Complementary and Alternative Medicine Regulation

Is CAM regulated?

The answer to that question is yes and no. Currently two professions within CAM have statutory regulation – Chiropractic and Osteopathy. Practitioners within both these professions must be registered with the relevant regulatory body in order to practice. For Chiropractors, this is the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) and for Osteopathy the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).

Physiotherapy is another regulated profession and has been protected by law since 2005. Physios must be registered with the Health Professions Council. Anyone practising physiotherapy or calling themselves a physiotherapist without the necessary registration is breaking the law.

CAM – working toward regulation

During 2004, the Department of Health published a proposal for the statutory regulation of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture. The regulation will improve public safety further by setting out Government standards of training and ongoing development. Acupuncture is expected to become regulated in 2010 but there is no fixed date for the regulation of Herbal Medicine as a profession. However, herbal medicine products are beginning to be officially licensed and by 2011 any company selling herbal medicines is expected to have all their products licensed and registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

CAM voluntary regulation

Aside from statutory regulation, the UK government has recognised the growing popularity of complementary and alternative medicine and encourages practitioners to work toward self-regulation. In terms of safety, recognition and future validation, CAM professions have developed voluntary self-regulation organisations. These professional bodies are working toward statutory regulation status but they must demonstrate to the Government that risks exist to patients which voluntary regulation can’t address.

In the meantime, voluntary regulation of CAM provides a unified solution to the question of safety for practitioners, the professions and the public. You should choose a therapist who is a member of, or is accredited by, an association or professional body. GoToSee provide information about these organisations within the individual therapy pages on our site.

By visiting a therapist who is accredited by one of these professional bodies, you can ensure your therapy session is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Therapists who utilise these voluntary regulatory bodies are also bound to a code of ethics and practice.

Therapists listed with GoToSee also go through another series of quality checks by our support team.
Once our criteria is satisfied, they receive our ‘Seal of Approval’. For more information about the GoToSee guidelines click here

Last year, the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Counci (CNHC) was founded with the help of the Department of Health, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners and the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health.

The CNHC have worked towards a national register for complementary, alternative and natural health. Massage and Nutritional Therapy are the first two professions to gain registration with the Council and have accredited minimum standards in place. This year they will be followed by disciplines such as Alexander Technique, Aromatherapy, Bowen Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Reflexology, Reiki, Shiatsu, and Yoga.

The register provides a way for the public to see if a therapist is listed and has met minimum standards of training, qualification and has signed up to a code of conduct.

As you can see, although certain professions are not statutory regulated by Government law, there are excellent standards of voluntary regulation and quality checks to improve public confidence in these healthcare systems.

Is CAM safe? >>

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