The cost of complementary and alternative therapies

Complementary therapies may be available free of charge or you might need to pay. Find out more.

The cost of using complementary therapies

Hospitals and GPs

Many hospitals, cancer wards and units in the UK offer complementary therapies to patients for free. Or, you might be offered a set number of treatments free, but have to pay for any further treatment after that. This is not always the case but it's worth asking.

You might also be able to have some therapies free, or at a cheaper rate, through your GP. Costs vary depending on the individual therapy.

Cancer support centres

Several cancer support centres provide various complementary therapies alongside conventional cancer treatments.

It will depend on the organisation, but you might be able to have a single treatment or weekly treatments. Or, you might be able to go to the centre for a few days for a complementary therapy programme that suits you.

You might have to pay for the treatments you have, but you can sometimes pay less than the standard rate, and some centres won’t charge you at all.

Cancer support groups and charitable organisations

Some cancer support groups offer free or low cost therapies. And some charitable organisations offer free sessions of meditation, relaxation or guided visualisation. Staff at your hospital may also know of local services. Or you can find them on the internet.

Private practitioners

Private practitioners of complementary therapies can charge up to £60 or more per hour. These costs vary from place to place within the UK. For example, treatments are usually more expensive in cities.

Herbal products and supplements

The prices can vary a lot if you are thinking of using herbal remedies, vitamins or dietary supplements. It is important to let your doctor know if you are taking any of these as they might interfere with your conventional cancer treatment.

The cost of using alternative therapies

Many alternative therapies are expensive. Some therapies might only cost a few pounds a month, but others might cost several hundred or more. Make sure you have thought about the ongoing cost before you start taking anything or begin any treatment.

There is no scientific evidence that any alternative therapy works to cure cancer. So it is important to talk to your doctor before deciding to use any of these therapies.