Let us talk ‘Balance’: what do we mean?

Let us talk ‘Balance’: what do we mean?

A client recently sent me this photograph of her brand new flip flops after she had worn them for just 5 hours following a trip over a kerbstone. It told a story which I thought I would share with you here.

Being ‘out of balance’ sounds ‘airy fairy’ but is it really?  I see clients every day and think ‘gosh you are out of balance’. Those who do sport tend to know EXACTLY what I mean – they feel it. What am I looking for? Is it a ‘feeling’ that I as the practitioner has that something is not right?

Well yes, partly, but mainly it is a visible asymmetry and a palpable difference in tensions as the body is worked on. One  shoulder higher than the other; a shoulder further forward than the other; a foot turned more in than it ought to be; a spine more bent over; a section of spine which does not bend when the person  leans forwards to undo their shoes; a lean in the upper body to one side or the other; or a tendency to always have one leg bent when standing or to put that leg out to the side; a pelvis more thrust forwards so that the upper body leans back to try and maintain a centre of gravity. In many cases a combination of all these factors and more.

Does this matter? I hear you ask and, as a holistic health practitioner, I would say yes it does very much matter. Ignore such ‘imbalance’ at your peril as they will often accumulate as each instils compensatory tensions such that they layer up over the years and decades.

A hunched forward body will compromise bodily functions via a range of routes – potentially impinging nerves, compressing organs as a result of the abdominal cavity being reduced in size, restricted breathing due to the lung size being reduced within the overall smaller space, walking made more difficult as the body tries to maintain a centre of gravity, a greater risk of falls, and much much more.

As the diaphragm muscle draws itself down the lungs suck in air to fill the vacuum created and the organs in the abdominal cavity are compressed momentarily as the thoracic cavity expands to hold the air, the pelvic area expands slightly and the sacrum and coccyx (our ‘tail’ or balance point) tilt (watch this YouTube Video).

As the diaphragm reverts to its resting dome, expelling the air from the lungs in the process the wave moves up the spine to expand momentarily the sutures between the bones of the skull (watch this YouTube Video for full explanation) giving the brain a slight compression as the organs are released from their compression.

This cranio sacral rhythm supports the effective functioning of the body by repeatedly and alternately massaging the brain and then the organs. To be fully effective all vertebrae should be independently mobile and any soft tissue tensions which are holding vertebrae out of alignment could lead to one or more nerves being compressed or trapped leading to pain and/or malfunction of related organ(s). A diaphragm muscle in spasm or impaired will serious impact whole body function.

In similar fashion if a shoulder is being held forward even at rest then it is quite probable that the soft tissue tensions that are holding it will in due course lead to functional issues such as entrapment of nerve fibres or restricted range of movement. The very presence of an imbalance of this type in the upper body will cause compensation elsewhere to try to retain centre of gravity.

A so-called ‘longer’ leg will tend to be bent or put out to the side to enable the eyes to be brought level with one another as the brain functions better this way. As the body will tend to lean to the ‘shorter’ leg side, that leg will start to support greater and greater percentages of the body’s weight. In this way, persistently standing on the ‘shorter’ leg will compress the ankle, knee and potentially challenge the (femur head) hip as its supporting gluteal and related muscles struggle to hold it in its shallow ‘cup’., all on that one side. This is likely to result in yet greater ‘shortening and ever increasing ‘lean’.

Balance matters. We should all try to avoid crossing our legs or ankles as these create torsions in the body (most particularly the pelvis) which then have to be compensated for in other parts of the body. Try to stand 50:50 on each of your two feet – with that measured both from side to side and from front to back of your foot.

If tensions are holding you out of balance consider Bowen as a means of restoring tissue tensions to their correct function and thus avoid the need for artificial supports to prop up your feet and body.Kathryn

Kathryn Phillips BSc(hons) BTPA cert ECBS PRM MAR IIR regd TATh

BTPA Regional Interest Group (RIG) Coordinator

 

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Personal reflections of a BTPA Chair

Personal reflections of a BTPA Chair

Walk the Talk – the BTPA Way

Encouraged to join the BTPA as a student member in 2006 by my BowBTPA Chairen teacher (Alastair Rattray) and taking up full membership the following year, little did I think that I would end up enjoying the privilege of being its Chair!  But as the sayings go, “Stranger things have happened” and “Someone’s gotta do it ….”.

