Complementary Therapists Association - Forums
Posted by Richard Johnson, Jan 19 2009 11:23AM

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New Regulatory Body Launched

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Gillian Kenyon
Jan 19 2009 7:58PM
I have just been even more confused - I understand that the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) has gone so far as e-mailing all their members today to advise against joining the CNHC register just now. They appear to be stating openly on their web site that they do NOT recommend that people join this register at all - just wait and see. Menahwile, they also offer a form that gives 50% discount for joining the register it tells therapists not to join ????????. What message they are trying to give out I can not fathom.

Meanwhile, the CNHC register itself sates that both FHT and CThA will be contacting all their members as each therapy becomes registerable and will be giving discounted membership to those who apply via CThA or FHT, ie massage and nutrition as of today.

I have not yet found anywhere on the CThA site that gives me the mechanism to register with CNHC, albeit that it is a voluntary register stating that discounts are available for registering via the Professional Bodies that it lists.

Can we please have more information about the claims being made by CNHC and The General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies - the other organisation claiming it will be the 'single register' for therapists and what CThA advises.

Richard Johnson
Jan 20 2009 10:32AM
I will speak to one of my colleagues at FHT to try and find out.

I do know that talks were held as late as December, to negotiate a discount for members of the GCMT Professional Associations, of which FHT is one. This was obtained, as long as the Professional Association assisted with the admin of it, which as far as I know, most have agreed to.

I think one of the things that certainly was an issue for FHT was the fact that a lot of its members were multi-disciplined, and they were (rightly) concernced that the fees may be too high, if it involved more than one therapy. This has been resolved, and CNHC have set an upper limit on fees.

I think what most everyone has to think about it, £60 is one or two clients, and this new body really will do more to make the public aware of us, than anything before. You only need see the amount PR they are already doing, and it puts us firmly in the public eye, at a time when we need all the publicity we can. Speaking from a Professional Association point of view, this is publicity that none of us have every achieved, and even the other two self appointed 'regulatory bodies' havent had one dot of publicity since their launches, so it does say something for CNHC.

All the Professional Associations involved have (and still are) working hard to ensure that its members are protected.
Gillian Kenyon
Jan 20 2009 5:35PM
Hi Richard

Thanks for getting back so quickly.

If CThA has also agreed to do some of the administration for CNHC, can you tell me how one goes about accessing it and the discounted.

On that note, the CNHC site and the BBC News both state that the fee is £45 NOT £60 as per your note above. Does this mean it costs more if you are a CThA or FHt member and then they give 50% off ?.

FHT clearly are not suppporting the register and membership at this time. Their web site appears to be scathing of CNHC, ie

FHT recommends therapists watch the launch of the voluntary regulator CNHC and wait to see whether it can deliver the promised benefits for professional therapists. Whilst most professional practitioners support regulation in principle, the work with regulators thus far seems to be way short of being able to deliver tangible benefits for therapists

The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), has the key function of enhancing public protection in complementary and natural healthcare. But it appears there may be three main concerns. Those being;
· A registration fee structure that is too high and prohibitive to the multi-disciplined therapist
· The apparent lack of benefits to registration for professional therapists.
· The small number of therapy registers open at launch, Only nutrition and massage are available out of the twelve possible therapies that will be regulated

The CNHC has offered a 50% reduction in the registration fee to practitioners who wish to join before the 30th June 2009. This discount would be achieved through participating institutes and bodies facilitating the administration of the registration process for their members in relation to:
CNHC - Code of Conduct
CNHC - Request to register
CNHC - Proposed registraton fees

I believe it is essential that CThA is also seen to be lobbying the CNHC to clearly define the benefits of registration that are commensurate with the fee being levied. Also identifying for practitioners just what publ;icitry CNHC will generate for practitioners on an ongoing basis. After all, the pre-launch marketing and PR campaign, which is vital to raising public awareness of the new regulator, and the reasons why the public should use its registrants complementary and natural healthcare services seems to have been a bit of a flash in the pan confined only to the actual day of launch.

It appears that FHT does not believe that the benefits currently in place are sufficient for professional therapists to register and it is stating that it is also of the opinion that insufficient pre-launch marketing and PR is planned or being carried out to generate the maximum public awareness.

