In September, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty and Wellbeing (APPG BAW) launched its investigation into complementary therapies for the treatment of mental and physical health.
As part of the inquiry, The British Beauty Council has made a series of recommendations to Government to make better use of the significant benefits that can come from such treatments, from reducing the effects of cancer treatment and menopause symptoms to treating mental health conditions
Since the publishing of a co-authored report investigating the effects of personal care services on mental health and wellbeing, the British Beauty Council and other sector-specific trade organisations have been campaigning to boost the recognition of complementary therapies as a credible treatment option.
In response, the APPG BAW launched an inquiry into the benefits and challenges facing the wellbeing sector. As part of this, members of the Council were invited to provide oral evidence. Now, the cross-party group is calling for evidence.
Our response is based on the original recommendations set out in the 2021 report. These remain relevant and necessary today, thus we urge the Government to consider these recommendations within the forthcoming inquiry findings:
- A government-led cost benefit analysis assessment of the value of implementing complementary therapy within the existing NHS social prescribing framework. This would include a relevant clinical research study to substantiate the benefits of such therapies and address the issues raised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) around the robustness of existing research.
- A reassessment of the recommended uses for touch and massage therapy as a treatment option for patients, to include those with a mental health diagnosis, by NICE, the body that provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care.
- The development of higher-level qualifications (apprenticeship levels 4-7) to upskill the current workforce and provide wider access to more advanced therapies such as therapeutic oncology or lymphoedema massage etc., to meet the growing needs of the public.
- Increased employer incentives and funding bands for apprenticeships in order to encourage employers and training providers to invest in future skills training and development. Currently, the employer incentive levels around hair, beauty and complementary therapy fail to cover the cost of the apprentice for the employer, making it less likely that businesses can take on new learners due to balancing other cost pressures across the business.
Millie Kendall OBE, CEO of the British Beauty Council, says: ‘The NHS is clear that individual wellbeing has a significant impact on life expectancy, recovery from illness and is associated with positive health behaviours. Mental illness is a growing health crisis with poor mental health also associated with physical health problems – hence why it is so important to improve access to the widest possible variety of treatments proven to help alleviate poor mental health.’
As part of its submission, the Council is also highlighting the issues that currently exist around the accessibility of complementary therapies. ‘Access (to therapies) is often triggered by the recipient rather than a medical professional. This presents a hierarchical model for treatment, with only those who can afford to seek care autonomously being able to take advantage of the therapies available,’ the response notes.
It continues: ‘Evidence shows, however, that businesses within the services sector of the beauty industry are most heavily indexed in communities with the highest levels of deprivation.’
The British Beauty Council will continue to work with the APPG on Beauty and Wellbeing and sector-specific trade organisations to push for the implementation of complementary therapies for the treatment of mental and physical health.