I am delighted to say that I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of my involvement; the BTPA Committee is a wonderful bunch of proactive capable people to work with, with a real sense of purpose, dedication and fun, the combination of which makes for an extremely productive team.  Opportunities to meet members are greatly valued too – our recent AGM and CPD event inspiring me all over again – the atmosphere so welcoming, open hearted and supportive.  My sincere thanks to all who attended and our wonderful speakers (Ron Phelan, GP Visser and Jo Wortley); everyone’s involvement ensuring the day was a particularly special one for all.

Mind you, I haven’t always been this enthusiastic …. Indeed, I suspect like a number of others reading this, I remember moments early in my practitioner journey when I seriously questioned why should I bother …. Questioning, “what was in it for me?”  As a “newbie”, helping to gain clients from my membership was my sole objective and this seemed likely just pie in the sky. As a real greenhorn to the complementary therapy world, I quickly learnt there is so much more to be gained by holding Bowen professional association membership, with BTPA membership being just the ticket for me.

Initially drawn on board to assist BTPA Working with the Vulnerable guidance preparation; a topic very close to my heart at that time being a former volunteer and trustee with my local children’s charity HomeStart Watford and Three Rivers, I was encouraged to share other skills I had to further develop the Member’s Business Support information, arming our portfolio with health and safety information, risk assessment and testimonial tools.

As you can imagine, whilst obviously flattered, I was somewhat daunted when asked to take on the Chair mantle by my committee colleagues in 2014. However, remembering parental childhood advice and encouragement that has always stood me in good stead, that “if you want to make a difference then you need to step up and be counted”, I took the plunge!

Mindful of the increasing public awareness and interest shown in the work of the BTPA and its members, most evident in social media conversations, I take considerable pride in leading the BTPA to deliver its Mission and Values.

BTPA Mission: The Bowen Therapy Professional Association (BTPA) is an unincorporated not for profit independent Association run by Bowen therapists for Bowen Therapists.  Its purpose is to grow awareness and raise the profile of Bowen Therapy amongst other health professionals and the general public.  The BTPA is dedicated to the promotion of Tom Bowen’s work and techniques in conjunction with other worldwide Bowen Therapy Associations, and to continually improve the practice of these techniques by working with Bowen training establishments to ensure courses offered meet set guidelines, and to set standards for best practice for therapists.

BTPA Values: All that we do is underpinned by professional and ethical integrity, and quality of service.  To that end:

  • We strive to be impartial, authorative, trustworthy and transparent;
  • We promote diversity, equality, inclusion and respect for others across the Bowen community;
  • We seek opportunities to work collaboratively and aim to be recognised as a valued partner;
  • We actively champion the highest standards in Bowen practice

With a host of membership benefits as listed below, now so evident to me, my earlier ambivalence seems embarrassing to say the least.   So, if like me, you have reservations about joining a professional association, then my advice would be to seriously think again …. You might just be in for a surprise – I know I have been, and a very pleasant one at that.

BTPA Membership Benefits:

BTPA MembershipBenefitsAn independent not-for profit organisation, run by Bowen therapists for Bowen therapists

  • Support just a phone call or email away
  • Quarterly hardcopy journal and regular e-comms
  • Business support; information, advice and free downloads
  • Merchandise including brochures, posters, pop up banners, clinic wear
  • Marketing advice and testimonial tools
  • Public Liability insurance discount
  • Regional Interest Groups and Children’s Clinics
  • Courses, workshops and CPD training, and networking events
  • CNHC membership eligibility

Jackie Knott PhD DIC

Chair Bowen Therapy Professional Association

www.bowentherapy.org.uk

Bach Flower remedies: How they can support and enhance Bowen therapy

Bach Flower remedies: How they can support and enhance Bowen therapy

by Jacky Stevens BSc (hons) Cert ECBS MBTPA BFRP

Jacky Stevens

As a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner I see on a daily basis the marvels of using these simple remedies for health, especially when using them alongside Bowen therapy. The impact of our emotions on our general state of health cannot be underestimated and this wonderful healing system based on the essences of natural flowers and trees is a gift to us all that constantly fascinates me.

