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Resources and organisations

Find organisations, support groups, books, websites and other resources about complementary and alternative therapies.

The websites listed here give detailed information about complementary therapies and cancer. They might use more technical terms, longer pages and fewer images than this site.

Always ask your doctors and nurses about whether any complementary or alternative cancer therapy you are thinking of using might interact with your other treatments.

General support organisations

Cancer Research UK is the largest cancer research organisation in the world outside the USA. We are the European leader in the development of new anti cancer drugs. We fund research on all aspects of the disease from its causes, to treatment and prevention, education and psychological support for patients.

We are also committed to producing high quality information for people affected by cancer, health professionals and the general public. We do this through the About Cancer pages on our website. 

Cancer Chat is our free online discussion forum for people affected by cancer. It is a safe space to talk to other people in similar situations, and find information and support.

If you have a question about cancer, you can contact our team of specialist cancer information nurses. Call free on 0808 800 4040, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. To talk in your preferred language, ask for our interpreting service. Or you can send us a question online.

We also have news, health awareness leaflets and other resources on cancer. 

151 Buckingham Palace Road
London
SW1W 9SZ

Telephone: 020 3080 6000
Email: info@mhra.gsi.gov.uk

The MHRA regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK. This includes herbal products.

They have information about:

  • the safety of herbal medicines including what consumers need to know
  • advice and guidance about taking specific herbs
  • which Ayurvedic medicines might contain harmful substances

Complementary and alternative therapy organisations in the UK

These organisations and websites deal specifically with complementary therapies and cancer care. Or they include complementary therapies in their range of activities and interests.

This centre provides complementary care, using the Bristol Approach, to people with cancer, and their loved ones. It is staffed by doctors, nurses and therapists working in complementary medicine. The staff provide information about complementary treatments, alternative diets, holistic medicine, counselling and relaxation.

Chapel Pill Lane
Pill
Bristol
BS20 0HH

Phone: 01275 370 100 (switchboard)

Helpline: 0845 123 23 10 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.00pm)

Email: Helpline@pennybrohn.org

The British Complementary Medicine Association represents over 20,000 complementary therapists. Their therapies include acupuncture, yoga and homeopathy. All members are fully trained and subject to the BCMA’s code of conduct, and complaints and disciplinary procedures.

Their website has a searchable database of therapists and therapy associations. It's a good place to start if you are looking for a complementary therapist in your area.

P.O. Box 5122
Bournemouth
BH8 0WG

Phone: 0845 345 5977
Email: office@bcma.co.uk

The BHMA was founded by doctors and students with an interest in holistic health care. They believe that healthcare should also include a person's spiritual and emotional wellbeing. The BHMA doesn't list or recommend individual therapies or therapists.

West Barn
Chewton Keynsham
Bristol
BS31 2SR

Email: admin@bhma.org

CNHC is the UK regulator for complementary healthcare practitioners. It protects the public by giving them access to a list of practitioners who have met national standards of competence and practice. Registered practitioners can use the CNHC quality mark on certificates and publicity materials. Most NHS services only use CNHC registered practitioners.

46-48 East Smithfield
London
E1W 1AW

Phone: 0203 668 0406
Email: info@cnhc.org.uk

An independent, UK health regulator that keeps a register of qualified therapists. It sets standards of training, performance and conduct for health professionals, including music therapists, art therapists and drama therapists.

184 Kennington Park Road
London
SE11 4BU

Phone: 0300 500 6184

This charity provides information about specific complementary therapies. Enclose a self addressed enveloped and two loose first class stamps when you write to them. Clearly state which information you are looking for or the type of complementary therapist you are trying to find.

Can-Mezzanine
32–36 Loman Street
London SE1 0EH

Phone: 0207 922 7980
Fax: 0207 922 7981
Email: info@icnm.org.uk

The RCCM collects and reviews research into the effectiveness of complementary therapies and alternative medicines. The Complementary and Alternative Medicine Evidence Online (CAMEOL) database reviews specific therapies for various conditions, including cancer. You can find the evidence on their website.

Faculty of Health & Social Care
London South Bank University
103 Borough Road
London SE1 0AA

Email: info@rccm.org.uk

This website aims to provide reliable information on complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) relating to cancer. The target audience is health professionals, but the information is understandable to anyone. It can help patients and professionals to make decisions about whether to use these medicines.

