Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty


How to make it as a… complementary therapist

1. Follow your intuition

My healing journey began when my youngest son Sam was having treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital after being diagnosed with leukemia, aged seven, in 1995. They told us that Sam wouldn’t respond to the treatment that would enable him to go into remission and have a bone marrow transplant, giving him three months to live.

I’d completed some spiritual healing training so we searched for alternative healers, looking for any available help. Sam was supported by the healing, it helped him tolerate the treatments that pushed him into remission and he was able to have the transplant, so we got three years with him instead of three months. When Sam passed in 1998, I listened to my intuition, which told me to help others like Sam through healing.

2. Shake off setbacks

Great Ormond Street wasn’t open to the idea of me providing healing, but I wasn’t deterred. I approached University College London Hospital and they allowed me four Fridays to prove a need for these treatments. It was successful and they agreed to employ me one day a week, funded by charity.

I did my Reiki course in 2000, and by 2003 we had five different complementary therapists in the hospital. I was appointed complementary therapy manager within cancer. I wanted to spread this model so we created the trust in Sam’s name. We offer unique training and help fund places for therapists to be employed within the NHS. Now we have projects in 15 other NHS Trusts and we intend to go onwards and upwards.

3. Get specialist training

To become an NHS healer, your training must meet National Occupational Standards, and to work outside of private practice you need CPD training specific to the area of health you want to work in, be it cancer, multiple sclerosis or mental health. Ensure your training course includes experience of working with those kinds of patients.

4. Be realistic

When people come on our courses, they often have an idealised version of what an NHS healer role may involve. In reality, it can be a grim environment where people are going through the worst time of their lives. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

You are often working by a patient’s bedside rather than in a relaxing therapy room. Work can become very clinical. For instance, we might work with a nurse to cannulate a patient as the parasympathetic response will bring the peripheral veins to the top and aid cannulation through relaxation, or you may accompany people into theatre. As an NHS team member, you have to be professional.

5. Have a secondary income

According to the NHS system called Agenda for Change, healers are on a point 4 or point 5 scale, which equates to £15 per hour. However, roles usually involve working only two to three days a week so I would advise people to have a private practice running alongside their NHS work.

These days, healers get much recognition from senior consultants and others with a multi-disciplinary NHS team. It’s a career pathway, but not one that’s going to make you big bucks. PB

This article appears in the PB December 2018 Issue of Professional Beauty

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This article appears in the PB December 2018 Issue of Professional Beauty