BRCP - British Register of Complementary Practitioners

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What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine?

The word 'Complementary' means 'working alongside'. We have taken that to mean - working alongside other healthcare providers including the medical profession.
The word 'Medicine' means the art of restoring and maintaining health.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) includes different approaches and techniques for treating the whole person. Many CAM disciplines have been used for thousands of years and have then been adapted for modern approaches to treatment. All approaches work to treat the whole person rather than one condition or symptom. In addition, the energy or life-force of the individual is also considered and supported. This is often referred to as treating the mind, body, and spirit.
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What is Healing?

There are two definitions of the term "healing":
Firstly, the word relates to restoring balance and harmony to body, mind and spirit. We see this as a natural approach to redress imbalances in the system as a whole, so that symptoms of stress or illness can be reduced or managed more easily.
Secondly, the word relates to the specific practice of Healing, whether contact, distant or spiritual healing, whereby the Practitioner attunes to healing energy. Organisations such as our administering body, The Confederation of Healing Organisations, can provide potential practitioners with a list of recognised training courses in this practice, and help the public to find a healer. The Healer-Counsellor Division of the BRCP also provides a Register of qualified healers.
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How can I find a BRCP Registered Practitioner?

Use the link below to visit our Practitioner Search Page.
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While I'm a Student can I charge for my treatments?

Students should never charge patients a professional fee but can ask that their expenses (such as travel, materials, products etc.) are covered. They must always inform clients that they are students.
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What is Regulation? How will it affect Complementary Medicine?

The principle purpose of Regulation is to protect the public. This can be achieved by agreeing a minimum standard of competence to practice. The National Occupational Standards (NOS) have been developed, or are under development for certain CAM disciplines, to ensure the creation and adherence to agreed standards of treatment and ethical practice.
For further information about regulation please see the website of The General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies, or the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council
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How can I have my Course approved by BRCP?

If you wish to register your course for BRCP approval you should contact the office for an Application pack.
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Can you help me get a grant for my course?

Unfortunately we do not offer grants. See also:
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How can I join the BRCP?

If you wish to apply to the BRCP for Membership either at the level of Therapist or Practitioner, you will need to complete an Application form and send it to the BRCP offices. This form can be downloaded from this website or contact our office and we can discuss individual applications, training and interests.
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I am unemployed or on a low income. Is it possible to receive reduced cost treatments?

Many Practitioners do give concessions to unemployed people or those on a low income. Go to our Practitioner Search page to find a Practitioner in your area and tell them of your particular circumstances.
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I have a specific query regarding a medicine I'm taking. Can you help me?

We are not qualified to answer such queries. For advice on medicine, it is important to return to the individual who prescribed it and seek advice and guidance from them.
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Can I treat animals? What are the legal implications of this?

The law states that the only persons allowed to diagnose, provide any treatment or carry out any therapy on an animal is a vet or the animal's owner. However, those wishing to treat animals do need to have a separate animal therapy qualification except if they are qualified in Reiki or Spiritual Healing. If they have been taught animal therapy within their human qualification, that is also acceptable.
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Can you advise me on which Complementary Medicine to take?

Without undertaking a detailed consultation it is impossible to give advice. The choice is personal and only you can consider what approach will be best for you. Please search for a qualified practitioner using our Search facility.
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Where can I find more information regarding different types of Complementary Medicine?

The internet is a vast resource of information where you should be able to find more information. Alternatively, you could try your local library.
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I'm pregnant and considering one or more treatments. Is it safe for me? What can you recommend?

Your midwife/consultant are responsible for your healthcare while you are pregnant and should be consulted fully on all such matters. Some midwives and consultants are aware of complementary treatments and may know of local practitioners who specialise in pregnancy. Otherwise, with their agreement, you can contact a professional body such as BRCP who can refer you to a competent Practitioner. Most Practitioners will not recommend treatment during the first trimester.
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What is the difference between Statutory Regulation and Voluntary Self Regulation?

Statutory Regulation means that there has been an Act of Parliament, which controls the regulation and safeguards the name of the practice. All relevant practitioners who wish to practice have to join the register of the Council dealing with that practice. It is a criminal offence to practice without registering. Two practices are already statutorily regulated - Osteopathy and Chiropractic.
Voluntary self regulation is where a voluntary regulatory body is formed. It should be conducted in the same way as statutory bodies. However, the name of the practice/discipline is not protected, and Practitioners are not required by law to join its council.
There are two voluntary self regulators for complementary therapy in the UK, the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council. and the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies.
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Can we have a copy of your Database of Practitioners?