Breast Cancer Haven is a national charity that supports women during or after their breast cancer treatment. Breast Cancer Haven provides a free tailored package of emotional, physical and practical support. They offer advice on practical things like:

  • money and work
  • how to combat stress, exhaustion and nausea
  • healthy eating and exercise

They offer people diagnosed with breast cancer the chance to talk about their concerns and worries regarding treatment and its impact.

Tel: 020 7384 0099

Email: info@breastcancerhaven.org.uk

Maggie’s is a national charity with centres across the UK. They offer care and support to people affected by cancer. Each centre is beside an NHS cancer hospital and is run by specialist staff.

You can join a support group, take part in weekly sessions like relaxation and stress management, or learn about nutrition and health. You can also visit just to have a cup of tea and a friendly chat.

The Gatehouse
10 Dumbarton Road
Glasgow
G11 6PA

Phone: 0300 123 1801
Email: enquiries@maggiescentres.org

The Fountain Centre is a charity for cancer patients, their families and carers. It offers advice, counselling and complementary therapies to cancer patients from Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. It is at the St Luke’s cancer unit at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford.

St Luke’s Cancer Centre
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust Foundation
Egerton Road
Surrey
GU2 7XX

Phone: 01483 406618
Email: rsc-tr.fountaincentre@nhs.net

The Therapy Directory puts people in touch with a professional who is qualified and suitable for their needs. These practitioners focus on alternative and complementary therapies.

Coliseum
Riverside Way
Camberley
Surrey
GU15 3YL

Phone: 0844 8030 245

One of the largest professional associations for Reiki in the UK. Offers support and guidance to Reiki professionals and the public. Has a searchable database of Reiki practitioners.

2D Fitz Gilbert Court
Castledown Business Court
Ludgershall
SP11 9FA

Telephone: 01264 791441
Email: enquiry@Reikifed.co.uk

Acupuncture organisations

There are a number of organisations that acupuncturists can join. These are listed here with details of how you can contact them.

Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
(formerly Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital)
60 Great Ormond St
London WC1N 3HR
Tel: 020 7713 9437
Fax: 020 7713 6286
Email: bmaslondon@aol.com

For medical practitioners who practice acupuncture:
BMAS House
3 Winnington Court
Northwich
Cheshire
CW8 1AQ
Phone: 01606 786 782
Fax: 01606 786 783
Email: bmasadmin@aol.com

For physiotherapists who use acupuncture as part of their treatment:
AACP Limited
Sefton House
Adam Court
Newark Court
Peterborough
PE1 5PP
Phone: 01733 390007
Email: sec@aacp.uk.com

For nurses, doctors and physiotherapists who use acupuncture:
76 Langdale Road
Bebington
Wirral CH63 3AW
Phone: 0151 3439168

Practitioners of traditional acupuncture:
63 Jeddo Road
London W12 9HQ
Tel: 020 8735 0400
Fax: 020 8735 0404
Email: info@acupuncture.org.uk

The FHT is the leading professional association for complementary therapists. They have a register of therapists who are qualified, insured, and who follow the FHT strict Code of Conduct and Professional Practice.

18 Shakespeare Business Centre
Hathaway Close
Eastleigh
SO50 4SR
Phone: 023 8062 4350
Email: mailto:info@fht.org.uk

The professional body for practitioners of Chinese herbs in the UK (often combined with acupuncture).

Only qualified and professionally insured practitioners are eligible and accepted for membership. They have a register of members.

Suite 12, Brentano House
Unit 5 The Exchange
Brentcross Gardens
London NW4 3RJ

Tel: 020 8457 2560
Fax: 020 8457 2560
Email: info@atcm.co.uk

Maintains a register of practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine.

RCHM
Office 3
47 St Giles
Norwich
NR2 1JR

Tel: 01603 927420
Email: herbmed@rchm.co.uk

Aromatherapy organisations

Phone: 01455 637987
E-mail: admin@ifparoma.org

Their website has information about:

  • finding an aromatherapist
  • aromatherapists who meet national standards for training
  • education and standards necessary for a qualified aromatherapist

Phone: 0208 567 2243

The IFA is a charity aiming to preserve public health and well being through knowledge, practice and expertise in aromatherapy. It gives information about aromatherapy to the general public.

