The Complementary Medical Association

Delivering excellence in complementary medicine since 1993

The Complementary Medical Association Code of Ethics


This Code was adopted on 3rd February 1998 and supersedes any previous Code of Ethics of The CMA. This Code is copyright to The CMA and may only be reproduced (or excerpts used) by written permission of The CMA. 

This Code of Ethics is in the process of constant development and may be altered at any time by CMA Directors. If an alteration is proposed, all CMA Registered Members will be given an opportunity to comment upon it and all observations will be given sincere consideration. 

The Directors will make their decision based upon best practice and inform all members if the alteration will take place.

As The CMA is a multidisciplinary professional body, this Code of Ethics seeks to address ethical practice in general, and it is understood that practitioners of the various individual disciplines will be guided by best practice appropriate to their individual method of treatment. 

The CMA does not seek to proscribe a set of instructions for the individual disciplines because that would possibly lead to confusion. 

The purpose of this document is to establish and maintain standards in complementary medicine no matter what the individual discipline.

All members of The CMA regardless of membership category are required to abide by this code of best practice. 

The core belief of The CMA is that complementary therapies have a valid place in medicine and The CMA seeks to educate the public and members of the conventional medical profession so that they can easily find a qualified practitioner.

Patients and clients will understand that when they are being treated by a CMA registered practitioner that this practitioner is qualified, insured, and adheres to a strict CMA Code of Ethics. It is also important for the public to know that their practitioner is subject to a strict disciplinary procedure should they fail to act in accordance with the CMA Code of Ethics laid out herein.

It is suggested that the practitioner allows clients access to this information so that they can become familiar with the manner in which a CMA registered therapist works and the code of ethics the practitioner subscribes to. 


  • “CMA” – The Complementary Medical Association.
  • “Client” – Any member of the public who receives or wishes to receive treatment from a CMA registered practitioner.
  • “Practitioner” – A registered CMA member in any category.
  • “Code” – This code of ethics.


The CMA is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to promote responsible, ethical, professional complementary medicine to the public and the conventional medical profession.

Due to The CMA’s promotional and marketing expertise, The CMA has established a very high media profile, which means that the public and medical profession’s perception of CMA registered practitioners and training establishments is one of exceptional professionalism, reliability, and quality.

There is an awareness that The CMA has a strict code of ethics, a disciplinary procedure, and that members are insured.

The CMA receives an average of 200+ enquiries per week from members of the public who are seeking either high quality training from CMA registered training establishments or ethical, responsible treatment from CMA registered practitioners.

The CMA also receives a regular stream of enquiries from various branches of the media. The CMA website daily receives worldwide”hits”, which has undoubtedly enriched our networking capabilities.

The CMA is independent of any other organisation or political group.

The CMA is committed to equal opportunity principles.


The CMA has :

  • A Code of Ethics and Constitution. 
  • An equal opportunities statement. 
  • A disciplinary procedure. 
  • A complaints procedure.
  • When a person or business entity applies for Membership of The Complementary Medical Association, a full acceptance of, and adherance to, of this Code of Ethics is implied.  



A large part of the CMAs work is assisting members of the public to find reputable, qualified, insured, complementary medical practitioners, and to be assured of receiving reliable, safe treatment.

The CMA does this by referring the potential clients enquiry direct to CMA members who are practising the discipline that the client has enquired about. This has two benefits:

  1. Many practitioners do not have the luxury of a 24-hour live answering service and instead can contact the client when convenient. This means that the practitioner does not run the risk of losing the client as many people do not like leaving messages, and, in any case, messages aren’t always clear. 
  2. This procedure is perceived by the client to represent excellent service. Where clients do not know which discipline they require, they can speak to a member of staff at The CMA who will be able to advise them as to which therapies they might wish to consider. 



This scheme is similar to the Practitioner referrals scheme in that The CMA receives a vast amount of calls each week from members of the public who would like to train in a complementary medical discipline and also from practitioners who would like to cross train. As with the practitioners referral scheme, the person’s details are taken and passed direct to the college. Again, this represents excellent service and ensures that enquiries are never lost.

