How to find the right therapist and treatment for you
Complementary therapy is a term given to a wide range of different therapies that aim to support or improve a person’s health and sense of wellbeing. Some people use complementary therapies simply to relax and unwind and enjoy a little me time, while others may have treatments as a preventative measure, to help them manage a long-term condition or to get through a particularly challenging life event.
When it comes to which therapies are most popular, body massage and reflexology came out top in a recent survey of the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) members, with half of clients requesting these treatments, followed by aromatherapy, Indian head massage, reiki, healing and sports and remedial massage. Choosing which therapy is right for you will largely come down to personal preference, your individual needs and what benefits you hope to gain from treatment – something a professional therapist will be happy to discuss before you book an appointment.
What to look for in a therapist
There are many qualities that make a good therapist, but above all else, it is important to choose someone who is appropriately qualified and insured to practise. The FHT is the largest professional association for complementary, holistic beauty and sports therapists, and to become a member therapists must be appropriately qualified in the therapies they practise; abide by a strict FHT code of conduct and professional practice; be insured to practise; regularly update their knowledge and skills; be accountable for their actions in the event of a complaint.
The FHT also runs an Accredited Register which has been independently approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care. This lists over 10,000 FHT members who offer one or more of the 18 complementary therapies that appear on the register, ranging from massage and reflexology to kinesiology and yoga therapy. By choosing a therapist listed on an accredited register, you have the added assurance that they are part of a government-backed scheme to protect the public.
What to expect from a treatment
As part of your first treatment you will receive a full consultation, during which your therapist will ask a range of questions about your health, diet and lifestyle. This helps the therapist to decide if the therapy you have chosen is right for you or whether any adaptations to the treatment are necessary to meet your particular needs. In some instances, you may be asked to speak to your doctor or midwife before going ahead with treatment, for example if you have a chronic medical condition or are pregnant.
A lot of therapists are multi-disciplined which means they offer a range of different therapies, and if you’re not sure which one to choose, they can help you to decide. Alternatively, if they feel you might benefit from a therapy or treatment that they don’t offer they may advise you to see another suitably qualified professional.
Complementary, not alternative
It is important to note that complementary therapies cannot ‘cure’ a medical condition and should always be used alongside standard medical care, never as an alternative. Always consult your GP, midwife or other health professional for medical attention and advice and if you are currently receiving care, seek their advice before undertaking any therapy.
To find a therapist you can trust, visit fht.org.uk/findatherapist
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