New register for complementary therapists

I am delighted to see the introduction of a new register which has been designed to help protect the public from cowboy complementary therapists. The new register allows therapists to demonstrate that they are appropriately qualified, insured and run a proper practice, which is a huge step forward. The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC – go to www.cnhc.org.uk) has been set up to offer a degree of regulation on therapists which is a huge step in maintaining and improving standards throughout the sector. The register opened last week and is there to register the therapist rather than actually endorsing a therapy that might not be so evidence based.

As it is now widely acknowledged that what we eat affects our health and the governments change4life campaign is directly centred around diet and exercise, nutritionists are at the forefront of helping to prevent the future epidemic of obesity and the health complications that might come. As a nutritionist I will have done 6 years of study in total when I finish my MSc next year. But there are people claiming to be nutritionists who have done just hours or weekends of study that can set themselves up in business. After the shocking news last year that the nutritionist Barbara Nash had caused brain damage to a client of hers after telling her to drink ludicrous amounts of water, on her amazing hydration diet, it is no wonder that this register is welcomed. People who are untrained should be found and taken to account for their appalling lack of knowledge of the very basics of good health advice.

Before CNHC I have always advised my clients to find a nutritionist who at the very minimum are on the BANT (British Association of Nutritional Therapists) register and have studied a minimum three years, and have either a diploma, BSc or MSc in nutrition. There are orthodox nutrition degrees and there are weekend courses – I know who I’d rather take advice from. So I’m thrilled that at last there is some registration process that will highlight the cowboys and to be frank I don’t care if their business goes under. I feel honoured doing the job I do and take the responsibility I have seriously and professionally. As you are often working with very ill and very vulnerable people, they can so easily be taken advantage of. Anyone going against that undermines all the good professional work that is being done in the UK with nutritionists who are turning the health of the nation around and going out into the community to talk to schools and companies as to how to obtain optimum health.

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