Code of Ethics

  1. The practitioner must abide by the law of the country in which they practice.
  2. The practitioner must return the signed acceptance of the code of ethics to The CMA as soon as possible.
  3. The practitioner must hold full indemnity insurance, either provided by The CMA or its agents or if provided by another party the practitioner must submit full details to The CMA. Insurance is to be maintained at all times. When a policy is renewed, photocopies are to be forwarded to The CMA directly. If The CMA does not have evidence of a current policy then membership is suspended until suitable proof can be provided.
  4. Information about a client that is obtained in a professional context must be kept absolutely confidential. The only exception to this ruling is:
    • where required to disclose information by law.
    • if in the opinion of the practitioner, the client or some other person may be endangered if information is withheld.
    • information may be disclosed when the client has given their express permission and that they understand the nature and extent of the disclosure.
    • If the practitioner intends to publish information in any form about a particular case for any reason – including teaching purposes, the practitioner must ensure full confidentiality. If this is not possible due to the nature of the particular case then the practitioner must obtain the clients written permission first.
  5. Appropriate action must be taken when a client presents with a notifiable disease. This is as follows: If the practitioner suspects that a client has one of the following diseases or food poisoning the practitioner must encourage the client to see a GP as soon as possible. The practitioner must also contact the Environmental Health Officer in the area that the client lives, and they will be able to provide guidance as to what action  if any, the practitioner may need to take next. In all instances the practitioner must record this information in the clients notes.
    • Section 10
      -Relapsing Fever
    • Section 11: Notifiable diseases as defined in Sections 10 and 11 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and the Public Health (Infectious Disease) Regulations 1988:
      -Food Poisoning
      -Public Health (Infectious Disease) Regulations 1988:
      -Acute encephalitis
      -Acute poliomyelitis
      -Dysentery (Amoebic or bacillary)
      -Meningococcal septicaemia (without meningitis)
      -Opthalmia neonatorum
      -Paratyphoid fever
      -Scarlet Fever
      -Typhoid fever
      -Viral haemorrhagic fever
      -Viral hepatitis
      -Whooping cough
      -Yellow fever
  6. The CMA must be notified immediately if the practitioner is subject to any investigation into their practice by the police or local government, or of any circumstances which may lead to an insurance claim. 
  7. Physical examinations of clients under the age of 16 must only be made in the presence of a parent / guardian or other responsible adult.
  8. Genital examinations of clients must only be undertaken if written permission has been given. The practitioner is advised to conduct examinations of this nature with a chaperone present.
  9. If it could be necessary that the client disrobe in order for the practitioner to carry out their treatment or examination then the client must be informed in writing prior to the consultation. The CMA advises that if possible, the practitioner get a signed acknowledgment from the client of prior knowledge of particular therapeutic requirements.
  10. Practitioners will not undertake any form of sexual activity with a client in their care or with a student in their tutelage or supervision. The CMA requires that the practitioner formally ends the therapeutic or educational relationship before starting a sexual relationship.
  11. The clients ideals and beliefs must be respected at all times.
  12. The clients notes must be kept for a minimum of six years after the cessation of treatment.
  13. Advertisements should reflect the high standard the public expect of professionals in the health care industry. Adverts in all forms must abide by the British Code of Advertising Practice.
  14. Members must state clearly The CMA membership category to which they belong in all forms of promotion of their service regardless of medium. (i.e., written, broadcast, letterheads, etc.).
  15. Members in any category may not use their membership of The CMA to advertise or promote any product, remedy, or service other than their particular complementary medical service except with the express permission of the associations President.
  16. If registered CMA practitioners wish to use their membership of The CMA to promote products, remedies, or services other than their particular complementary medical discipline, they must apply in writing to the Associations President who must in turn provide a written reply after due consideration of the issue in hand.
  17. Members practice premises must be of a good professional standard. All equipment must be kept in an hygienic condition.
  18. On moving or retiring the practitioner must inform their clients of the intention to do so. It is important that the practitioner make provisions for the continuance of their care.
  19. In the event of the practitioners death, preparations should also be made so that clients are notified.
  20. A suitably qualified locum may stand in for the practitioner during any holiday period that they take. It must be made clear to clients which CMA membership category the locum is registered in. Clients must also be informed about the locums qualifications.
  21. Records of all contact with clients must be kept. Client notes must include the following details:
    • name, address, telephone number, and date of birth.
    • details of medical history.
    • dates and details of all therapies provided.
    • details of the medication taken by the client and name and profession of the prescriber.
    • any diagnosis of the clients condition by a competent authority.
    • notes of all recommended referrals to the GP, hospital, or other health care provider.
  22. Clients notes must be kept secure at all times.
  23. If the practitioner stores clients names and addresses electronically, the practitioner is obliged to register under the Data Protection Act 1984.
  24. Practitioners should not speak disrespectfully of other therapists in public, to clients or to students.
  25. Practitioners are responsible for continuing their professional development through training, supervision and study.
  26. Responsibility for ceasing prescribed drugs lies with the person who prescribed them. Where a client has made sufficient progress so that it appears they may be able to withdraw from the medication this is to be done in conjunction with the clients prescriber. If the prescriber is not co-operative then The CMA registered practitioner can advise the client to seek the advice of another conventional medical practitioner.
  27. Complaints against members in all categories may be made by the public and fellow members of The CMA. The use of sanctions may follow the Associations investigations if it is felt that the complaint either requires further investigation to clarify matters or if it is felt that the complaint is indicative of a serious breach of the code of ethics.
  28. The CMA must be notified of any formal complaint in writing within three years after the alleged transgression.
  29. The CMA is not liable for any treatment received by any client. This is the sole responsibility of the practitioner.
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