Complementary, allied and holistic therapies

Complementary, allied and holistic (CAH) therapies are not covered by the PLI scheme.

Outside the scope of physiotherapy

In 2021, the CSP professional committee decided that complementary, alternative and holistic (CAH) therapies are not within the scope of physiotherapy practice. This means that these interventions are not covered by the CSP professional liability insurance (PLI) scheme. 

There are a wide range of CAH therapies. Many CAH therapies do not have a peer-reviewed scientific evidence base, nor any robust current or emergent evidence base for their clinical effectiveness. Historically, there were several professional networks representing CAH therapies but these are no longer recognised by the CSP.  

For this reason, the CSP now believes we must clearly communicate to members that modalities defined as complementary, alternative and holistic (CAH) therapies are not part of physiotherapy practice.  

Physiotherapy is both ‘patient-centered’ and ‘holistic’. However, both concepts are in play only within the remit of the scope of the profession, and these terms do not enable a physiotherapist to undertake CAH therapies in the name of physiotherapy. We expect members to be able to evidence and reason why and how what they are doing links to physiotherapy practice, including the availability of a scientific peer-reviewed evidence base.

Separate insurance is required

This does not mean that CSP members can no longer practice standalone CAH therapies or combine them with regulated healthcare practice as part of integrated care. Some members have portfolio careers that include non-physiotherapy practice and this is a matter for personal choice. However, members must ensure they have separate insurance in place to cover any CAH therapies, and must clearly communicate to patients that they are receiving CAH therapies in addition to physiotherapy. 

How do I know if I am practising physiotherapy or a CAH therapy?

Only members can answer this question for themselves. You may wish to do both at different times, or to treat the same patient with a combination of physiotherapy and CAH therapy. However, you must be aware that there is a difference between the two activities, and how and what you practice will affect what insurance you may need.

Last reviewed:

Also of interest

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies