How do I decide which type of practitioner to see?
This page is designed as a tool to help you decide which type of practitioner(s) it may be appropriate to see for your specific concern or injury. Below is a list of the different types of practitioner that currently appear in the Practitioner’s Directory and a short introduction to the type of work they do, what qualifications they are likely to have, and what they can treat. Website addresses which will direct you to further information on each type of therapy have also been included.
All statements referring to the efficacy of specific treatments are with reference to the individual representative body and do not constitute endorsement by One Dance UK.
How do I ensure they are appropriately qualified?
Certain practitioner types currently listed on the directory are classified protected titles by law in the UK. These are: Chiropractor, Dietician, GP, Osteopath, Physician, Physiotherapist, Podiatrist/ Chiropodist, Psychologist, Radiologist, and Surgeon. This means that anyone using these titles must be registered with the appropriate regulatory body, or risk prosecution and a fine. Regulatory bodies include: the General Chiropractic Council, the General Medical Council, the General Osteopathic Council, and the Health and Care Professions Council. This ensures a high regulation of all practitioners working under these titles.
Other practitioner types listed are not subject to the same regulation and therefore it can be more difficult to ensure Practitioners you see are appropriately qualified. In order to try and control for this, we ask for Practitioners wishing to be listed on this directory to also hold a valid, full membership to at least one professional body specific to their practice. One Dance UK maintains a list of professional bodies which meet the following inclusion criteria:
- A joining fee
- An online searchable database of practitioners
- A complaints procedure
- A practising ethics policy/ code of conduct
- Membership criteria including minimum qualifications and CPD requirements
Relevant Professional bodies for each therapy are included in their description below. We recommend you always check the qualifications and professional body membership of any practitioner you see.
Accredited Dance/ Sport Scientist
General Practitioner (GP), including NHS dance injury clinics
Nutritionist/ Nutritional Therapist
Psychologist (Practitioner Psychologist)
Soft Tissue Therapist (Massage/ Sports Massage)
Sports Science as a discipline in concerned with the application of scientific theory, principles, and methodologies to sports and exercise. Most commonly the focus is on: Physiology, Biomechanics, and/or Psychology, although some sports scientists also specialise in application of Sociology, Neuroscience, and other fields of study. Often an interdisciplinary approach is taken combining knowledge in all of the above areas to target all round performance optimisation. Dance Science deals with the same scientific principles but with specific focus on dance training and performance. Dance and/or Sport Scientists typically work within clinical practice, coaching, research and/or academia, with many working as consultants to elite level individuals and organisations. This consultancy work may include screening and testing performers, devising and implementing training interventions, and/ or looking at performance outcome measures. It is necessary to make a distinction between individuals who have studied and obtained Undergraduate and/or Postgraduate degrees in Sports and/or Dance Science and professionally qualified and experienced Sports and/ or Dance Scientists who work with clients. The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) has a programme of accreditation for its members, where rigorous checks concerning qualifications, experience and competency are carried out. No such accreditation system currently exists for Dance Science, however the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) launched a fellowship scheme in 2014, which acknowledges the contribution and work of individuals in the field of dance science. We currently only list BASES accredited Sport and Exercise Scientists and/or IADMS Fellows on our Practitioners Directory.
Acupuncture is a system of healing using fine needles inserted in specific points in the body in order to achieve pain relief and healing. The principal aim is to recover the equilibrium to the meridians (channels of energy) in the body. Acupuncture is effective for any kind of pain relief and it can also treat a wide range of health problems, including neurological and musculoskeletal disorders, stress, infertility, addictions and allergies. The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) requires a minimum three years study in traditional acupuncture and bio medical sciences to register, and all members will have public liability insurance. Many Chartered Physiotherapists also choose to integrate Western evidence based acupuncture into their mainstream Physiotherapist practice for the management of pain and systemic conditions. For more information visit the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP). Finally, it is important to consider concerns about safety, pain and side effects. In some cases existing symptoms might temporarily worsen. This would usually be addressed at the first appointment, resulting in most patients being reassured and proceeding to give consent for this mode of treatment.
Alexander Technique assists in changing postural habits, improves poise, vitality and coordination and frees movement and breathing through increasing self-awareness. Twenty to 30 one-on-one sessions give a good foundation for ongoing self-discovery for most people. The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) gives locations of teachers and is working alongside the Professional Association of Alexander Teachers (PAAT) to establish a voluntary self-regulatory body. Alexander Technique teachers may also be accredited by the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council
(CNHC) which applies stringent checks in terms of training, qualification and insurance.
