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About one in five members of the public use some sort of complementary therapy, complementary therapy being broadly defined as ‘treatments that fall outside of mainstream healthcare’ (source: nhs.uk, ‘All About Complementary and Alternative Medicine’). This definition includes osteopathy, chiropractors, massage therapists, along with disciplines such as homeopathy and naturopathy. But did you know that, with the exception of osteopaths and chiropractors, complementary therapies are not currently statutorily regulated, meaning anyone can set up as a complementary therapist, even without any training, qualifications or insurance? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. About 70% of people asked were also not aware of this.

So what to do if you’d like to go to a massage therapist, yoga therapist, or Alexander technique practitioner but don’t know how to choose? Enter the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

The CNHC was set up in 2008 with government funding to serve as a voluntary regulatory body for complementary therapists, and in 2013 was approved by the accredited voluntary register. The purpose of the CNHC is to protect the public, so when you go to a CNHC-registered practitioner you know they’ve met certain standards. They also have an independent complaints procedure for members of the public that mirrors statutory regulatory bodies, so if you’re having an issue you can’t resolve with the therapist directly and believe they’ve acted unprofessionally or inappropriately, you can lodge a complaint through them.

Why Choose a CNHC-registered Practitioner?

Every therapist on the CNHC register has to meet national occupational standards for their therapy and abide by a strict code of conduct and ethics, so when you go to a CNHC-registered practitioner you can rest assured they’ve met those standards.

The Department of Health has recommended that where the CNHC registers the complementary therapists in question, you consult with someone who is CNHC registered, and that GP’s recommend their patients do the same.

Organisations which already recommend or require the use of CNHC-registered practitioners include Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Macmillan Cancer Care, Mind, Citizens Advice, as well as a number of other health charities and hospices.

Some insurers will reimburse for certain therapies from CNHC-registered practitioners under specific plans.

The CNHC was set up to act primarily in the interest of the public vs. the interest of the therapist.

CNHC & Leyton Sports Massage

At Leyton Sports Massage, all our therapists are CNHC-registered. We believe it’s important that our clients know they’re receiving professional, skilled care from therapists who have met certain standards. We believe that people who set up as sports/massage therapists without the appropriate training or qualifications are harming the reputation of our therapy, which means that fewer people are aware of how beneficial it can be. We hope that by maintaining CNHC-registration, along with relevant professional body memberships, it’s just one more way that our clients feel confident when coming to us. For information regarding individual therapists’ CNHC registration and other professional affiliations, you can see their bios on the Our Team page on our website.

How to Find a CNHC-registered Practitioner

Now that you know about the CNHC, how do you find a CNHC-registered practitioner? All CNHC-registered therapists can make use of the CNHC quality mark (seen here at the top of the page). The CNHC website also has a register where you can search for a practitioner in your area: Search the CNHC register. You can find out more about the CNHC via their website.

Important note: If a therapist is not CNHC-registered, it does not mean they are not qualified or insured. However, if a therapist is registered with the CNHC you know they have met independently verified occupational standards for their therapy.

Tell Your Team

Are a member of a sports club or interest group, or do you think you know others who would like to know about the CNHC? We have posters and pamphlets you can put up in your sports clubhouse, leisure centre or office and we can come give a short talk about the CNHC. For more information or to ask for flyers/posters, email katherine@leytonsportsmassage.com.

Disciplines Currently Registered by the CNHC:

Alexander Technique teaching
Aromatherapy
Bowen Therapy
Craniosacral Therapy
Healing
Hypnotherapy
Massage Therapy
Microsystems Acupuncture
Naturopathy
Nutritional Therapy
Reflexology
Reiki
Shiatsu
Sports Therapy
Yoga Therapy

*This article was originally published on 18 September 2013. It was updated on 31 July 2014 to show the new quality mark from the CNHC including the AVR symbol, updated link for the Our Team page, added the information that they are an accredited voluntary register, and added the information about the flyers/posters/talk.

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