Absolutely delighted to announce that Mary Atkinson, co-founder of this Indian Head Massage Community has been awarded the title of 2020 FHT Complementary Therapist of the Year. This was given in recognition of the support she provided for thousands of people across the world throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, by sharing live Story Massage sessions online.
Excellence Awards Celebration
The Complementary Therapist of the Year award would have been presented to Mary in person at an annual conference organised by the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) – the UK’s leading professional association for complementary, holistic beauty and sports therapists. However, due to COVID-19, this year’s celebrations had to be conducted remotely, as part of a special online FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists) Excellence Awards Presentation.
Story Massage Sessions During Lockdown
In 2013, Mary co-founded the Story Massage Programme which is based on ten simple massage strokes that are used to illustrate the words of a story. As the UK entered the first lockdown in March, Mary immediately looked to find a way to continue sharing this simple form of nurturing, positive touch with as many people as possible.
She produced a free booklet of 36 new massage stories and was overwhelmed by the initial response from over 2,000 people in schools, family homes and community groups. A teacher then approached her about starting live Facebook, Instagram and You Tube sessions, and so she took to the screen on a regular basis, with her trust teddy, Emmanuel, to share different follow-along massage stories. For many, and especially those with children with profound and multiple learning difficulties, these live sessions provided a focus for the week, bringing them connection, fun and relaxation in an uncertain world.
Message from President of FHT
Christopher Byrne, President of the FHT, says: “At the FHT, we know the incredible work that our members are doing on a day-to-day basis, to help others. The FHT Excellence Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate these achievements and show the world at large what a difference therapies can make to others’ health and wellbeing, through real-life stories.
“Throughout COVID-19, I’m incredibly proud of FHT members such as Mary, winner of our Complementary Therapist of the Year 2020, who have really gone the extra mile to find new ways to ensure that those most in need can continue to feel nurtured and connected to others, at a time when physical touch has often not been possible or greatly restricted. Her work is exemplary of the wonderful and varied types of support our members have to offer in order to support others’ physical and mental wellbeing. Well done and thank you for all you have done to help those in your local community and beyond.”