The Bowen Technique is a drug-free, non-invasive, hands-on remedial therapy which can be administered through light clothing, with the client sitting, standing or lying. With primarily fingers and thumbs, the Bowen practitioner makes small, rolling movements over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue at precise points on the body, using only the amount of pressure appropriate for that individual. Bowen can help with a wide range of symptoms, physical and emotional, and is suitable for all ages, from new-born babies to the elderly and infirm. The above information is provided by the Bowen Therapy Professional Association (BTPA). BTPA members are trained and accredited at BTPA-approved establishments, have certificates in Anatomy and Physiology and First Aid, have professional insurance and undertake continuing professional development (CPD). The Bowen Association UK also holds a listing of approved therapists, with the same eligibility requirements as the BTPA. Bowen Therapists may also be accredited by the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) which applies stringent checks in terms of training, qualification and insurance.
Chiropractic improves the function of joints, relieves pain and muscle spasm and, in particular, focuses on diagnosing and treating back, neck and shoulder problems, joint, posture and muscle problems, leg pain, sciatica and sports and dance injuries. Chiropractors assess the overall health of their patients and use non-surgical, drug-free treatment methods which include specific and gentle manipulation of the spinal column.
The General Chiropractic Council regulates the profession, sets standards on education, training, practice & conduct and helps you locate chiropractors in your area. Qualified chiropractors will have a degree; Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), BSc (Hons) Chiropractic or MChiro.
Dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices. In the field of nutrition there are many titles used, but only dietitians are regulated by the Health Professions Council. Those who are not registered are breaking the law if they use the title ‘dietician’. Dancers are recommended to consult a Registered Sports Dietitian. Sports Dietitians UK (SDUK) is a specialist group of the British Dietetic Association for HPC Registered Dietitians specialising in the field of sports nutrition. The Sports and Exercise Nutrition Register lists Registered Dietitians specialising in sports and exercise nutrition. It is run as a partnership between the British Dietetic Association, The Nutrition Society and The British Association of Sport & Exercise Science (BASES). Qualified Dieticians will also have a degree; BSc Hons in Dietetics, or a related science degree with a postgraduate diploma or higher degree in Dietetics.
Feldenkrais is based on a positive integration between mind and body through movement tasks and ideas. Benefits include relief from tension and muscular pain, easier and fuller breathing, greater relaxation and well-being, improved performance in sport, dance, music and drama, greater ease in everyday activities and increased vitality. The practitioner uses observation, conversation and a gentle, non-invasive touch, to investigate the participant’s movement habits. Lessons are particularly useful for specific or long-standing problems and are conducted in groups or private sessions. The Feldenkrais Guild UK offers find a teacher and find a class services and it’s members are graduates of internationally-recognised training programmes, are fully insured, and are accountable to the Guild’s Code of Ethics.
GP is a protected term and requires registration to the General Medical Council (GMC) and a licence to practice. The GMC states: “Doctors who want to practise medicine in the UK legally need a licence. The licence gives a doctor the legal authority to undertake certain activities in the UK. Any doctor who wants to carry out an activity for which a licence is needed must be registered with a licence to practise. This applies whether the doctor is working full time or part time, in the NHS or in the independent sector, employed or self-employed, or working as a locum.” GPs may also be members of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). Also keep in mind that though it may not be the quickest route, GP registration entitles you to free comprehensive medical assessment and treatment via the NHS – a valuable resource for dancers with limited funds. Specialist dance treatment on the NHS, accessible via a GP referral, includes the Dance Injury Clinics set up by the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science (NIDMS) in London, Birmingham, and Bath. Visit www.nidms.co.uk to find out more.
The equipment used in Gyrotonic or the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®, incorporates key movement principles from gymnastics, swimming, ballet, and yoga through which major muscle groups are worked interdependently and in an integrated manner while mobilising and articulating the joints. Gyrotonic strengthens and stretches the muscular system, stimulates the nervous system, increases range of motion and develops coordination. The exercises are performed through spherical awareness and circularity of movement using natural and turbulence free movement patterns, resulting in a balanced support system for the skeleton. The Gyrotonic website has information about studios in London offering classes. In order to work as a Gyrotonic/ Gyrokinesis teacher at a listed studio, the specified teacher training courses must be completed which typically take 1-2 years to complete. Qualified teachers are then required attend at least one specific continuing education course every two years. There are various levels of course available, we would recommend checking a teacher has completed the final certification course, rather than just the foundation or apprenticeship courses.