The information provided by the CNHC is as follows:
· Registered practitioners will be entitled to display the CNHC 'kitemark' in all their promotional materials, as a quality benchmark.
· In its first year of operation, CNHC has set itself three key targets in relation to the development of the Register and the benefits of the CNHC kitemark:

1. To register at least 10,000 complementary practitioners to achieve a self-sustaining financial position by the end of the financial year 2010/2011. As a result, registrants will benefit from the economies of scale in terms of registration costs.

2. To secure the following key advantages for practitioners on the CNHC Register:
· the CNHC kite mark to be recognised by healthcare practitioners and commissioners as the quality benchmark for NHS referrals
· the CNHC kite mark to be recognised by private healthcare companies as the quality benchmark for re-imbursement purposes
· the CNHC kite mark to be recognised as a gateway to wider advertising of practitioners? services in national listings such as Yellow Pages and Thomsons

CNHC claims that these advantages will be secured by working with the DoH, private healthcare insurers, the Advertising Standards Authority and national listings companies. This is the sort of thing that CThA and FHT have been doing for years and they have far more than 10,000 members and charge in excess of the £45 per annum membership being requested by CNCH. If CThA and FHT have not been able to achieve public recognition - how then does CNHC think it will be able to do so ?.

3. To undertake a national PR and marketing campaign to raise awareness of the CNHC kitemark amongst the general public as a guarantee of quality amongst complementary healthcare practitioners. The campaign will operate via the national consumer press, womens press and national and local health and advice agencies.

This is just what CThA and FHT have tried to do for years. We as practitioners have been helping by taking part in the voucher schemes via such publications and other promotions that have been introduced by many professional bosied to help us raise awareness and generate business.

Even with discounted vouchers to help try out our techniques, it doesn't seem that the public is truly convinced as yet.

In 2002, the House of Lords recommended practitioners of complementary healthcare should be registered and regulated. As a result, the Federal Working Group (FWG) was set up in January 2007 involving representatives from 12 therapy groups and supported by the Prince s Foundation for Integrated Health and the Department of Health. The 12 therapies involved are:
Alexander Technique
Bowen Technique
Cranial Therapy
Nutritional Therapy
Yoga Therapy

The aim of this group was to make proposals for the voluntary self-regulation of complementary healthcare, which will include a single register of complementary therapists. Over the past 18 months we have observed yet another divergence on the Regulation and Registration front.

There are now two competing voluntary self-regulating bodies for the complementary therapy profession. The General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies (GRCCT), launched in late 2007 and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), the new regulatory body supported and funded by the Department of Health and launched on the 19th January 2009.

Are we going to end up seeing 2 registers - one for nurses and doctors who have completed complementary healthcare qualifications to run alongside their NHS practices - CNHC.

The other, GRCCT for complementary therapists without medical qualifications ?.

I am sure that there are many other practitioners like myself who express concern about the fragmentation of the voluntary regulation process. Indeed, the presence of competing registers and professional bodies only serves to confuse professional therapists and the public. However our profession seems not to be able to stop the onward march of both registers which will inevitably compete for the support and registration of professional CAM therapists. Where will that leave the public - confused ? Wasn't that what these registers were set out to prevent in the first place?.

Professional therapists will and must make up their own minds as to which regulator best suits their needs, if at all. I believe that most therapists will simply wait and see what each regulator has to offer, if anything, before choosing to register. After all, if it is just yet another web-site listing of thousands of therapists, why bother, there are plenty out there at the moment for us to choose from, some better than others.

An overview of the GRCCT and CNHC

Both bodies have the same objective: to provide the public with a single point of contact to check that complementary therapy practitioners are suitably qualified and registered, and a means of registering an official complaint if they feel a practitioner has not been acting professionally.

The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council

To register with the CNHC, the therapy you practice (i.e. massage therapy) has to be represented on the council by a Profession Specific Body (PSB). Currently only two PSBs are on the council and therefore only two therapy professions are being regulated. Other therapies that are expected to form a PSB and become regulated during 2009 include Bowen technique, Aromatherapy and Alexander technique.

