With the Tennis Season in Full Swing, Bowen Therapy proves a hit!

With the tennis season in full swing, sport related injuries start to become an increasing pain. Every year people around the country are inspired to get up off the couch and get down to the tennis courts – sometimes with disastrous results! Even top sportspeople at peak fitness can be prone to injury. Defending champion Kevin Anderson had to withdraw from the New York Open because of a right elbow injury. Britain’s two-time singles champion Andy Murray will make a welcome return to Wimbledon in the doubles after missing last year’s Championships with a career-threatening hip injury. This year the Wimbledon championship runs from 1st -14th July.

Bowen is fast becoming one of the world’s top sports therapies. An increasing number of athletes and sportspeople use regular treatments to enhance their performance and reduce their risk of injury.

The benefits of Bowen for sports?

· It can provide remarkable relief from acute injuries

· It can help to prevent injuries before they happen

· Encourages optimum performance

· Can help to reduce recovery time between sessions

· Can help to prevent pre-existing injuries from reoccurring with age

Tennis elbow is caused by a strain to tendons in the forearm. The tendons become inflamed where they join the bony part on the outside of your elbow joint. Any activity that involves gripping and twisting of the forearm can cause this type of strain – in fact most cases aren’t actually related to tennis or any kind of exercise. Client feedback from Bowen for tennis elbow includes comments such as “The throbbing pain from my elbow to my hand disappeared” and “The results are amazing, the constant ache I had in my forearm has disappeared and what a relief that is.”

It can also help with performance and injuries in other sports as this testimonial demonstrates “I was asked to try Bowen Therapy by my football physio as I had been having problems with my back, groin and upper leg muscles for most of the season. I’d been to a chiropractor a few times and on my last visit she had advised there was nothing really wrong with my bone structure. I continued to play but still felt restricted in my movements, so I decided to give Bowen a try. After a couple of treatments, the problems I had been having virtually disappeared. I was able to touch my toes with the palms of my hands, something I’d not been able to do for a long while, and I seemed to be able to go the duration of a game easily where I had been struggling before. When people ask, ‘does it work?’ I find the best way to tell them about it is my scoring ratio since having Bowen. I’d only scored 5 goals in 27 games before Bowen treatment. From the time I started having treatment until the end of the season, I scored 10 in 12 and from my point of view that says it all! I also didn’t miss a game through injury.”

So as the Wimbledon championship gets underway, take a look at the Bowen Technique so you can start exercising without any aches and strains. To find a practitioner local to you or just to find out more about this gentle but highly effective technique, visit the website for more information: http://www.bowentherapy.org.uk/

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Is maintaining your garden leaving you as stiff as the scarecrow?

Today sees the start of national gardening week (30th April – 5th May). This year the RHS are calling on gardeners up and down the country to share their love of home-grown produce with this year’s theme – Edible Britain.

National Gardening Week is the nation’s biggest celebration of gardening and raises awareness of the difference that gardens and gardening can make to the lives of everyone in the UK.
Edible Britain helps to highlight that everyone has space to grow something delicious to eat, whether it’s a single pot of herbs on the windowsill or an allotment overflowing with courgettes and potatoes.

Those of you that are green-fingered will know that gardening and tending to a vegetable plot can be tough on your muscles and joints, causing strain and excess muscle tension.

Back pain is a common problem for keen gardeners and allotment-keepers.

Bowen Therapy is a natural, drug-free, non-invasive, complementary therapy that has had some marvellous results with back-pain sufferers.

A national study, carried out by The Bowen Therapy Professional Association (BTPA) in the summer of 2006, showed that 95 per cent of back pain sufferers experienced either complete relief or a marked improvement, after a series of no more than three Bowen treatments.

As it prides itself on being able to trigger the body’s own healing systems, you wouldn’t suffer any of the side effects that you may with prescribed drugs.

Rather than ‘making’ the body change, Bowen ‘asks’ the body to recognise and make the changes it requires. With primarily fingers and thumbs, the Bowen practitioner makes small, rolling movements over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue at precise points on the body, using only the amount of pressure appropriate for that individual.

No hard-tissue manipulation or force is needed or used. Between each set of moves, the body is allowed to rest for a few minutes, to allow it to absorb the information it has received and initiate the healing process.

If you suffer from back pain and want to try Bowen therapy, visit http://www.bowentherapy.org.uk to find a therapist near you.

April is IBS Awareness Month

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a highly common digestive condition that can cause many unpleasant symptoms, such as; abdominal pain, constipation, bloating and diarrhoea.

If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you are not on your own – IBS is common and yet many people remain undiagnosed and do not realise that their symptoms are IBS. Between 9 – 23% of the global population is affected by IBS and it is more common in females accounting for 2 out of 3 cases.

Whilst IBS is largely unpleasant, the cause of the condition is predominately unknown and even the healthiest of people can suffer from it. Celebrities that have spoken out about their struggles with IBS include Tyra Banks, Jenny McCarthy and Kirsten Dunst.
IBS symptoms are not predictable and vary from day to day. If IBS is not managed, it can interfere with a person’s life and affect them physically and emotionally.
It is thought that IBS may be caused by a disruption in the interaction between brain, nervous system and the gut, and it is believed to be brought on by stress. We do know that stress can make the symptoms worse or be a trigger. Due to the lack of knowledge of this condition, many people have to suffer as treatments are not guaranteed to be effective.
Bowen Therapy can help to aid IBS alongside other digestive conditions. The Bowen Technique is a drug-free, non-invasive therapy applied primarily by small, rolling movements over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissues. These movements are applied at precise points on the body, using only the amount of pressure appropriate for the specific individual.