Their website has information about:

  • finding an aromatherapist
  • aromatherapists who meet national standards for training
  • education and standards necessary for a qualified aromatherapist

The CNHC is the UK regulator for all complementary healthcare practitioners, including aromatherapists. It protects the public by providing access to a list of practitioners who meet national standards of competence and practice. Registered practitioners are able to use the CNHC quality mark on certificates and publicity materials.

Phone: 0207 653 1971
Email: info@cnhc.org.uk

They are the leading professional association for complementary therapists. They have a register of qualified and insured therapists.

18 Shakespeare Business Centre
Hathaway Close
Eastleigh
SO50 4SR

Phone: 023 8062 4350
Email: info@fht.org.uk

Art therapy organisations

The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) is the professional organisation for art therapists in the UK. It has its own Code of Ethics of Professional Practice, 20 regional groups, a European section and an international section. It keeps a comprehensive directory of qualified art therapists in the UK.

24–27 White Lion Street
London N1 9PD

Phone: 020 7686 4216
Email: info@baat.org

Ayurvedic medicine organisations

23 Green Ridge
Brighton
BN1 5LT

Telephone: +44 (0)1273 930 956

The Association regulates and maintains a list of Ayurvedic practitioners and therapists. All therapists have professional indemnity insurance and abide by the APA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

The website has helpful information and explains the difference between practitioners and therapists.

Medical journals about complementary therapies

Although these journals are generally aimed at health professionals working in the complementary therapy field, you may find it useful to know what is available.

General medical journals also publish literature about research into complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

This journal is a valuable resource for people seeking information about the use of complementary therapies. It is published 4 times a year.

This journal includes reports on complementary and alternative therapies that are of interest or are being researched. It is published twice a month.

This journal reports on the scientific understanding of alternative and complementary therapies.

PubMed is the database of the National Institute for Health in America. It has abstracts from medical journals and scientific papers. You can search the database for articles about complementary and alternative therapies.

International organisations and sites

International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)

The ISCMR is an international professional, multidisciplinary, non profit scientific organisation. It is a place where complementary practitioners can share knowledge and collaborate with each other and carry out research. 

This US site has information about complementary and alternative therapies. It provides detailed information about herbs and supplements, as well as latest news on various therapies.

This US site has information about complementary therapies in cancer care. It offers information to patients and health professionals to help them decide how to best combine conventional cancer treatments with complementary therapies.

NCCAM is a US government funded institution that supports scientific research into complementary and alternative therapies.

It also provides training for clinical researchers, and supports schemes to integrate proven therapies into medical training for doctors and nurses.

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre is a leading cancer hospital and research centre in New York. Its Integrative Medicine service was founded in 1999. It carries out research into the effectiveness of complementary therapies for cancer.

The website has a searchable database of herbs, vitamins and plants. It lists side effects, drug interactions, clinical information and clinical trials.

Books about complementary therapy

There are various books about complementary and alternative therapies. Many of these are specific to cancer. But they aren’t all reliable. Be wary of books that claim an alternative therapy can cure cancer. 

The books listed here give reliable and evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies. 

Professor Edzard Ernst
Oxford University Press, USA, 2008
ISBN-10: 0199206775

This book is for hospital doctors, GPs, nurses, medical students and other healthcare professionals. It gives evidence based information about complementary and alternative medicine to help them advise people with cancer.

It discusses many issues in an accessible way. So it will also interest people who are considering complementary or alternative therapy.

This book helps people with cancer to make informed decisions about using complementary therapies to manage physical and emotional symptoms and promote general wellbeing. It explains the risks of using unproven therapies instead of conventional treatments.

Barrie R Cassileth
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, USA
World Scientific Publishing Co.Ltd, 2011
ISBN-10: 9814335169

This guide from the American Cancer Society gives detailed information about more than 200 complementary and alternative therapies. It is based on the best medical evidence available.

American Cancer Society, 2007
ISBN-10: 0944235719

Booklets and factsheets

Several reputable cancer organisations produce general information leaflets or booklets about using complementary therapies or alternative cancer therapies.

'I've got nothing to lose by trying it'

This guide was produced with support from Cancer Research UK. It aims to help you weigh up claims about cures and treatments for medical conditions.

It shares things you can do, from getting involved in clinical trials to finding good evidence based information.

We have specific resources about each type of therapy on the pages about those therapies.

Information and help

Dangoor sponsorship

About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.