Reflexology and Reiki are in discussion with the CNHC, however currently there is no confirmation that these therapies will be regulated by the CNHC in its first year of operation.

Many practitioners are extremely concerned that there are only be two of the 12 participating therapies being regulated by the CNHC launch. This leaves multi-disciplinary therapists in a position where should they choose to register, they cannot inform the client that they are regulated for all of the therapies being offered. This will again create considerable confusion amongst both professional therapists and the public alike.

The CNHC structure clearly separates the roles of the regulator, the representative therapy leading body and the professional association, which is vital for effective regulation.

The General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies, (GRCCT) on the other hand, comprises of a Registrar, responsible for policy implementation; a Federal Regulatory Council, responsible for complaints, finance, registration and PR; and Therapy Lead Bodies, responsible for profession specific advice. The GRCCT registration fee is £30 for admission of a single therapy listing on its National Register, with a further payment of £5 per additional therapy.

Whilst the low GRCCT registration fee that makes registration accessible to professional therapists, there are concerns regarding the merging of regulation and representation within the GRCCT structure. The FHT believes that there should be a clear separation between the regulatory body that is responsible for protecting the public and the leading therapy body that is providing profession specific advice. This is vital to ensure the GRCCT receives the recognition and trust of the general public. But then, who is it that will become the second body ? - will it be FHt or will it be CThA ?.

FHT continues to advise its members not to join any register until the benefits are evident, present and clearly understood. After all, there is no urgency to join any register until the benefits are compelling and until then, practitioners should remember that regulation is voluntary and it will not affect rights to practise even if they choose not to register.

Meanwhile, one of the most positive outcomes of the consultation exercise was the creation of national governing bodies for those therapies that have been working towards voluntary self-regulation, whether as part of the FWG process or others.

The aim of each body is to be the UK's leading voice for its respective therapy and a central point of reference for regulators, professional associations and therapy bodies. These include the General Council for Massage & Sports Therapies (GCMT), the Aromatherapy Council (AC), the Reiki Council (RC) and the Reflexology Forum (RF).

These representative bodies will set and administer the National Standards for their therapy (which will include educational and training standards), and promote these standards to all relevant national bodies, i.e. educational, health, medical, and regulatory. The national governing bodies aim to promote the benefits of all forms of the therapy to the public and increase the awareness of the therapy as a beneficial therapy.

Does CThA have representatives on each of these bodies, I know FHT does ?.

After all, if Registration is going to take place, it will need National Occupational Standards to have been set so that qualifications can be compared against them. Those qualifications that don't meet the standard then won't be accepted as of a suitable standard to allow the practitioner to gain a place on the Register ?. Will those long time served practitioners with old qualifications not meeting the new National Occupational Standards be some of the 50,000 practitioners who CNHC will be deeming unsuitable for Registration ?.

How many therapists are aware that new National Occupational Standards are published in draft form and are available for comment by mid February this year?. Can CThA give us access to view these on its web site and provide a mechanism for feedback.

Richard Johnson
Jan 20 2009 6:01PM
Hi Gillian,
that is certainly a great response, and some good questions. Certainly food for thought!

I have actually finished for the day, and am going home now, but I will certainly have a good read through your posting, and give you as much information as I can.

Samantha Colverd
Jan 20 2009 9:18PM
What is CThA's advice to members? Should we join the CNHC register, and if so, how? What about the GCMT? I have already had a few clients who have asked if I am on the register.
Richard Johnson
Jan 22 2009 12:19PM
I am speaking as a representative of just one of the Professional Associations on GCMT, so am not their voice, neither am I the voice of FHT, however I am aware of the following:

GCMT do support the regulatory body, and as mentioned previously, we have been in constant negotiations with CNHC to ensure that all our members benefit.

Professional Associations first and foremost have a duty to their members, the CNHC a duty to the public.

FHT are, quite rightly, wanting to ensure that their members will benefit from spending the extra money each year to register with CNHC, and that is their duty, as it is the duty of all the Professional Associations.

