Complementary Therapies Inquiry

APPG Beauty and Wellbeing

Complementary Therapies Report on the value of complementary therapies in supporting the UK’s health

Today, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty and Wellbeing (the APPG), Chaired by Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, publishes recommendations for government following its inquiry into the value of the complementary therapies in supporting the nation’s health.  

Complementary therapies from massage, to reflexology and reiki can be crucial to supporting everyone’s physical health and mental wellbeing. However, the sector’s value is often overlooked. With the NHS being under escalating pressure, it is vital that the benefits of complementary therapies are taken account of by Government. 

Medical professionals could be better informed on the merits of these therapies and how they can refer patients through the use of social prescribing. This would both deliver better outcomes for patients, especially for those who experience chronic pain or mental health conditions, as well as helping ease up pressure on our struggling health system.  

Figures show that complementary therapy practices can lead to a 37% reduction in doctors’ visits. 

To ensure complementary therapies can adequately support the NHS, the skills gap must be addressed. We need to attract more talent into the sector and ensure all therapists receive the right training to become highly skilled professionals. 

We also need to increase the view of the professionalism of the sector so it is no longer seen as non-essential. Building understanding of its value in supporting our nation’s health, and cracking down on the underground market of poor treatment is crucial.  

The Group today makes key recommendations for Government including:  

  1. To work with NHS England to promote the benefits of social prescribing complementary therapy services  
  1. Provide greater financial incentives for employers to take on apprentices and learners to address the skills shortage  
  1. Give Environmental Health Officers greater powers to act quickly to deal with poor practice  

Please click here to review the report.

APPG Beauty and Wellbeing 

Inquiry into the value of complementary therapies 

Terms of reference 

  • In scope of this inquiry is anything that would be considered a complementary, holistic or wellbeing therapy or treatment 
  • Build understanding of the value of complementary therapies to the UK’s economy and society 
  • Consider how complementary therapies can play in a role in supporting everyone’s health and taking pressure off the NHS 
  • Evaluate the skills gaps and training needs in the industry   
  • Consider how to ensure the sustainability and viability of businesses and jobs in the sector 
  • Review potential government or policy interventions that could support the sector  

Call for evidence questions 

The value of complementary therapies 

  • What value do the treatments and sector businesses in scope of this inquiry bring to the UK’s economy, and to society more widely? 
  • What treatments can play a preventative role in supporting people’s health and wellbeing, or support those with existing health conditions, and how can this take pressure off the NHS? 
  • How can the NHS be better integrated with the complementary therapies sector? 

Skills and training  

  • Why is the industry facing a skills gap and what are its training needs? 
  • How can we attract more talent into the industry?  

Business and sector sustainability 

  • What are the different business models that exist in the industry? 
  • How has demand for these services changed since COVID-19 and how is the sector faring post-pandemic? 
  • How can we ensure the long-term profitability and growth of business in the sector and ensure those that work in it are able to make a good wage? 

Policy interventions 

  • What government or policy interventions are needed to support the sector, address the above issues, and enable it to thrive? 

The deadline for Call for Evidence submissions is midnight on 11th November. Please send submission of no longer than 2 pages to