Newsletter January 2008

Progress of the Federal Working Group

In January 2007, a Federal Working Group (FWG) was set up to agree on the structure of the Voluntary Regulatory Body to be set up for complementary healthcare. The FWG held its meetings each month throughout 2007, and the meetings were chaired by Prof. Dame Joan Higgins, with Stuart Bold from the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health (PFIH) acting as project manager. The meetings were all attended by a representative of the Bowen Forum - usually Janet Barry from BTER.

The FWG originally aimed to complete its work by the end of September, but the process overran slightly, and the final meeting of the FWG was on 18 December 2007. Agreement has now been reached on all major points. From January 2008, a Shadow Federal Regulatory Council has been set up, to prepare for the launch of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) – the new regulatory body. The members of the FWG have agreed to make themselves available for six months as a transitional support panel.

The Shadow Federal Regulatory Council

The launch of the new federal body is scheduled for around April 2008, and as from January 2008, the Shadow Federal Regulatory Council is preparing for the launch. The council is composed of nine lay members, of whom Jenny Gordon, the chair of the Bowen Forum is one.

Launch of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)

The CNHC is to be the voluntary regulatory body for complementary healthcare, and will be launched in around April 2008.

The key elements of the CNHC are:

  • A Federal Regulatory Council of 9 Lay Members
  • Functional Boards to deal with Education, Training, Standards, Complaints etc.
  • A Profession Specific Board (PSB) for each therapy
  • The Bowen PSB to consist of 4 Bowen practitioners plus a lay chair
  • The standards specific to Bowen will be set by the Bowen PSB, but only after consultation with the Bowen professional associations.

Much of this work – the Core Curriculum, CPD, entry requirements for the register etc are currently being worked on by the Bowen Forum Education Sub Group in consultation with the training establishments and professional associations. This work must be completed prior to Bowen being included as a registered profession. See Next Steps for Bowen.

The CNHC is supported by the Department of Health, which has agreed to provide start-up funding to support the work of the FRC. The DoH has also provided funding for a media campaign to publicise the regulatory body.

The costs of registration with the CNHC are hoped to be no more than £45 for the first therapy, with less being charged for additional therapies, and a cap at £100.

Recent Press reports

You may have seen recent articles in the press about the launch of the new regulatory body for complementary healthcare. Please note that these articles have been inaccurate in a number of key details, and the attached ‘powerpoint’ document gives the true facts. For those who cannot open this document, this is the link to PFIH’s press release:

Next steps for Bowen

Bowen is not ready to be regulated immediately from April 2008, because there is still some work to be done on agreeing common standards of training, CPD requirements, grandfathering etc. We aim to have these in place by April 2009, and members of BA(UK) and BTER will have a chance to vote on whether Bowen should be regulated.

If your clients ask you whether you are on the CNHC register of therapists prior to April 2009, you can explain that Bowen is not yet covered by the regulations.

The CNHC will be a voluntary regulatory body, so it is not compulsory for a therapist to register with it. However, members of the public will be advised to make sure that their complementary therapist is registered (if the therapy is one that is covered by the regulatory body). If you are trained in more than one therapy you will be able to register other therapies with the CNHC as long as they are covered by the regulator. You would need to meet the entry requirements for all the therapies you wish to register. There are plans to ensure that therapists who wish to register Aromatherapy/Reflexology/ Reiki with the CNHC may do so.

To be eligible for the CNHC register, you will need to meet standards similar to those set for BA(UK) and BTER. These include a requirement to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Bowen. Bowen therapists are urged to make sure that they keep up to date with CPD.

Bowen therapists not immediately eligible to join the CNHC register may nevertheless be able to join under the ‘grandfathering’ rules to be set. We cannot be specific on what these will be yet, but they will include requirements to have been properly trained, and to have done some recent Bowen CPD. If there gaps in your CPD record, you may be able to gain some credit through other non-Bowen CPD, or through Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) in which credit is awarded for learning gained through experiences in a work, voluntary, home or leisure environment.

The General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies (GRCCT)

Some of you may have received an e-mail from an organisation called GRCCT. The GRCCT is a breakaway regulatory group set up by a body representing some of the Reflexology and other groups. We understand that other reflexology groups have distanced themselves form the GRCCT, and are still in communication with the Prince’s Foundation.

The GRCCT is not 'The UK Federal Regulator for Complementary Therapies’ and in our view is not sufficiently independent of the professions to be able to act in the best interests of the general public. It is not supported by the Department of Health.

The groups behind the GRCCT were asked to leave PFIH's working group, after it transpired that they were working behind the scenes to set up their own regulatory body, at the same time as sitting on the Federal Working Group. There is a certain amount of misinformation being circulated, and therapists are urged to check the Prince’s Foundation website or the Bowen Forum website for accurate information. If anyone has any questions, they can also e-mail

2007 AGM

The AGM took place on Saturday 17 November 2007, and was preceded by a seminar at which the proposed regulatory body will be presented by PFIH. Minutes from the day will be placed on the website by the end of January.

Request for volunteers

Numbers on the Bowen Forum committee have dropped, as a result of the Bowen Practitioners’ Association no longer being active in the Forum. There is a lot of work still to be done, and because of the pressure of work, it means that we cannot keep the website updated as much as we would like. If anyone is interested in representing their professional association on the Forum committee, they should contact Angela Cannon (BA(UK)) or John Francis (BTER), or send a mail to

Please also note that once Bowen is regulated, we will also need volunteers to sit on the Bowen Profession Specific Board.