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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Professional Organisations, Registration & Regulation,

Code of Practice & Ethics

1. List four professional associations within the field of complementary therapies.

Four professional associations within the complementary therapies include:

• CTHA – Complementary Therapists Association

• CNHC – Complementary and Natural Health Council

• FHT – Federation of Holistic Therapists

• NAMMT – National Association of Massage and Manipulative Therapies

2. Choose one professional association from your above list and briefly describe their;- aims and objectives, role, activities and functions.

National Association of Massage and Manipulative Therapies

Aims and objectives:

• Professional development of its members  and enhance their welfare

• Provide professional guidance and advice on practice and regulatory issues

• Collate and distribute information from members, like-minded people and other bodies

• Provide networking facilities for members

• Promote research into, and evidence-based practice of massage and manipulative therapy techniques

• Promote further professional education and development of skills and competencies of members.


A voluntary run and “not for profit” Professional Association for massage and manipulative therapists.  Run by professionals within the field and only open to those qualified in massage to ITEC level 4+ to create an elite Association.  The primary aim is to provide care, support and assistance to all their members.  

The role is to:

• represent the interests of the professional therapist and promote further development and understanding of massage and manipulative therapies through research.  

• To create opportunity either through networking events or newsletters to distribute “best practice” to other practices and individuals and promote professional development to all members.

• Centrally held information is distributed collated and distributed to all members.

• To promote further research and evidence based practice of massage and manipulative therapy.

• To maintain professional standards NAMMT require members to undertake a minimum of 20 hours of Continued Professional Development per year.  They do provide Seminars, provide details of training schools and recommended reading material and are provided to promote professional development of their members.

3. What does CNHC stand for, who are they and what is their role?

CNHC stands for Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.  Supported by the government to provide protection for the public by providing a UK voluntary register of complementary therapists, which has been approved as an accredited register by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.  It acts in the public interest to provide accountability of the complementary therapists on their register.

The role of CNHC is to provide a list of complementary therapists that have met the Council's requirements of being a ‘safe and competent practice'.  All therapists must sign-up to comply with the CNHC's Code of Conduct, Ethics and Performance before they can be added to the list.

The main principles are to provide consistency, transparency, accountability, and be a professional complementary service provider for the UK public.

Once approved they can display the CNHC Quality Mark on their website and any publications.

CNHC will work on behalf of the public to investigate any breach in their ‘Code of Conduct'.  Should a complaint be deemed as a breach of their “Code of Conduct” it will be referred to an investigating committee, conduct and competence panel.  

4. What does NOS stand for and what are they responsible for?

NOS stands for National Occupational Standards.  They are responsible for setting the standards of performance that individuals must meet when performing duties within the workplace.  They are a national organisation across the UK which all individuals who carry out functions within the workplace must work to.  The standards have been set for employers by employees through the Sector skills for Council or Standards setting Organisation.

5. Define what Codes of Practice are relating to Complementary Therapies?

Each Association has its own Codes of Practice.  Codes of Practice are written by each Association and define and set out what the standards it expects its members to follow when acting as a Complimentary Therapist.  Codes of Practice typically cover how to provide a certain standard within the business sector such as:

• Being respectful, honourable and professional towards others

• Working within their qualifications

• Advertising and working within the ‘Trading Standards' policies

• Working to safe and professional standards

• Upholding confidentiality at all times and storing client records as per the Data Protection Act.

6. Define what Codes of Ethics are relating to Complementary Therapies?

Ethical codes are set out by Associations and define what ethics its members should adhere to when working within the complementary therapy business.  Codes of Ethics generally govern how to run a business with values and vision such as:

• To foster a good working relationship between practitioner and client

• Trust, integrity and dignity shown towards all clients

• Any complaints must be assessed and acted on appropriately

7. Who sets and regulates Codes of Practice and Ethics?

The majority of alternative and complementary therapists are not currently regulated by statutory professional regulation, the exceptions are chiropodists, osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists.  Alternative and complementary therapists can however join voluntary professional associations or voluntary registers who set their own codes of practice and ethics and members have to adhere to and agree to meet the standards set.

All associations feed into the National Occupational Standards which individuals must meet when carrying out procedures within the workplace.

8. Why are Codes of Practice and Ethics important?

Codes of Practice and Ethics are an important part of any business and this is no different in the Complimentary Therapy industry.  There are a number of reasons why they are important:

• They raise the standard of the profession and brings in professionalism to the industry

• They provide some level of assurance to clients about the treatments they receive   

• They provide clarity for the client and the therapist in terms of what is expected and how business should be conducted

• They will also provide a process for the client to raise a complaint if they do not feel that the Code of Practice has been adhered to

• It makes good business sense to have Codes of Practice and Ethics as it shows that you take your business seriously and you can use this in your marketing

9. What is Statutory Regulation and what complementary therapies does this apply to

Statutory Regulation is where there are laws in place that set out how something should be done, or operated, the rules which individuals or companies must follow and the consequences if there are any breaches of the rules.  The laws are set by the Government and are there to protect the public, and the therapist.  There are only two complimentary therapies which are governed by statutory regulation - these are osteopathy and chiropractic.  All other types of complimentary therapies (massage therapy included) are not governed by statutory regulation, this means that it is the responsibility of clients to ascertain who is treating them and what qualifications they hold and whether this is suitable for the type of treatment they are to receive.  Complimentary therapists not governed by statutory regulation can help themselves and their clients by joining a professional association which set themselves certain standards to follow.   

10. What is Voluntary Regulation and why would a therapist choose to pursue this?

Voluntary regulation is the opposite of statutory regulation.  Whereas statutory regulation is where there are laws set by the Government, voluntary regulation is where individuals or companies voluntarily agree to follow certain rules or ways of working without there being any laws in place.  There is no legal requirement for the individual or company to follow the rules, but it makes for good business if they do.  The main way therapists can apply voluntary regulation is by joining one of the professional associations relating to the relevant complimentary therapy which will have a set of rules to follow.   Reasons a complimentary therapist will follow voluntary regulation include:

• It provides assurances to the therapists clients that the therapist has the necessary qualifications to practice

• It sets out certain standards that the complimentary therapist must follow, giving them structure and guidance in their work, allowing them to offer the best service to clients

• It allows for better marketing, as the therapist can show membership of the relevant professional association and working within their rules, codes of practice etc.

• The professional association can regularly update their codes of practice and rules to keep them relevant, the therapist can use these instead of having to write your own.

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