Homeopathy aims to boost the body’s natural healing resources using natural remedies. It helps to assist problems such as allergies, asthma, headaches and migraine, symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation and skin problems. The homeopath treats an individual as a ‘whole person’ taking into account their personality, mood, diet, circumstances and background as well as their symptoms. Therefore treatments may well differ for the same symptoms in different individuals. For contacts try the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths, the Society of Homeopaths or the Homeopathic Medical Association UK.
Naturopathy is an approach to health care which aims to promote, restore and maintain health. It is said to be particularly effective for skin problems, degenerative and chronic ailments like arthritis and asthma, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, PMS and IBS. Treatment may include nutritional advice, advice on herbs or supplements, detoxification, hydrotherapy (hot and cold water applied to promote healing), and physical therapy (soft tissue massage/osteopathy) to restore balance to the structure of the body. Every naturopath tends to work differently but will use most of these methods. The British Naturopathic Association is the professional body for practicing naturopaths who are registered with the General Council and Register of Naturopaths in the UK.
Nutritionists are qualified to provide information about food and healthy eating; however at present there is no statutory regulation of the term ‘Nutritionist’. This simply means that ANYONE can call themselves a nutritionist regardless of their qualifications, experience and skills. There are other individuals using titles such as nutritional therapist and nutritionalist. Dancers who are considering consulting an individual using these titles are advised to check qualifications and style of practise. It is also important to note that many will advise extensive use of dietary supplements and sell these to their clients. Where possible you should only seek advice from a registered nutritionist: www.associationfornutrition.org. Despite non-compulsory registration for those practicing, all Nutritionists and Nutritional Therapists listed on One Dance UK’s Healthcare Practitioners Directory are required to be Registered Nutritionists and/or maintain full membership to the CNHC (Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council). Bodies such as these have a strict code of conduct practitioners must follow as well as carrying out checks on appropriate qualification standards, insurance, and CPD; therefore acting as a quality control body. If you seek a Nutritionist/ Nutritional therapist outside of this directory we recommend ensuring they are members of at least one of these professional bodes. In general we would recommend that dancers consult a Registered Sports Dietitian.
Orthopaedic surgeons are medically qualified practitioners who have a sub-specialty expertise in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system. Surgery is rarely required for dancers since the majority of problems presenting are due to over use or abnormal use of the musculoskeletal system. The main role of an orthopaedic surgeon is as part of a multidisciplinary team to help aid the accurate diagnosis and investigation of a patient’s symptoms. The professional bodies in the UK which represents orthopaedic surgeons are the Royal College of Surgeons, and the British Orthopaedic Association. These websites list training for Orthopaedic surgeons and general information for the public.
Osteopathy is a way of detecting and treating damaged parts of the body such as muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints to ensure the body is at its most balanced and efficient. Osteopaths treat a variety of conditions including changes to posture in pregnancy, repetitive strain injury; postural problems caused by driving or work strain, the pain of arthritis and sports injuries. Treatment may include soft tissue massage and stretching as well as joint mobilisation and manipulation. Some osteopaths also use cranial osteopathy – a very gentle way to rebalance the body. The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) is the regulating body for osteopathy. Only registered practitioners can legally call themselves Osteopaths and professional indemnity insurance is a requirement. Qualified Osteopaths will also have a degree; BSc(Hons), BOst, BOstMed or MOst.
Physician is a generic term for a professional who practices medicine, concerned with promoting, maintaining, or resorting human health. Physician is a protected term and requires registration to the General Medical Council (GMC) and a licence to practice. The GMC states: “Doctors who want to practise medicine in the UK legally need a licence. The licence gives a doctor the legal authority to undertake certain activities in the UK. Any doctor who wants to carry out an activity for which a licence is needed must be registered with a licence to practise. This applies whether the doctor is working full time or part time, in the NHS or in the independent sector, employed or self-employed, or working as a locum.” Physicians may also be members of the Royal College of Physicians, which regulates and guides Physicians through the assessment and CPD requirements throughout their career.
Physiotherapy is the physical treatment of the body using a wide range of skills including manipulation, mobilisation, massage and exercise therapy to reduce pain and stiffness. It is the assessment, treatment and management of the human body to help the joints, muscles and nerves function to their full potential. Sometimes electrotherapy techniques, such as ultrasound, are used to speed up the body’s ability to repair damaged tissues. It is important to ensure that any physiotherapist visited is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and has one of the following sets of initials after their name to verify they are registered and qualified: MCSP – Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, FCSP – Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy or MACP Manipulative Association of Chartered Physiotherapists. For more information go to www.csp.org.uk and www.physiofirst.org.uk.