What FHT have said is, the 'early bird' discount that we have all as PA's negotiated, lasts for 6 months, so they advise that therapists ensure that they understand what registration means, and the benefits they will recieve. Currently these are on CNHC website.

Believe me when I say that ALL your PA's have been working hard to ensure that its membership gets the very best deal.

In my opinion, CNHC is the regulatory body to support, that is my opinion. I feel that with the right advice, they can take us to the next level, and that is the advice that I am giving to my own members. If Professional Associations differ on that, it will be for their own reasons. My own membership body is a single discipline, so most of my members will pay the least amount.

Of course there will be glitches along the way, there always is.

Im not going to knock GRCCT or BCMA, however, when you say there are two competing voluntary regulators, I for one, have only seen one getting the publicity that we so desperately need, and that is CNHC.

Even if it was short lived, they have already created such a stir, and, as I have mentioned, our own clients have asked us about it, and if we are registered...this has never happened before, so it is obvioulsy working.

There is a huge task ahead for CNHC, but with the help of the Professional Associations, they can do the job.

Everyone has to make their own mind up, and as mentioned previously, you have at least 6 months to take advantage of the discount, so everyone can take time to research and get answers.

I for one, am all in favour of regulation, sometimes its tough, and some people may suffer; therapists, training providers, awarding bodies and professional associations, but if it makes for a better profession, both for its genuine therapists and users, then im quite happy to have to make changes if necessary.

Gillian Kenyon
Jan 22 2009 2:52PM
Hi Richard

Thanks for your help here.

I still have a very big problem though - HOW do I register using CThA to get the discount when there doesn't appear to be a registration form available on the CThA site. I also haven't received an e-mail or anything from CThA to advise me about registering via yourselves - is this imminent?.

I have tried to register on the CNHC site my numerous Massage and Sports Massage qualifications. Unfortunately, it just throws me out after the first screen and I have to log back in. After a couple of attemps to enter full data and being thrown out each time - I have e-mailed them. Their on-screen promised e-mail confirmations of registration also never arrived with me.

Alas - it is 4 days later and CNHC still haven't replied either using their automated system nor in response to my direct e-mail contact to them.

Please also note, I am a multi-skilled practioner and the CNHC site only allowed me to enter one of my two allowed registerable therapies.

So far, I haven't got as far as a payment screen on the CNHC site and now it says I have too many log in attempts when I try.

It does seem that this whol;e process doesn't seem to be making life easy.

Can you please advise how one goes about registering via CThA for the CNHC registration and to get the 50% discount?

Can you please clarify just exactly what the costs are as it appears CNHC are advertising £45 and you say it is £60 (before discounts) for registration?

How much is it per additional therapy if done via CThA?

Can I register both Massage (all the forms I undertake including Swedish, Sports, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, On-site, Seated, Facial, Stress, Indian Head Massage etc etc) and Nutrition?.

Will you please highlight the CNHC web registration issues to CNHC and let me know how they respond ?.

Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you in this regard as I am sure will many other practitioners.

Best wishes
George B.
Jan 22 2009 2:58PM
Please see the link on the home page, that takes you to

Richard Johnson
Jan 22 2009 4:01PM
Hi Gillian,
as far as im aware all the Professional Associatons have links either on their websites, or are in the process of emailing their members with the application forms. STO received their application forms yesterday from CNHC, and will be sending them out early next week to our members.

From my understanding, you will complete the application form that is being sent, or on the PA website, and send your payment to CNHC. The PA, has to confirm you are who you say you are, have insurance, and are of good character (ie no complaints against you).

If you belong to one of the PAs then the £15 initial fee is waived, and you pay £30 for one discipline or £40 for two (massage and nutrition currently).

George has very kindly put on a link to your application forms, and has the CThA position there.

All the best.

Richard Lawton
Apr 9 2009 9:09PM
Just been looking at the CNHC website following an email from CThA. There's an annual registration fee of £30, plus £10 for each additional discipline/therapy, up to a maximum of £60.

My question is: is this the beginning of the end for CThA/Embody? If I register with CNHC to achieve a certain 'status' in the public's eye, then why would I continue to be a member of CThA? I'm a member of Embody because their registered therapists are recognised by the public as 'sound'.

