Look out – a therapist is about

Untrained therapists blight CAM  > Anyone can practice complementary therapies under UK common law without restriction, other than compliance with a number of general legal provisions. So, why bother taking a proper course requiring both time and money, ultimately necessitates an exam and ongoing supervision?

Far easier in this age of instant gratification to sign up for an on-line course and you will have a qualification within weeks.

Even beauty schools are diversifying, offering three days courses in massage and reflexology, despite offering no anatomy or physiology training.

You might think that insurers would weed out the cowboys, refusing to cover therapists with unrecognised qualifications. Too often this is not the case.

Unwell get lost in the therapy jungle 

You cannot even trust the marketing slogan that a therapist has taken ‘a course accredited to a Complementary and Alternative Medicine organisations’. A pointless boast when there is no requirement on them to recognise the national standards created by the majority of the profession.

In this therapy jungle the losers are the unwary unwell.

And it is a boom industry. In a 2000 study, £640 million was spent by the public on CAM, offered by an estimated 49,000 practitioners. Nine years later 150,000 CAM practitioners where recorded and that has probably now leapt to 300,000. Well, at least you have a choice!

Weed out rogue therapists

So what is the answer aside from legislation? A good starting point is a referral from your own doctor. Also look at the database run by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, on which all Tonic therapists are registered.

This CNHC resource has been approved as an Accredited Register by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, a body accountable to Parliament.

And if you are thinking that becoming the 300,001st CAM therapist, check out the Complementary Health Professionals (CHP) website.

8 thoughts on “Look out – a therapist is about

  1. Zed T (Basingstoke) says:

    Please do not mix up complementary and alternative therapies. Alternative therapies are used instead of conventional medical treatment. There is no scientific or medical evidence to show that alternative therapies can cure. What is more, many alternative therapies are unsafe and can cause harmful side effects. Or they may interact with your conventional medical treatment.

    Moderator responds > The difference between these two approaches has been covered numerous times in this Blog. For example, check out this Link
    this Link

  2. George Wring (therapist) says:

    There is some confusion here. ‘Complementary’ describes therapies which may be used alongside treatments offered by your GP, such as massage, yoga and meditation, or indeed, Tonic’s style of hypnotherapy. In comparison, ‘alternative’ describes approaches which are generally meant to replace the treatments offered by your doctor. That is a dangerous world.

    Moderator responds > The difference between these two approaches has been discussed on numerous occasions in the Blog. For example …

  3. D.N. Myers Snr says:

    Conventional medicine is regulated by laws that ensure that practitioners are qualified and adhere to certain standards or codes of practice. Fact! Most complementary and alternative therapists are not regulated by professional statutory regulation. Fact. And as you infer, the ‘professional bodies which they boast they belong to, are not regulated either. Dress it up however you want, but currently in the UK, there is no statutory professional regulation of any CAM practitioners

    • To quote the NCBI … ‘in order to protect the public, professions with more than one regulatory body should bring their various bodies together and to develop a clear professional structure. That some health professions remain unregulated in a developed country seems extraordinary’. I agree

  4. Buyer beware indeed. Complementary therapists in Britain is based on voluntary self-regulation. This means that there are no laws in place to protect the public from the unqualified or incompetent. However, in accordance with government recommendations, the various professional associations in each therapy have been working together to agree standards and requirements for each type of complementary therapy. Watch this space but don’t hold your breath!

  5. Kel (Eastbourne) says:

    Alternative medicine is a term that is used for medical treatments which do not work – if they did work they would be called ‘medicine’. But if you want regulation you have to decide what equates to ‘qualified’. In some NHS hospitals ‘qualified’ herbalist / homeopath therapist can be appointed. For example, University College London Hospital advertised for a spiritual healer. A paper qualification for a spiritual healer? Really!

  6. The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is know in the blogosphere as Ofquack. The reason is that no sensible regulation is possible for subjects that are pure make-believe. Since the only thing that matters to the patient is whether the therapy works and is safe, accrediting of organisations that ignore this merely give the appearance of official approval of crystal healing and the alike.

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