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Introduction to Complementary Therapies

The term ‘complementary therapy’ covers a wide range of different treatments that can be used alongside, or as an alternative to, conventional medicine. They can be used when treating ailments ranging from IBS to  pain management as well as promoting mood and wellbeing.


What are the most common types of complementary therapy?

Some of the most commonly used therapies are


How do I choose a therapist?

All complementary therapists should be properly trained and qualified, just like your GP is. However, some sectors are not regulated, so it is possible for someone to practice complementary medicine without the appropriate training. The information that we have provided on each of the different therapies contains details of a regulating body, where one is available. You should always make sure that your therapist has the necessary qualifications before undergoing any form of treatment. Visit the British Complementary Medical Association website for further details.

Please see the related organisations on the right of this page for more information on organisations that can help you find a therapist near you.

Some GPs and community staff practice complementary therapy and they may be able to offer you this at the surgery. If not, they may be able to recommend services elsewhere.. Ask your GP for further information.

NICE offers limited recommendations on complementary therapies.

Please note – The content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you are feeling unwell, make an appointment to see your GP or contact NHS 111 In an emergency, dial 999.

Last updated: April 27, 2018

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