ICNM - Institue for Complementary and Natural Medicine

News & Events: Tuesday 14th June

International Yoga Day used to help highlight NICE guideline fears

International Yoga Day used to help highlight NICE guideline fears... Read further

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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. As far as possible, Complementary Medicine provides natural approaches to healthcare.
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 heal the whole person rather than one condition or symptom. In addition, the energy or life-force of the individual is also considered and supported.
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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, spirit and feeling. 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. Allopathic treatment usually approaches one symptom at a time, rather than underlying causes, prescribing medication for the alleviation of the symptom. This may help in the short-term but many drugs have side-effects which then require another drug to be prescribed.
Secondly, the word relates to the specific practice of contact, absent or spiritual healing, whereby the Practitioner attunes to healing energy (usually described to healing colour or vibration). Organisations such as the Healer Practitioner Association International or the College of Healing, provide recognised training courses in this practice together with Practitioner networks. The Healer-Counsellor Division of the BRCP also provides a Register of qualified Members.
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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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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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How can I find a Course in Complementary Medicine?

Use the link below to visit our Course Search Page.
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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.
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Can you help me get a grant for my course?

Unfortunately we do not offer grants.
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How can I Affiliate my Course?

If you wish to affiliate/register your course with the ICNM you should download from this website a Course Approval Application, or 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:
Directgov.org.uk

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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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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 ICNM 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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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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I have a specific query regarding a medicine I'm taking. Can you help me?

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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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.
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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.
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Can you help me on my project/thesis/dissertation/research?

Please refer to our Article Archives where there is a selection of articles on all different types of Complementary Medicine from former ICNM Journals.
There are many other sources of information, a selection of which you can find below with links to the respective websites. If you are engaged in study, be aware that much useful work is carried out which is not actually published. You can contribute to the body of research by sending a copy of your thesis to the ICNM for our library file.

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Where can I find more information regarding different types of Complementary Medicine?

Please view our Glossary 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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Can you help me get a grant for my course?

Unfortunately we do not offer grants.
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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 is 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 ICNM who can refer you to a competent Practitioner. Most Practitioners will not recommend treatment during the first trimester.
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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.
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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.

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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 1998. We do not sell practitioner details to third parties for commercial gain.
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Can I complain about the treatment I have received?

If you have received unsatisfactory treatment, it is important to let the Practitioner/Therapist know that you If If
If you have received unsatisfactory treatment it is important to let the therapist/practitioner 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 Discipline and Complaints Procedure >
• 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 ICNM has an insurance scheme for Members of its Register, the British Register of Complementary Practitioners (BRCP), which is run by Balens who can be contacted on 01684 893006. 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 which 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. However, 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 fore-runner 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, then 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 cancer. 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
http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk

CancerBackup
http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk

NICE Cancer
http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/topic/cancer

Foundation of Integrated Health - Palliative care
http://www.fih.org.uk

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