Free CPD Ideas for Therapists

Concerned about getting sufficient CPD points to meet the requirements of your professional body? Well, Mary Atkinson, award-winning therapist and tutor, offers ten simple ways of achieving your Continuing Professional Development without putting pressure on your bank balance.  Your professional body will provide you with full details of the policy for CPD for holistic therapists. Many will also have templates to help you record your CPD activities.

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1. Read and reflect on a book or an article in a journal, related to your work as a therapist

There are many holistic therapy magazines around now. Your professional body will also publish one that has information and updates on research, best practice and developments in therapies. Simply read an interesting article and then record your thoughts and reflections on what you have learnt from the information. Just make sure that your work is least 300 words. Members of the FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists) will find a helpful guide to reflecting on articles in every issue of the International Therapist.

You can also record your views and thoughts on particular therapy related books. As an author of several books (including Once Upon a Touch… Story Massage for ChildrenHealing Touch for Children and The Art of Indian Head Massage), it is always helpful to receive reviews from readers.

2. Offer your services at a Local Support Group meeting

Although there is usually a charge for attending branch meetings (your professional body will have a list of local support groups), if you offer to act as co-ordinator then you won’t need to pay. Similarly, many groups will welcome your time on the entrance desk or serving refreshments and will allow you to attend for free.


3. Swap therapy sessions with a colleague

This is always popular – and a wonderful way of caring for ourselves too! Team up with a colleague and swap therapy sessions then write down your thoughts and reflections afterwards. Make sure you write at least 300 words as this will prove that you are using the time as part of your professional development.

4. Work as a volunteer

Many organisations are recruiting volunteer therapists to offer sessions for clients and patients. These include working with people with learning disabilities, palliative care patients, homeless people, drug and alcohol abuse…  Or you may like to offer taster sessions at a pamper evening or event to raise money for charity. You’ll find plenty of inspiration and support from reading articles in magazines published by your professional body. Just make sure that you record your hours and reflect on things that you have learnt and experienced.

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5. Write or publish an article about your therapy, or about holistic therapies in general

These days there are opportunities for publishing your work, whether it is in a local newspaper, national magazine or on-line. And even if it doesn’t get published then keep a copy for your records. Why not set up a regular blog on your website? Or contribute to someone else’s blog.


6. Write and reflect on a case study

We’ve all completed case studies as part of our therapy qualifications. And they are included in courses as a way of structuring therapy sessions, recognising improvements in our clients and reflecting on best practice for future sessions. Case studies are an integral part of my three day Indian Head Massage Diploma – and I look forward to reading them to see how students have gained new insights and information. I always learn a lot from reading case studies both published, and unpublished, too.  So go back to your student days and write some more case studies with a minimum of 300 words. You will find it a useful part of your continuing professional development.


7. Create a business plan

A business plan is an integral part of your success as a therapist – yet it is so often overlooked. You’ll find downloadable business plans on the internet, or ask your bank for some advice on writing a business plan which sets out your business goals for the future, and your plans for reaching them. Once written, then you can review your document as your business develops. Be sure to keep a record in your CPD portfolio. You’ll find some free tips for keeping your business healthy from Ali’s Therapy Academy.

8. Develop a marketing plan

For a self-employed therapist, qualifying in a therapy is often the easy part! The next step is gaining and retaining a client base – which can take time and effort. But it’s CPD too! So keep a record of everything you have done to design your flyers, develop your website and promote your business.


 9. Give a Talk for a Local Group

Giving talks and presentations for local groups such as Women’s Institutes or Rotary Clubs can be an excellent way of generating new business – and if you reflect upon it afterwards then you will have CPD points too. Keep your talk lively and interesting, maybe with some photographs, anecdotes and simple and safe self-help ideas. Be sure to take along your diary and business cards.


10. Listening/watching radio, TV, YouTube

Here’s a great way of earning CPD points in the comfort of your own home. There are many valuable sources of information for therapists and you are probably watching and listening to topical and relevant therapy programmes and videos anyway. So reflect on what you have learnt. Spend some time recording and writing down your thoughts, with a minimum of 300 words, and then place it in your CPD portfolio. You can find my YouTube channel here: Mary Atkinson Holistic Therapy Courses


FHT Complementary Therapist of the Year 2020

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.”


Choosing an IHM Qualification

Here is some guidance on what to look for when choosing an Indian Head Massage qualification. We cannot recommend or endorse any specific course – the choice is yours and will depend on many factors. However, we hope that these pointers will help empower you to make the best choices for yourself and your future clients.

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Choosing a CPD Course

Confused by CPD? Here are some helpful guidelines written by Amy Taylor, owner of Purple Turtle Training Academy in Brighton.

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Authentic Indian Head Massage with Oils

Head massage with oils is an integral part of Indian culture. “It is a must in any Indian family,” says Christy Mathew, a mother from India. In this blog, Christy shares her experiences of using head massage in the family home through the generations. And the benefits are not only physical but emotional and social too – helping to strengthen family bonds and improve focus and concentration.

Continue reading “Authentic Indian Head Massage with Oils”