Complementary therapist

Complementary therapistYou’ll provide complementary therapies such as reflexology, massage and aromatherapy to people who may be experiencing emotional distress, pain or psychological issues.

Complementary therapists could work in a care home, health centre, hospice or in someone’s home.

Your role might include:

  • building trusting relationships with people who need care and support
  • carrying out assessments to identify the treatments that people would most benefit from
  • delivering therapies
  • evaluating the therapies and the impact they’ve had.


Everyone working in social care needs English, number, digital and employability skills including team work and problem solving skills. What core skills do I need to work in social care outlines some of the skills you need and has short activities to help you think about transferable skills from your previous experiences.

There are also some specific skills needed to work in this role. These include:

  • good listening skills
  • the ability to put people at ease
  • the ability to cope with emotional situations. 

Each therapy will have its own entry requirements which are set by that therapy Lead Body. You can find a list of these here.

Employers might also expect you to be registered with The General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies or The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.

It might also be useful to have some experience working or volunteering in a social care and health setting. 


If you’re interested in working as a complementary therapist, there’s lots of advice about finding a role on the Starting your career page. You could look online or in your local newspaper to find vacancies.

The NHS and some charities or community groups also advertise for complementary therapists, or you might want to work self-employed.

You could also apply to do an apprenticeship in some complementary therapies. You can find out more about social care apprenticeships, including a link to live vacancies, on the Thinking of doing an apprenticeship page, or contact the Lead Body for the therapy you’re interested in to find out more. 


When you start in your role your employer should put you through an induction. This might include training necessary for your role such as health and safety, first aid and moving and handling. You might also receive specific training such as autism awareness, communication skills or working with people with dementia.

There may be opportunities to progress into senior therapist roles and supervise others or a management role and be responsible for a therapy service in a hospital or other setting.

You might also choose to go into other roles such as a rehabilitation worker, social worker or occupational therapist. Read more on the Job roles in social care page.