The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Beauty and Wellbeing, UK, has undertaken an investigation into the ‘complementary therapies sector’, to consider how the sector can support everyone’s physical health, mental health, and well-being and take pressure off the NHS. In their recent document, they state:
The complementary therapies industry is an integral part of the Personal Care sector, which includes beauty, wellbeing, and alternative therapies. These therapies can be key to supporting everyone’s health and mental wellbeing…
To ensure complementary therapies can adequately support the NHS, 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 enhance the perception of the professionalism within the sector, so that it is no longer seen as ‘frivolous and fluffy’ and non-essential. Building awareness and understanding of its value in supporting our nation’s health is one step. However, it also important to crack down on any bad practice and the ‘underground market’ of poor treatment…
The committee makes the following recommendations:
1. The Government must work with NHS England to better promote the benefits of social prescribing with GPs, nurses and other health and care professionals, and how they can refer people to non-clinical complementary therapy services.
2. The Personal Care sector team in the Department for Business, Energy, Industry and Strategy must work with officials within the Department for Health and Social Care responsible for social prescribing to better integrate complementary therapy services into the NHS, and produce guidance to support health professionals and therapists in doing so.
3. The Department for Health and Social Care must undertake or fund research studies to demonstrate the value of integrating complementary therapy services into the NHS through social prescribing.
4. The Department for Education must revisit the gap between the apprentice wage and minimum wage for apprentices aged 19+, and provide financial incentives for employers to take on learners on any ‘job ready ‘qualification.
5. The Government must give Environmental health officers (EHOs) greater powers to act quickly to deal with bad practice and lead a crack-down on tax evading businesses that are driving down prices and undermining legitimate businesses under pressure.
The evidence that we have received during this investigation clearly demonstrate that greater support
and recognition is needed for the complementary therapies sector to ensure that they are able support
everyone’s physical health, mental health and wellbeing and take pressure off the NHS.
We hope the Government will review our recommendations in order to support the complementary
therapies sector and ensure they have adequate funding and acknowledgement.
In case you are wondering what therapies they refer to, here is their complete list of the treatments (including links to what they seem to think about them):
This could have made me laugh, had it not been so serious. The committee is composed of MPs who might be full of goodwill. Yet, they seem utterly clueless regarding the ‘complementary therapies sector’. For instance, they seem to be unaware of the evidence for some of the treatments they want to promote, e.g. craniosacral therapy, aromatherapy, Reiki, shiatsu, energy healing, or reflexology (which is far less positive than they seem to assume); and they aim at enhancing the “perception of the professionalism” instead of improving the PROFESSIONALISM of the therapists (which obviously would include adherence to evidence-based practice). And perhaps the committee might have given some thought to the question of whether it is ethical to push dubious therapies onto the unsuspecting public.
I could go on, but the perplexing wooliness of the document speaks for itself, I think.
And in case you are wondering who the MP members of the committee are, here is the list of its members:
• Carolyn Harris MP – Co-Chair
• Judith Cummins MP – Co-Chair
• Jessica Morden MP – Vice-Chair
• Jackie Doyle-Price MP – Vice-Chair
• Peter Dowd MP – Treasurer
• Nick Smith MP – Secretary
• Caroline Nokes MP – Member
• Sarah Champion MP – Member
• Alex Davies-Jones MP – Member
• Kate Osamor MP – Member
• John McNally MP – Member
• Kevan Jones MP – Member
• Gagan Mohindra MP- Member
The Secretariat for this APPG is Dentons Global Advisors with support from the National Hair and Beauty Federation, the Federation of Holistic Therapists and spabreaks.com.
Two hours after having posted this, I begin to feel bad about being so dismissive. Let me thus try to do something constructive: I herewith offer to give one or more lectures to the committee about the evidence as it pertains to the therapies they included in their report.