You cannot have a full copy of our database as it is protected by the Data Protection Act. We do not sell practitioner details to third parties.
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Can I complain about the treatment I have received?

If you have received unsatisfactory treatment, it is important that you let the Practitioner/Therapist know that you are unhappy. Hopefully this will resolve the issue.

What you can do if you need to pursue your complaint:-

• If your Practitioner/Therapist is on our BRCP Register then please see our Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure available from the office.
• If your Practitioner/Therapist is not BRCP Registered then identify the Professional body they are registered with and make written contact with them.
• If you are unable to locate the Practitioner/Therapist's professional body then you should seek legal advice.
• If you feel that you need to talk to someone regarding your complaint, please do call us.
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How can I obtain Practitioner insurance?

There are a number of companies that offer insurance cover for professional indemnity, public liability and product liability. The British Register of Complementary Practitioners has an insurance scheme for Members of its Register, which is run by Balens who can be contacted on 01684 580771 (Affinities Department). Acceptance of this scheme requires current membership of the BRCP.
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Is distance learning appropriate for a CAM course?

Distance learning is a teaching strategy that proves effective for some students, and in some taught disciplines. For theoretical study, this approach can be authentic if the student is self-motivated and able to study independently for subjects such as anatomy and physiology. However, practical subjects are essentially taught in the context of student/tutor/client interaction within a classroom-based or clinical situation. Therefore, in our opinion, practical training should be provided in a classroom setting and not by distance.
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What is meant by a Complementary Diagnosis?

In this context, the Practitioner will be sufficiently trained and competent to consider several aspects related to the presenting condition and symptoms that the client brings, and taking account of the physical, psychological and emotional needs of the individual. The Practitioner will then create a treatment plan for the client, specifically designed for them, which will be reviewed and adjusted as indicated during the period of treatment.

The term Complementary Diagnosis is distinct from medical diagnosis, which is the prerogative of the medical profession and is not expected from a CAM Practitioner. Increasingly, the skills and ability of the CAM Practitioner can be integrated into a full treatment plan where allopathic and complementary medical practitioners liaise and work together for the client/patient in a holistic context. This is beginning to develop in some GP surgeries and hospital settings, especially in the treatment of cancer, and could be seen as a forerunner to development of integrated services.
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How do the local licensing laws affect me as a Practitioner?

Local licensing laws mainly affect Practitioners in the London Boroughs where it is a requirement that Practitioners are licensed under the London Local Authorities Act 1991 - Special Treatment Premises.
If the Practitioner is a Member of certain professional bodies, such as the BRCP, they are exempt from paying the license in London, which in some boroughs is nearly £1,000 a year. However, the Practitioner is only exempt if all their disciplines and practices are covered in the Registration they hold within their professional body. It should be noted that, if they have colleagues working with them in their clinic who are not exempt then the license still has to be paid.
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Can I buy Herbal Medicines safely over the counter?

Herbal medicines can be purchased from most chemists and health stores. It is advisable that these medicines should only be purchased after a consultation with a qualified practitioner who is competent to advise you on the correct medicine for you and the amount you should take. It should be noted that many herbal medicines can react adversely with existing medications that have been prescribed by your practitioner or GP. Many are contra-indicated in certain situations, which could then make them detrimental to your health.
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Can Complementary Medicine cure or treat Cancer?

CAM cannot claim to cure any disease. While some of the treatments available in orthodox or allopathic medicine can be difficult for the body to tolerate or assimilate, a CAM Practitioner cannot tell their client not to access medical care. What we can do is work alongside medical staff and also focus on quality of life issues. Many of our Practitioners support individuals touched by cancer, and some of our training providers provide specialist courses. It is important that the CAM Practitioner has expertise with cancer care prior to working in this area, and also that they are familiar with contraindications for certain CAM treatments, together with their own limits of competence as practitioners.

The CAM focus for serious illness needs to be based on enhancing as far as possible the quality of life for the individual. With this aim, we can provide strategies and tools to support the client/patient towards improved health wherever this is possible, and with additional support for their loved ones.

For further information contact:

Breastcancer UK


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