Professional Bodies

Use of Complementary Therapies in US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe has seen a constant and steady increase.  They are also increasingly being used within mainstream medicine and being recommended by Healthcare Systems.  Yet, in most of these areas, Complementary Therapies remain unregulated in terms of accountability and educational standards.   While the risks of Complementary Therapies are considerably low, the Public will still find that it is incredibly difficult to know if a Therapist is properly qualified or insured. 

While all of the Therapists listed on the Find A Therapy Directory have been verified on application to hold a minimum qualification and insurance, Find A Therapy does not hold responsibility for the Therapists that you book with from our Directory. You can learn more about that here and here.

A Professional Body is an organisation with individual members practicing a profession or occupation in which the organisation maintains an oversight of the knowledge, skills, conduct and practice of that profession or occupation.

In countries where therapies are completely unregulated, such as the UK, Professional Bodies generally require their members to undertake Continued Professional Development (CPD), verifies insurance status, holds a code of conduct that therapists must abide by, and has a disciplinary process that therapists will undergo if there is a complaint or if they are found to not be abiding by the Code of Conduct.  

In the case of a Therapy Professional Body, the members of the professional body should be practicing specific therapies that the professional body represents.

Some professional bodies are multi-disciplinary, meaning they represent a range of complementary therapies.  While other professional bodies are therapy specific, i.e. Reflexology.  Just because a Therapist is a member of a professional body for a specific therapy, does not mean that the Professional Body covers them for all of the therapies they practice.  This includes Therapists who are members of multi-disciplinary bodies.  

If you are choosing a therapist on the basis of their membership with a professional body, then you are encouraged to ask the therapist if the therapy that they practice that you are seeking book is represented by their professional body. 

UK

Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)

The CNHC is a government-backed professional organisation set-up to regulate the following complementary therapies:

  • alexander technique teaching
  • aromatherapy
  • bowen therapy
  • healing
  • hypnotherapy
  • massage therapy
  • microsystems acupuncture
  • naturopathy
  • nutritional therapy
  • reflexology
  • reiki
  • shiatsu
  • sports therapy
  • yoga therapy.

The purpose of the CNHC is to both protect the public from untrained and inexperienced practitioners, whilst also endeavouring to work with complementary therapy professionals to maintain and improve standards within the industry.

The CNHC is also there to provide support to the practitioners themselves, by means of setting standards (in line with National Occupational Standards) and by providing information and advice regarding courses, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and insurance services.

In terms of eligibility criteria, the CNHC has developed a set of standards for each discipline they regulate, and will only allow individuals who have met these standards onto the register. The criteria stipulate that practitioners must have undertaken an appropriate level of training and acquired an adequate level of skill and experience.

Where possible, the Department of Health has recommended that individuals always consult with a CNHC registered practitioner where possible.

Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)     

The Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) is a leading professional association for complementary, beauty, and sports therapists operating within the UK and Ireland.

The complementary therapies regulated by the federation include; acupuncture, alexander technique, aromatherapy, Bowen technique, crystal therapy, homeopathy, naturopathy, reflexology, reiki, various types of massage, and yoga therapy.

The aim of the FHT is to promote the efficacy and benefits of complementary therapy whilst also ensuring that the public are protected from unqualified practitioners.

The federation offers various membership categories including the following:

FHT Fellow – The highest level of membership that is only bestowed upon members who can show evidence of outstanding contributions within both the FHT and their therapy industry. 

FHT Member – This membership level is open to practitioners who provide proof of a nationally recognised qualification, in a therapy that is accepted by FHT. All full members are required to complete Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

FHT Associate – This membership level is open to therapists who do not wish to complete Continuing Professional Development. 

FHT Student member – Open to individuals studying for a nationally recognised therapy qualification.

FHT Non-practitioner – Open to individuals who are not currently practicing but still wish to stay informed of any industry developments.

The federation have also developed their own Code of Ethics and Professional Practice by which members must abide if they wish to join and remain on the register.

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) 

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is a statutory regulator set up to protect the public. The HCPC currently regulate 15 different health professions: 

  • arts therapists
  • biomedical scientists
  • chiropodists/podiatrists
  • clinical scientists
  • dietitians
  • hearing aid dispensers
  • occupational therapists
  • operating department practitioners
  • orthoptists
  • paramedics
  • physiotherapists
  • practitioner psychologists
  • prosthetists/orthotists
  • radiographers
  • speech and language therapists.

All professions subject to HCPC regulation have at least one professional title protected by law, meaning that an individual wishing to use said title must be registered with the council in order to refer to themselves as such in a professional capacity. Unregistered individuals who use the protected titles may face prosecution.

In order to register with the council individuals must meet certain standards set for their profession. Standards are broken down into the following categories:

  • Character – The HCPC requires a character reference from everyone wishing to join to the register and someone of ‘professional standing in the community’ must sign it.
  • Health – Registrants must complete a health declaration to confirm that they do not have a condition that may impact their ability to practice safely and effectively.
  • Standards of proficiency – These are professional standards that all registrants must meet in order to join and remain on the register.
  • Standards of conduct, performance and ethics – The ethical framework within which all registrants must work.
  • Standards for continuing professional development – Continuing professional development is any additional learning undertaken in addition to a practitioner’s original qualification. CPD is an important factor in a members continuing registration as it ensures that practitioners continue to develop their skillset and expertise so that they can practice safely, effectively and legally.
  • Standards of education and training – These are the standards by which the council assess training and education programmes in order to be approved.

The council have an online register allowing the public to check if their health professional is registered and there is also a stringent complaints procedure for health professionals that do not meet the HCPC standards.

Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)

The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) is an independent, public register who provide a regulation system for instructors and trainers within the sport and fitness industry in order to ensure that they meet the industry’s agreed National Occupational Standards. 

REPs provide comfort and reassurance to the public that all health and fitness instructors listed on their website are qualified, knowledgable and in possession of the necessary skills required in order to deliver the health and fitness training effectively. 

The Guild of Holistic Therapists

The Guild runs three Professional Registers for beauty therapists, holistic therapists and nail technicians. The Guild only lists therapists who have been independently verified by the industry trade body as being suitably qualified and insured to carry out treatments safely and effectively. There are several different member categories, including the following:

  • Student membership – Student membership is specifically designed for students who are currently studying and wish to obtain insurance to carry out case studies on non paying client’s (family and friends) for a select few treatments only.
  • Full Member – Only qualified therapists can become full Guild members and use the letters MGBT after their names.

  • Fellow Member (Guild of Holistic Therapists only) – This category of membership is for holistic therapists who hold qualifications which are on the Qualification Credit Framework (QCF).

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