Massage could help reduce occupational stress for people working in emergency medical services

Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)

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Massage could be an effective therapy for reducing stress in people working in emergency medical services, according to a study published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

People working in emergency services often suffer from occupational stress, so the study sought to establish whether massage could help.

Researchers recruited 58 people working in prehospital emergency medical service stations in southwest Iran to participate in a randomised controlled trial. The participants were randomly assigned to two groups, with a control group receiving no intervention and a massage group, where participants received 20-25 minutes of Swedish massage, twice a week for four weeks.

The results showed significant differences between the two groups, indicating that Swedish massage could be an effective therapy in reducing occupational stress in staff working in emergency medical service centres.

Access the full study

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NHS England to recruit 1,000 social prescribing link workers

Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)

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An army of advisers will be recruited to help patients live fitter, healthier lives and combat anxiety, loneliness and depression under recent plans by NHS England to ramp up social prescribing.

Around half of GP appointments are not directly related to medical conditions, according to experts. Growing evidence shows that referrals to community services such as exercise or art classes, history groups and even ballroom dancing can boost health and wellbeing more than dishing out pills or other treatments.

Now NHS England plans to recruit 1,000 social prescribing ‘link workers’ as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. The link workers will be able to give people time to talk about what matters to them and support them to find suitable activities that are a better alternative to medication as part of a step change in the provision of ‘personalised care’.

FHT Conference Michael Dixon

Dr Michael Dixon, Chair of the College of Medicine, welcomed…

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Massage therapy assists in elite para-athlete recovery

Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)

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Massage therapy can improve sleep and muscle tightness to aid recovery in elite para-athletes, according to a study published in BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine (Kennedy et al, 2018).

In a mixed methods study, scientists invited nine members of Team Roger C Peace, an elite para-cycling team from South Carolina, USA, to receive one hour of massage therapy each week for four weeks, before switching to every other week until the respective athletes left the team or the two-year study ended.

Seventeen massage therapists were recruited, who on average had been practising for 14 years.

To monitor progress, the athletes agreed to complete a questionnaire before and after each massage session, with closed and open-ended questions on athlete goals, stress, sleep, muscle tightness, spasticity and pain. Additional information was collected from programme feedback and treatment notes from the massage therapists.

The results at the end of the study revealed…

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Turmeric extract could be used to help treat glaucoma

Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)


Glaucoma is a common eye condition affecting the optic nerve, where it becomes damaged because fluid builds up in the front part of eye. This increases pressure inside the eye and can lead to loss of vision if it isn’t treated early.

Eye drops containing curcumin, an extract from turmeric, could be used to treat the early stages of glaucoma, according to a new study from UCL and Imperial College London.

By delivering the eye drops containing curcumin directly to the back of the eye, the researchers discovered a reduction in the loss of retinal cells in rats. The loss of these cells is known to be an early sign of glaucoma, and researchers believe that the eye drops could in time become a treatment option for the condition.

The study’s lead author, Professor Francesca Cordeiro (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Western Eye Hospital and Imperial College London) says, ‘Curcumin is…

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Mindfulness improves sleep in fibromyalgia patients

Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)

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Researchers at the University of Derby have conducted the first-ever study focusing on exploring the effects of mindfulness for improving sleep in individuals with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic and debilitating pain condition that affects approximately three percent of adults. In addition to generalised all-over body pain and various cognitive difficulties, sleep problems are a core symptom of the condition.

Although practicing mindfulness has already shown promise in reducing the general symptoms of fibromyalgia, this is the first time its impact on sleep has been specifically studied.

Dr William Van Gordon, from the University’s Centre for Psychological Research, co-conducted the study with colleagues from Spain and Chile. The study was a randomised controlled trial involving 39 middle-aged women diagnosed with fibromyalgia, as the condition has a seven-to-one higher prevalence in women aged 20-50 years old, compared to men of the same age.

Participants were allocated either to an intervention group or a waiting list control group. The intervention involved two-hour weekly group meditation sessions over…

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