MPs launch a new investigation into the importance of complementary therapies

by | Sep 29, 2022

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty and Wellbeing (APPG BAW) is exploring the value of alternative therapies for supporting physical health, mental health and well-being

According to 2021 findings, the global complementary and alternative medicine market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 22% until 2028 meaning it’ll be worth more than $404bn. The industry’s monetary value is just one of the reasons that an inquiry has been launched to investigate the influence of complementary practices on personal and societal health.

Complementary therapies are diverse and wide-ranging. Acupuncture and homoeopathy, aromatherapy, meditation and colonic irrigation are just some examples of treatments that do not sit within mainstream medical care but are used to relieve health symptoms.

Co-chaired by Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, the APPG BAW will also evaluate the skills gaps facing the industry, consider how to ensure the viability of businesses and jobs, and review potential government interventions to support the sector’s future.

The chairs say: ‘Treatments such as massage can play a vital role in helping those with long-term health conditions manage their symptoms. Equally, highly trained complementary therapists can play a preventative role in helping to identify health conditions in their clients. With our NHS under increasing pressure, it is more important than ever that the benefits of complementary therapies are recognised.’

During the summer, the APPG invited sector experts to give oral evidence at the first session of the investigation, with further sessions to be held over the autumn. Having collected all of the evidence, the MPs will present a call to action on government with recommendations for how to support the sector’s future.

Do you have evidence that supports the value of the alternative care industry? The deadline for Call for Evidence submissions is midnight on 11th November.

The cross-party group is exploring these areas:

  • the value the sector brings to the UK’s economy and society
  • how complementary treatments can play a preventative role in supporting people’s health and wellbeing or support those with existing health conditions
  • how the NHS can be better integrated with the sector
  • the skills gap facing the industry and how we can attract talent
  • how has the pandemic changed the demand for these services
  • how to ensure the long-term growth of the sector and ensure those that work in it are able to make a good wage.

In 2021, the British Beauty Council worked with advocacy groups and trade bodies to publish a report on the effects of personal care services on mental health and wellbeing. It found that introducing more personal care services like massage and touch therapy into society could reduce mental health problems in the population by around 10%.

The report reads: ‘(Qualified therapists are) well placed to support the NHS and Public Health to relieve issues and symptoms relating to Functional neurological disorders (FND) and physical health and wellbeing through a range of therapies, improved self-care and preventative healthcare.’

You can find out more about the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty and Wellbeing here.

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