Dr Edward Bach was a  qualified bacteriologist and pathologist undertaking original research into vaccines and working in private practice in Harley Street. After working on wards receiving soldiers returning injured from France in 1917, he suffered a bout of severe illness himself from which the prognosis was very poor. He became convinced he need to advance his work as far as he could in the time he had left and after his own experience realised he had a sense of purpose about his own life and that he aspired to a more holistic approach to medicine. He took up a post offered to him at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. He adapted the vaccines he had been working on to produce a series of seven homeopathic nosodes. Although this discovery brought him some notoriety in homeopathic circles, he wanted to find remedies that would be purer and less reliant on the products of disease and to this end began collecting plants, particularly flowers. By 1930, he became so enthused by the direction this work was taking him that he gave up his Harley Street practice and was to devote the rest of his life to developing a new system of medicine that he was sure was to be found in nature. Following his own intuition as a natural healer, over many years of trial and error and after much personal suffering and sacrifice, he completed his life’s work in 1934. He passed away at only 50 years old in 1936, leaving a legacy of a simple system of natural medicine now used all over the world.

Dr Bach understood that the true cause of illness and disease in human beings lies in the personality, in the mental and emotional way that we see ourselves and how we interact with the world around us. The Bach Flower Remedies work on an emotional level, helping to balance negative emotions, empowering us to find the inner strength to get through difficult times and to stay positive. In practising the Bach system of healing we don’t label people with an illness; we are not treating any specific disease, we are treating the patient as a whole.

“It is the patient to be treated and not the disease”
Dr Edward Bach

This holistic approach is also true when practicing Bowen therapy, it is not the disease that is as important to the Bowen practitioner, it is the person as a whole. The Bach remedies are similar to Bowen in that they are a way of helping body and mind to heal itself, a way of getting back balance naturally. Bowen therapy with a personal mix of Bach remedy to suit the individual coming for therapy can be a very effective approach as the two healing therapies work very well together.

Rosa canina, Wild Rose.

Rosa canina, Wild Rose. One of the Bach remedies

Dr Bach’s 38 Bach Flower Remedies provide us with a lovely, simple and easy to use set of tools to help with the healing process. A Bach flower registered practitioner can help any individual explore how they are feeling to find a combination of remedies to help the healing process, but Dr Bach designed the system to be simple so that with minimal guidance anybody can learn to use it for themselves.

If you’d like to find out more, just contact Jacky via email, jacky@wellbeans.co.uk, or via her website www.wellbeans.co.uk

 

 

How Bowen Can Help Different Professions

It’s very common that a visit to a Bowen therapist is due to a problem caused by work.
Whether it’s physical pain from a manual handling role or a mental drain from a high-stress position – Bowen is ready to help relieve ailments caused.

Keep Breathing!

yoga-1284657_1920For many people their first introduction to yoga is through the desire to become fitter and healthier.  This is a great place to start and indeed regular practice will help you be both.

After some time however one will find there is more to yoga than simply ‘special’ exercises.  Yoga teachers are inclined to talk about the breath a lot – ‘keep breathing’ is a phrase I often employ.

When we are stressed we often ‘hold on’ to our breath as though by ‘breathing’ we might lose control and be out of control!  That’s a scary place and so if the breath is something we can control then hey – let’s hang on to it.  Yoga is a way of freeing up our nervous systems.

Change is constant both mentally and physically – it is a perpetual process and by noticing our habits we can learn to adapt and change in a positive way.  The alternative is become stuck and stiff in mind and body.

I have learnt over many years that the movements or Asana of yoga are about honouring our normal patterns of movement.  Sometimes we have unconscious patterns that are not serving us well – yoga helps to bring our awareness and attention to these habits and to begin to develop more helpful patterns.

Yoga is firstly about Effort, effort to go to a class, get on your mat, do your practice, maintain awareness and attention throughout practice and in the day; secondly it is about the release of tension: our habitual ‘tension’ seem so ‘normal’, but by being aware and attentive we can let them go, overtime replacing them with more supportive patterns.  This is where we can start to ‘find’ the breath, let the breath go and it will flow back in and then out again of its own accord and without any tension.