There is no force or hard-tissue manipulation needed, and between each set of moves the body is allowed to rest for a few moments. This is done so the body can trigger it’s own healing systems; instead of making the body change, Bowen ‘asks’ the body to recognise what’s wrong and begin to make the changes it requires.

Here are what some Bowen clients say about Bowen and IBS:

“I was very dispirited after nearly 12 months of conventional treatment – painkillers, fibre drinks etc. All of which were pretty ineffective; including diet control. Bowen treatment has given me back control of my life. I can plan ahead and know if I have a relapse there is treatment that will work for me. With IBS there is a treatment that will work for you to treat the cause and not just the symptoms.“
“I initially saw a Bowen therapist when my doctor said I had IBS and it couldn’t be treated. After 3 sessions I had no symptoms and IBS has never returned. That was 11 years ago and I visit my Bowen therapist whenever I have symptoms that need treating. Bowen work goes beyond the treatment that any doctor can give me.”
“After suffering irritable bowel symptoms for some time, I had 4 sessions of Bowen Therapy. Even after the first session, I felt much more relaxed and my energy level increased. I have had some improvement in my IBS although it comes and goes.. I intend to continue with top-up treatments at intervals as I feel Bowen has really helped me.”
“Bowen is a truly amazing treatment, I cannot praise it enough! It cured me of an illness that hospital consultants only scratched their heads at. I still use Bowen to keep me in check. Love it.”

If you suffer from a digestive condition and want to know how Bowen Therapy can help you, then please visit http://www.bowentherapy.org.uk to find a Bowen therapist near you.

Surgery – placebo or justified?

Researchers in Oxford are hoping to find out if a commonly-performed operation used to treat shoulder pain actually works – or whether its success can be attributed to the placebo effect.

The use of a surgical technique called arthroscopic sub-acromial decompression has increased by more than 700 per cent in the past ten years but there is no hard evidence to show how effective it is. There is a growing concern that the vast increase in the frequency of the operation being performed needs to be justified.

Now a team at Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre are comparing the effectiveness of the operation with a placebo operation as there are a number of conflicting views about the effectiveness of surgery for shoulder pain.

While some reports show that arthroscopic or keyhole surgery is no more effective than physiotherapy to relieve pain, others show that it can be helpful and provide a useful treatment option. Other results suggest that removing a piece of bony spur from the shoulder – a procedure known as decompression – during surgery may be unnecessary, and that actual process of undergoing investigative arthroscopy can in itself produce benefit.

“The fact that a period of no treatment can also be beneficial for patients completes a rather confused picture,” added Ms Cooper. “It’s quite clear that we need to perform some definitive studies to show what really helps people with this type of shoulder pain. Pressures in the NHS are such that surgeons are being encouraged to prove the benefits of their practice, so that’s what we hope to do in this study.”

Surgery should be the last choice for sufferers of shoulder pain with many effective treatments available. A study into the effect of Bowen Therapy on shoulder or neck pain was conducted in the summer of 2008. 271 clients new to Bowen were treated and of these 86% showed a full or partial recovery after only 3 treatments. For more information on the study, click here. The Bowen Technique helps the body remember how to heal itself. The gentle yet powerful Bowen moves send neurological impulses to the brain resulting in immediate responses of muscle relaxation and pain reduction. The moves create energy surges. Electrical impulses sent to the nervous system remind the body to regain normal movement in joints, muscles and tendons. This helps relieve muscle spasms and increase blood and lymph flow.

PW reported “Very quickly I regained more movement in the shoulder and the level of pain reduced quite a lot” after Bowen treatment for a frozen shoulder. LF also had Bowen treatments for a frozen shoulder and said “Through the gentleness of Bowen Therapy my shoulder has gradually regained its mobility and the pain associated with a frozen shoulder has almost disappeared. This didn’t happen overnight, but over the course of 9 treatments. The result is that I no longer need surgery – patience and perseverance paid off! “. For more testimonials on how Bowen has helped people with shoulder pain and more, click here.

A sad but cautionary tale.

Recently a report in the Daily Mail caught my attention. The account was about the death of a gentleman who had attended a clinic for treatment for backache. The gentleman, in his 80th year was reported to have been generally fit and active.

‘He lost consciousness and appeared to be paralysed from the waist down during treatment.’  

His wife was in the clinic with her husband and witnessed the incident.  Despite every effort to save the gentleman’s life, he died at the local hospital the next day as the result of ‘a traumatic spinal cord injury.’  The police have launched a criminal investigation to establish whether criminal negligence was a factor in his death. The investigation is ongoing. The practitioner was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and has been released under investigation whilst enquiries continue.

I have to emphasise here that the practitioner was not a Bowen Therapist.

Regardless of this fact, lives have been irrevocably changed. The detail provided in the report is superficial and conclusions should not be prematurely reached without full knowledge of the facts.  A responsibility I would not wish to have.

A sobering thought for myself was ‘what if?’ What if that had happened to me? What would I do? What did I not do? From a professional standpoint, I would be asking about skill maintenance and individual support. In addition, I am now thinking about what support I would get from my professional organisation if it had been me involved. Thankfully I am part of a professional organisation, the BTPA, that does provide support and, I believe, would support colleagues in extremis.

As this very sad story conveys, we do not know what the future holds. Be mindful of your knowledge and expertise. A sobering reminder to approach your clinical practice with ‘fresh eyes’.

Linda Birnie MSc, Cert ECBS, MCNHC, MBTPA

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

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