I'm amazed that Embody have apparently cosied up to CNHC.

What do people think?
Halila Panigada
Apr 18 2009 4:59PM

I also agree with your question and am not sure what to do for the best.

So what is the point of being a member of CThA and Embody if we all do have to end up becoming registered with CNHC as its meant to be doing the right thing re: 'Status'??

We need assurance from CThA/Embody that it is still worth being a member of CThA/Embody as there really is no point in being a member of multiple organisations that seem to offer the same or similar benefits?!

As I'm sure like for most therapists we all have to look after our expenses and need to save on any additional costs etc.

Carolyn Scott
Mar 17 2010 10:47AM
I'm so glad I have found this forum.
Have recieved my renewal form this week only to find a 'request to register' form tucked away in the back. There is on the main letter no explanation as to what this is, it could almost be regarded as 'junk mail'!.

I thought that the point of joining a 'regulation body' was to ensure that all therapist of whatever skill, were trained to a standard that is recognised by all. By Embody's own admission they are the one that members of the public turn to when in serch of looking for a complimentary therapist?

Why do we need to join another 'regulatory body' with more expense incurred especially as we are in a recession with not that much cash flowing?

I need some clarification on what to do,there is nothing on the CThA website to guide me as what to do.My gut feeling is not to join. But will this stop me from getting or maintaining what work I do, I work in privatly run care homes & from home?
Richard Lawton
Mar 17 2010 11:28AM
I haven't noticed any adverts from therapists mentioning that they're CNHC registered. I haven't come across any member of the public who has heard of the CNHC. I certainly won't be joining. But then I am against state regulation anyway - unless anyone can demonstrate to me that self-regulation has failed. Have there been huge numbers of aromatherapists killing off clients? Massage therapists giving people nervous breakdowns? Reflexologists running amok? I don't think so.

This isn't important state regulation - it's unnecessary interference and unwarranted expense for us all.

Dawn Spragg
Apr 29 2010 12:07PM
I have been a complementary therapist for over 15 years now, I also teach adult education.
When joining the CNHC last year ( which was actively encouraged By the CThA) it was not only to support fellow professional therapists in our sincere quest to be taken seriously not only by some members of the general public but also by the National Health Service, which when I first hear d about the register was supposed to be utilising the register to find professional therapists.
I truly hoped that after so many years of fighting to be recognised that at last the government where backing a scheme that would do the trick. Also the CThA where actively supporting them, so my association who I have been a loyal member and exponent of 17 years and who I trusted where giving them the thumbs up.
The CNHC was to promote professional therapists and ensure high quality make it easier to seek out such people, Professional Therapist like myself.
As stated I have been a member for over a year now and during that time I have received the following;
No support what so ever
No information with regard CNHC updates except the very negligible information sent by e mail which they seem to class as a news letter.
Non of my clients have even heard of the CNHC
Have not seen a single advert, poster, TV ad, flyer telling people what the CNHC stands for and what it does
I have not received a single client through their link or web site.
I hope this answer s the questions of some of my colleagues who are thinking of joining, I would suggest you save you £30-£60 until you see an advert for the CNHC on general release.
Richard Lawton
Apr 29 2010 2:10PM
@Dawn Thanks for this useful information about your experience - which confirms what I suspected. This is government interference and money-making, and has nothing whatsoever to do with ensuring quality and standards. CNHC is only necessary if organisations such as Embody are failing, and I've yet to hear anythiong that suggests that is the case. To misquote George Orwell: Big Brother is scamming you.

Rodney Stuart Robinson
Feb 22 2011 10:40AM
I agree wholeheartedly with you Richard. I am old enough to remember when the same argument was made for making changes to nurses registration. I knew even then it was just a money making con but the same tired old arguments were being used then; we needed to be a "serious profession". Since then a huge wasteful money making bureaucracy has been created just to keep our names on a register (I was fine with my name being kept in a leather bound ledger). Prior to this we paid £20 registration fee (for life) to cover the minimal administration. In exchange for this we received a certificate and a silver badge engraved with our name and number. Now we pay ever increasing fees every three years, get no badge and no certificate. There has been not one jot of benefit to nurses or the profession.