The biggest lesson that yoga can teach us is to be ‘non-judgemental’ of ourselves.  See what arises and let it go – accept change and keep breathing!

By Mary Mackie – British Wheel of Yoga teacher and teacher trainer; Yoga therapist qualified with the Yoga Biomedical Trust; retired RGN specialising in Palliative care.

Palliative Care: The Role of the Bowen Therapist

helen-blue-180by Helen Mary Perkins BAUK, BTAA, Bowtech instructor

As Bowen therapists, I’m sure we are all in tune with the concept of a natural approach to health and wellness. Very often, an holistic approach through complementary therapy can secure impressive improvements to a variety of ailments.

There is growing awareness, also, of the benefits of complementary therapy for those living with a life-limiting condition, such as cancer, neurological or auto-immune diseases.

In my experience, having worked in a hospice environment for many years, the role of Bowen in palliative care can have a noticeable impact not only on the patient but for carers and relatives struggling with tiredness and worry.

When it comes to supporting or supplementing conventional medical treatment, Bowen can have a positive effect on physical, psychological and emotional stress, which in turn helps to balance spiritual, emotional and mental health… that sometimes intangible, sense of ‘wellness’ that improves quality of life for the patient and those around them.

The gentle Bowen therapy has been shown to ease many of the symptoms and side effects such as breathlessness, headaches, muscular aches and pains, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and constipation.

Specialist training is required to ensure therapists feel confident in these sensitive circumstances where protocols and procedures are even more important that in normal clinical practice. As team leader for a group of volunteer complementary therapists (Bowen and others) at the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough I have seen the positive effects and the satisfaction that comes from working with dedicated staff to ensure patients and those who care for them have the best possible experience.

It is a hugely rewarding role for any Bowen therapist with a high degree of empathy and a desire to make a small difference to a person’s wellbeing. One of my stroke patients confined to a wheelchair can now stand with a frame and has remarked that he can feel sensations in his not-so-good leg since having Bowen.

The role will not suit everyone as the nature of palliative care, be it in a hospice or at home, means some patients may only live a few years, or even weeks. In-house or CPD training will give you the insight and understanding to help you decide if this worthwhile role is one you might like to explore further.

If you have any questions, please drop me a note via email at info@helenperkins.com   or visit my website www.helenperkins.com


To find a Bowen Therapist in your area visit www.bowentherapy.org.uk or email ask@bowentherapy.or.uk

QUESTIONS ABOUT INSURANCE?

I don’t know if you have noticed, but quite often there are insurance related questions popping up on various Bowen Facebook Groups.  Insurance issues can be concerning, and I know I had a few doubts in my own mind, so I decided to have a face to face discussion with one of the leading UK based insurance companies for therapists, Holistic Insurance Services, to ask their expert advice.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Alison Livings, founder of Holistic Insurance Services and here are the questions I posed to her and her answers, which we hope will be of assistance to Bowen Therapists.

Important:

The first, and most important point that Alison made was this:  Not all insurance policies are the same, so the advice and answers below relate only to therapists who are insured with Holistic Insurance Services in the United Kingdom.  It is strongly recommended that you contact your own insurers to check on specific questions you may have regarding your own policy.

About Travelling:

Q:           Sometimes I carry my equipment in my car.  This might be my couch and my laptop.  Is my equipment covered by my car insurance or by my Holistic Insurance Services policy?

A:            Most car insurers do not cover business equipment.  You should check this out with your car insurer.  If you find you are not covered by your car insurer we would advise that you take out a Business Equipment Extension with us.   Always make sure that your equipment is out of sight in the boot whenever possible, and that the car is locked when unattended.  Overnight, if it is not possible to remove the equipment from the vehicle then it must be a locked boot or compartment.

Q:           I know this is more to do with car insurance, but would you recommend that a therapist insures their car for business use?

A:            Anyone whose job demands they drive their own car for the purposes of their work will need to pay for business car insurance. This is different to a standard policy, which only provides cover for social use and commuting.  Don’t be tempted to run the risk of sticking with standard cover. This could lead to your policy being invalidated.

