FHT Complementary Therapist of the Year – Mary Atkinson

Absolutely delighted to announce that I have been awarded the title of 2020 FHT Complementary Therapist of the Year. This was given in recognition of the support I 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 me 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, I co-founded the 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, I immediately looked to find a way to continue sharing this simple form of nurturing, positive touch with as many people as possible.

I 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 me about starting live Facebook, Instagram and You Tube sessions, and so I took to the screen on a regular basis, with my 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.”

The Story Massage Programme

The Story Massage Programme combines the benefits of positive touch with the creativity of storytelling. Ten massage strokes form the basis of the programme. These strokes have a simple name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol making it fully accessible for all ages and abilities.


FHT Accredited Story Massage Course

If you would like to use the programme at home or work you will love our flexible FHT Accredited online course. All the information is here: Online Training Course.

You will learn how to share the ten Story Massage strokes, adapt familiar stories and even create some sensory stories of your own. Ideal for therapists, teacher, parents and those working with children with additional needs. Everyone can benefit! For more information please email mary@storymassage.co.uk or info@maryatkinson.com


This entry was posted in Events, Holistic Therapies, Latest news, Story Massage for Children and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.