Hi everyone!

We hope the Summer months have been kind to you all!

As we enter the new academic year it seems the perfect time to update you all on some important changes at AYM UK.

As some of you may know, Despina has been working hard over the summer to develop a new AYM syllabus, and additional modes of teaching. The new syllabus will launch from October 2023, although some of our summer cohorts have opted to study the new syllabus rather than the old one already this summer! So that has already been a huge success.

The AYM practitioner training (traditionally called “Level 5” AYM qualification) is split into eight 15-hour modules. The first four modules used to be called Levels 1-4, and the second four modules used to be called parts 1-4 of Level 5 (based on the way Despina was taught). As much as we love the AYM method and are incredibly grateful for the lineage and Despina’s training, Despina has changed the teaching style to reflect western standards of teaching, and ethical principles in client care. The development of Despina’s teaching style has meant that we have not been able to guarantee that students who came having studied particular levels with other schools, could join our training even after studying the same amount of hours. So, there is no equivalence between our level and the levels of any other AYM schools at the moment. Therefore, we have decided to change the name and teaching order of the levels to modules 1-11 and give each module a respective name as well. We have found this is already a less confusing format for our students and the wider community.

In addition to teaching the traditional AYM techniques, we try to encourage our students to:

– develop their communication skills (particularly emphasizing listening skills)

– value healthy therapeutic relationships with clients (empowering clients to understand their body better and express their needs and preferences),

– be well versed and confident in their understanding of indications and contra-indications for each technique

– understand safe client lying down positions and how to amend client positions to make them safe and comfortable for each client

– understand how we identify neuropathic pain in clients, and what is indicated and contra-indicated already from the beginning of the training, and deepen this knowledge with additional CPD trainings that we offer

– develop critical thinking skills, particularly as regards to tailoring treatments to client needs, and when adapting each technique for the needs of each client

– learn when to listen to their intuition

– offer the techniques in a way that is also helpful for the therapist’s own physical and mental health

In addition, we teach a few extra techniques that help make it easier for the clients to relax into the treatment, and/or that make it safer to then offer the traditional AYM techniques.

These changes did not come about with the intention to change the training and move away from the way AYM was traditionally taught, very much the opposite. But, Despina has been observing what works well and what can be improved, by staying in touch with many of our graduates over the past 7 years. She has learned a lot from our graduates by discussing their case studies in our mentorship sessions (formal and informal), receiving treatments from them and also offering treatments and seeing what graduates observe/find useful when they receive, which was sometimes skills that were not specifically stressed during the trainings. So the trainings have been constantly improving, and materials constantly added.

This means that we have got to the point where Despina no longer thinks it’s best to try and teach a full body sequence over the first 5 days of practical training (such as in L1-2). Instead, she developed the new syllabus aiming to help develop better, more intuitive therapists from the beginning. This way students don’t need to come and repeat the training (in Level 5) to get a deeper understanding of the techniques.

So, in the new syllabus we aim to help develop deeper understanding earlier on, in two ways:
1. By including the additional content that Despina has developed over the past 7 years
2. We have included a lot more opportunities for formative feedback (practice!)

The new training also includes a formal assessment at the end.

The opportunities for constructive feedback and formal assessment are useful for us, so we can be more confident in recommending therapists to clients in the future/being able to offer a better qualification. They are also an essential component of the course, as we want to apply for our therapist association to join an umbrella association of massage therapists in the UK, and we cannot do that unless we can prove that the therapists we train can really do what we say that we train them to do.

We are also hoping that by applying for better accreditation for the trainings we can also move on to develop collaborations for academic research on AYM. And eventually, once we have research findings, to have treatments funded by health insurance companies, charities and one day by the NHS.  

We are now ready to roll this out to you, our community of therapists before we officially launch, answer any questions you may have and ensure we support you all through this transition. The first step is to establish how much you remember from your original training. Then we can offer transition training, or we can offer you to attend part of the new, year-long training, or we can deduct what you have already paid from the cost of the year-long training, and you can pay the remainder and attend the year-long training.

A bit more about your options:

  1. If you are an experienced L5/L6 therapist, have been massaging/assisting Despina and you know that your knowledge is up to date (you know who you are!), then you don’t need to do anything, we will contact you about taking the exam when we need you to, so we can give you a better accreditation.
  2. For experienced L5 therapists who are confident with practising the materials you were taught but studied a long time ago so will have missed out on the materials that we have been teaching more recently, we can offer catch-up/refresher/transition training on demand (please discuss with Despina to express your interest/figure out how much of the new training might be useful/appropriate for you).
  3. If you have practised some of the L1-4 or L5 materials a lot and are confident with some of the materials/have been practising some of what you were taught, we can recommend which parts of the new training you need to attend. You will need to discuss with Despina and see what you practise/are confident with and what you need to work on.
  4. Everyone else – we can give you discounts to attend the new, year-long training. For L4 students we may even be able to deduct what you have already paid from the cost of the year-long training. This might be the best way forwards, and we are happy to take a loss in order to support this, as we really feel it would be very beneficial for most of our students, to become the best AYM therapists that they can be! Especially if you never completed your L5 training in the first place.

In general, we recommend to all existing graduates who want to continue their AYM training/deepen their practice to get in touch with Despina, maybe try to give her a treatment so she can see where you are at. And then we can discuss the best way forwards. We are here to support you to be the best therapist that you can be! So we will do everything that we can to make sure that we make it as easy and cost effective for you as possible.

You should have received a leaflet summarising our new syllabus and outlining our new 12 month non intensive structure and training dates. Our Leeds course is already full via direct enquiries from students, new and existing (apologies!), but let us know if you would like to join and we might be able to squeeze in one more (as we have Jacqueline assisting/co-teaching the training), or we might need to add you to the waiting list.

If you would like to join our London or Glasgow trainings, please contact Roxy or Despina.

With love,