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About working in someone’s home:

Q:           Here is an imaginary scenario.  I am a mobile Bowen therapist, and I went to a client’s home and unfortunately, I accidentally knocked over their valuable crystal glass vase whilst putting my couch up.  They want to claim costs from me.  Would you cover the cost of the damage?

A:            Yes. That would come under Public liability insurance – this is damage to third party property.

About working in your own home:

Q:           I have a lot of questions about working from home!  Does my insurance cover me to practice from home or only from the clinic that I work in?

A:            You are covered to practice both in clinic and at home provided that your home premises are suitable and that your household insurers are aware.  While we are on this subject, you need to make sure that your mortgage provider is happy about you working from home, and if you are renting, check out the details on your lease as many do not allow you to work at home.

 Q:           So, say I have a clinic at home, and my client brings along their child who is going to wait while their parent has their treatment, and the child falls over and hurts themselves.  Am I covered if they claim for damages for the child’s injuries?

A:            I would not recommend that a therapist allows this situation to happen in the first place.  If the client is on the treatment couch then they cannot be supervising their child, and it is not possible or appropriate for you to be supervising the child.  If it is unavoidable that a child needs to accompany the parent then it does need to be made clear that the child is their responsibility at all times before the treatment commences.   If you were held to be legally responsible for the injury then we would need to look at this under the terms and conditions of the policy.

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Q:           My third question on this theme is, a client brings along a friend or partner because they can’t drive themselves.  The companion is sitting waiting for the client, and trips and falls over the step on the way out.  They put in a claim for damages.  Am I covered?

A:            Provided the companion was there specifically for the purpose of your client having their treatment – this might be that they do not think that they will be up to driving after the treatment or would otherwise find the premises inaccessible. You could be deemed to be legally responsible and therefore the policy would respond.

Q:           Finally, my client’s companion accidentally knocks over MY valuable crystal vase – am I covered?

A:            No, your belongings would need to be claimed for under your house insurance.  This is a very important point – always ensure that your household insurers are aware that you are working from home.  If you do not inform them it could potentially void any future claim.

About cover for CPD:

Q:           A question that has cropped up is this.  Bowen Therapists send off a copy of their certificate to you when they first qualify and are insured for that.  What about CPD courses – do you cover those too?  For instance, my original certificate was for Bowen Technique but then I did a CPD course on Fascia Bowen.  Do you cover me for that too?

A:            This depends on individual circumstances, but generally the answer is yes.  What you need to do is send in a copy of certificates for additional courses that you do.  These are considered as add ons, normally at no extra charge.

About Online Training:

Q:           What is your opinion of online training?

A:            If you carry out online training as an addition or revision of a modality you have already qualified in, then generally it is fine and we would accept it as CPD.  There is no substitute for hands on training and we would not accept an online course on its own.

About Equipment

Q:           I have heard horror stories of therapy couches collapsing under the weight of clients.  Would I be covered if this happened?  I would feel embarrassed about asking them how much they weigh. 

A:            You need to be aware of the weight limit of your couch.  There is cover if the couch breaks but not if the client is above the weight limit for the couch.  Also, there would be no recourse to the manufacturer of the couch if the client was over the weight limit for the couch.  This is a difficult one, but if you are unsure you would have to ask their weight for their own safety and wellbeing.

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About Cloud Based Practice Management Software

Q:           I personally hate keeping paper based notes.  I have colleagues with heaving, over-stuffed, filing cabinets full of paper, and that is not for me.  I use cloud based practice management software.  I am aware that one must be very careful choosing practice management software, but that is the subject for another blog.  Here is my question.  What is your advice from an insurance point of view with regard to using an online system? 

A:            Firstly, be aware that you must be registered with the ICO if holding any electronic data on your clients.  Secondly, the question I would ask you is, does the client give their signed and informed consent to treatment when using the online system?

Me:        No, the client does not sign anything, but I do ask them if they consent to receiving treatment and ensure that I tick a box to confirm that they have given consent.

Alison:  Ideally, we recommend that the client manually signs a paper document to confirm that they have given their informed consent to the treatment, and the sheet should point out any effects that they might possibly experience after a treatment.  For instance, if they might feel achy the next day, or might experience a headache, and need to avoid heat or cold, then you would list things like that, and they would sign to say that this has been explained to them and that they give consent.  Signed and informed consent is vital.

