, open minded people who are willing to allow people the choice of care and receive the benefits offered by "other" therapies.

As to "alternative" or "complementary" - I say I an neither. I am a holistic health practioner.

Finally, with regards to the benefits or not of these forums. When I first read my email I understood that this forum was for members of the general public to enter to ask questions of the professionals in order to gain a better understanding. This I think could be a helpful tool provided the therapits entering into the discussions have their feet planted firmly on the ground when giving their answers to joe public. I'm not sure that using it as a "bleeting" ground is a positive step so I will now step out of this one and wish you all well.
Kim Roberts
Apr 28 2010 9:47PM
I have to agree with both Nigel and Irene. My experience with the NHS and GPs is mixed, with some GPs being open to what we do and, indeed, attend my clinic for treatments themselves. Before becoming a therapist, I worked within the NHS and a lot of the contacts, Consultants, Doctors, Nurses, Admin Staff have become regular clients. Some local GPs are happy to recommend my clinic to patients, although I know they are not technically allowed to do so and, of course, patients have to pay for their treatments.

I have clients from Germany who can access therapies through their GP, providing their GP recommends a particular therapy. The GP gives them a prescription which they take to the therapy centre for free treatment. If the patient feels another therapy might benefit them as well and the GP isn't happy to recommend that therapy, then the patient can pay for that separately. Patients can expect to pay pay approx £40 for half-hour with therapists over there. There is a double-edged sword to this however, as if therapies were available on the NHS, then we would be inundated with clients and have as long waiting lists as the NHS itself.

I truly believe that getting therapies into the NHS needs to be 'patient-led'. If enough patients request these services, then there is more chance of being taken seriously.

As with Nigel, having worked within the NHS, I saw first-hand the power of the pharmaceutical companies and the 'sweeteners' they use to have doctors use their products. I also know how they attempt to smear complementary therapies, as they know we are a potential threat to their profits.

When looking at joining this forum, my understanding, like Irene, was that it would give Joe Public the opportunity to receive advice from QUALIFIED therapists. I think this would be a much better idea.

Kim Roberts, Body Language Complementary Health Clinic, Allestree, Derbyshire

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