Now here we are in the field of complementary medicine going through the same process to “professionalise” us all. In this case it is all the worse for already being a member of the CthA. The world is going membership mad and its all to collect those membership fees. There is absolutely no need for this membership and its just another case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The smokescreen of public safety is in this case being used with no evidence that it is required. High profile court cases of charlatans causing harm by using illegal substances have been used to justify registering harmless, but highly effective, herbal formulas (in the case of Chinese patent medicine) as if they are pharmaceuticals; all for herbs no more toxic than cooking herbs (which is mainly what they are). So they are registering the products and the practitioners, lets face it the government doesn't want us to exist. In the case of non-registered herbal formulas the idea is that practitioners register (yes another one) with a body so they can legally prescribe these products. Now another consultation is being carried out on homoeopathic remedies and the practitioners (more registration in the pipeline?). They will not stop until complementary medicine is finished and its time to 'wake up and smell the coffee'. If we want to survive its time to make our voices heard.
Richard Lawton
Feb 23 2011 9:56AM
Rodney - thanks for pointing out what happened with the nursing profession. That's a real-life confirmation of what actually happens rather than what is supposed to happen.

I practice as a body psychotherapist, so was horrified when the last Labour government proposed state regulation of counselling and psychotherapy, as it became clear that a purely medical model was going to be used. Fortunately a lot of counsellors and psychotherapists started fighting the proposals, and a few days ago the Coalition government dropped the proposals. The Command Paper on the health professions ('Enabling Excellence') stated

"in recent decades compulsory blanket statutory regulation of the health and social care workforce in England has too often been seen as the first resort, rather than the last, in deciding how best to assure safe, effective and respectful care. Where regulation has been extended, there has not always been a robust and transparent case made based on the level of presenting risk.”

It went on to add:

"In many cases, the risk to service users and the general public posed by groups of unregulated health and social care workers is not considered to be such that regulation of individual workers is necessary."

So the present government is against compulsory regulation unless there is a demonstrable risk to the public. A very commonsense attitude!

To me, this suggests that the CNHC is now dead in the water. I would like to hear from the CThA on how they intend to respond to the Command Paper and what they now see as the role (if any) of the CNHC.

Rodney Stuart Robinson
Mar 4 2011 9:11PM
Hi Richard, Sorry for getting your name wrong in my last post. I think I called you Andrew (must have been thinking about my message below). I received this reply from Andrew Lansley about the herbal medicine ban and regulation of herbal practitioners.

Dear Mr Robinson,
Thank you for your recent correspondence to Andrew Lansley about the statutory regulation of herbal practitioners. I have been asked to reply.

As you may be aware, when the European Directive 2004/24/EC takes full effect at the end of April 2011 it will no longer be legal for herbal practitioners in the UK to source unlicensed manufactured herbal medicines for their patients. This Government wishes to ensure that the public can continue to have access to these products.

On 16 February Andrew Lansley announced the publication of an analysis of the consultation held in 2009 by the four UK Health Departments which sought views on the possible regulation of practitioners of acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. The Written Ministerial Statement announcing the publication can be found at by following the links to Hansard for 16 February.

Having considered the analysis in the context of the Coalition Government’s overall strategy on professional and occupational regulation, the four UK Health Departments have agreed that the Health Professions Council (HPC) should hold a statutory register of practitioners who supply unlicensed herbal medicines to individuals. This will enable the supply of herbal medicines to continue after 30 April 2011 and will ensure that practitioners have met specified registration standards. Regulation of practitioners will be underpinned by medicines legislation, which will provide further safeguards to protect public health. The Department of Health has therefore asked the HPC to establish a statutory register for practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal medicines.

The HPC is an established and experienced regulatory body that has the processes and procedures in place to be able to successfully establish and maintain a statutory register for herbal practitioners.

All practitioners who supply unlicensed herbal medicines will be required to register with the HPC in order to continue their practice. Those whose practice does not involve the supply of unlicensed herbal medicines will not need to be registered.

Once the regulations have been drafted the Department will consult again on the draft legislation. This will give practitioners and the public the opportunity to comment on the proposed legislation.

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