Me:        So, if I was to get my clients to sign a document as explained above, and then scan it and keep it on the practice management software would that suffice?

Alison:  Yes, that would be suitable.

About Selling Products

Q:           Bowen Therapists are taught about the beneficial use of Epsom salts for clients, and some other products which may aid certain clients. Where do therapists stand if they sell these products? 

A:            If you are selling these products to your clients, then it is part of the treatment. They need to be products that you have been taught about using and recommending as part of your training.  However, you must always ensure that you point out verbally and in writing that these products are not a substitute for medical advice, and that advice should be sought from a suitably qualified medical practitioner.

Q:           On the same subject, what if I wanted to sell the same products to the public via an online shop or on Ebay or Amazon?

A:            You would be covered up to £15k turnover.  Again, ensure that you point out that this is not a substitute for medical advice.

About Giving Advice and Recommendations

Q:           Many therapists gain a lot of knowledge about such things as supplements and exercises that they might want to recommend or suggest to clients.  As an example, perhaps a client suffers from night cramps and I feel that they would benefit from a magnesium supplement.  Can I recommend this?

A:            What you can do is give general healthy eating advice and advice about general wellbeing.  What you cannot do is give advice about specific supplements unless you have the necessary qualification, such as being a qualified nutritionist.  However, you could suggest that there is some evidence that magnesium might help with night cramps, and that it might be something they would like to further investigate by asking their GP or a suitably qualified practitioner.  Under no circumstances can you prescribe or diagnose.  If a client is on prescribed medication, then you would not know if a supplement you recommended might interact with that medication; therefore, anyone who is on prescribed medication should always be signposted to their GP first.  On that subject, it is important that therapists know the red flags as to when to refer to their GP.

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About Leaving the Room

Q:           As you know, Bowen Therapists are taught to leave the room for a couple of minutes after a set of moves.  Many therapists do this, some do not.   The question arises, what if a therapist went out and the client suffered an epileptic fit or a cardiac arrest? What if they fell off the table? 

A:            During the initial assessment, you would have discovered whether they have a history of these issues.   Insurance is there to protect you.   If something like this happened it would be an unforeseen incident.   It is recognised that Bowen therapists do leave the room.  You would be covered.   Just to mention at this point, in the case of children under the age of 16, a parent or guardian must always be with the child, and you must never be left alone with the child.

About Giving Taster Sessions

Q:           Sometimes therapists attend Health Fairs or events where Bowen therapists go with a chair or couch and give little taster sessions to people on an ad hoc basis.  Can you give us any advice or guidance about this situation?

A:            It is important that everyone who has a taster session signs a consent form with a disclaimer.  Bowen is generally not meant to be mixed with any other therapy, and it is possible that the people having a taster with you will be doing a circuit having all sorts of other tasters.  This could make them feel unwell, or even release unexpected emotions.  This needs to be pointed out on the disclaimer. The form needs to also ask them if they have any medical reasons which might mean they cannot have Bowen.


Thank you Alison:

We are very grateful to Alison from Holistic Insurance Services for her time and answering all my many and varied questions.  I am sure that the therapists reading this blog will find this guidance very helpful and I am sure it will clear up some concerns that therapists might have had.

Bowen Therapists – Did I miss any questions?  If you have any burning questions or concerns after reading this blog, please do get in touch with us at ask@bowentherapy.org.uk and we will do the best to find the answers.

About BTPA:

Did you know there is a great deal of fantastic information and resources for therapists on the BTPA website?  BTPA is an independent organisation of Bowen Therapists run by Bowen Therapists.  We aim to keep you informed.  If you are not currently a member of BTPA then you can find out about the benefits here.

About Holistic Insurance Services:

They have been involved with insuring Complementary Therapists in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland since 1999. Holistic Insurance Services was formed in 2002 to specialise in this field. Over 20,000 therapists from a variety of Associations and disciplines are insured. They pride themselves on their personal service and aim to offer as wide a list of therapies as possible. To contact Holistic Insurance Services directly then you can telephone them on  0345 222 2236 or 01327 354249 or email them on info@holisticinsurance.co.uk

Sue Jaycock

BTPA Social Media Co-ordinator