Pilates can be beneficial for retraining core control of the spine and pelvis, postural alignment, body awareness and improvement of technique for athletes and dancers. It can be used for injury prevention as well as for rehabilitation from injury. Pilates helps to create muscle balance between the inner and outer core abdominal-pelvic muscles as well as improve posture, flexibility, dynamic stability, coordination and release unnecessary muscular stress and strain. It is important to note the distinction between Instructors trained in Matwork Pilates only, versus those also trained in Reformer and studio equipment Pilates. There are a wide range of training courses and qualifications available for Pilates, so make sure you are aware of the training of your Pilates instructor has received. There are currently no legal requirements or standards set in place protecting the term ‘Pilates Instructor’. The Pilates Method Alliance is the professional international association for Pilates Instructors and gives guidance to finding a qualified instructor. The Pilates Teacher Association regulates its members in terms of qualifications, CPD, and insurance, and requires them to abide by the code of ethical conduct of the Association. Also be aware that many Physiotherapists are also skilled Pilates instructors and may be preferable if you are currently injured and wish to integrate Pilates into a rehabilitation plan.
These terms are used interchangeably but there is no real difference between the two. As from 2003 anyone wishing to practice under these titles must register with the Health Professions Council (HPC); this will protect the public and regulates all practitioners. A podiatrist/chiropodist works with all aspects of the foot and lower leg. This includes assessing, diagnosing and treating ailments and deformities, from verrucas and minor conditions of the nail to deformities induced by disease such as rheumatoid arthritis and health disorders such as diabetes. Treatments available from a podiatrist/chiropodist include: ointments and non-prescriptive medication for minor ailments, prescription of orthoses, cryotherapy, electrosurgery, ultrasonics, specialised dressings and neurological assessment, minor nail and soft tissue surgery and gait analysis. Podiatrists/chiropodists also give preventative care and health education of the foot and lower leg. When looking for a podiatrist/chiropodist letters/qualifications to look for include: HPC (Health and Care Professions Council), MChS / FChS (Member/Fellow of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists), DPodM (Diploma in Podiatric Medicine), FCPodS (Podiatric Surgeon), BSc/BSc(Hons) (Bachelor of Science Degree in Podiatric Medicine). For further information on this discipline visit The College of Podiatry.
Psychiatrists are medically-qualified practitioners who will have trained and qualified to be a doctor, then have had at least 6 years of further specialist training in diagnosing mental illness and may also prescribe drugs or medications to help ease symptoms of mental illness. Psychiatrists may use a range of types of therapy to support people with complex, severe or sudden mental ill-health. Usually they work in community mental health teams, out-patient departments and hospital wards, and in some cases, in general practices. Psychiatrists may work with dance professionals to diagnose mental health problems or to promote physical activity and exercise interventions within mental health services. The International Society for Sports Psychiatry (ISSP) https://sportspsychiatry.org/ states, ‘Sports psychiatry is the sub-specialty within psychiatry largely focusing on diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illness in athletes. While utilization of psychological approaches to enhance performance may also be part of the work of the sports psychiatrist, it tends to be less so as compared to addressing actual mental illness in this population.’ However, there is no specialist training route in the UK for psychiatrists working in sport and exercise. Psychiatrist is a protected term and requires registration to the General Medical Council (GMC) www.gmc-uk.org and a licence to practice. Psychiatrists should also be members of their professional medical body, the Royal College of Psychiatrists https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/.
Psychologists work in a variety of specialist areas to study the mind and its influences on human behaviour, including communication, memory, thought and emotion. Psychologists can provide support for a variety of mental health concerns, including coping with bereavement, dealing with trauma, and understanding and dealing with psychosis and schizophrenia. Psychologists may work with a range of different therapies or ‘modalities’ in a large variety of environments. MIND provides helpful guidance on the range of talking therapies available on the NHS, privately, and through charities. However, your relationship with your therapist is generally more important than the approach they use. Positive psychology https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/ focuses specifically on the enhancement of psychological wellbeing, rather than on the reduction of mental ill-health. It is important to ensure that any psychologist visited is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council www.hpc-uk.org Anyone using one of the titles listed on their website must be registered as they are the regulator for Practitioner Psychologists in the UK. This currently includes Practitioner psychologist, Registered psychologist, Clinical psychologist, Forensic psychologist, Counselling psychologist, Health psychologist, Educational psychologist, Occupational psychologist, Sport and exercise psychologist. We also look for professional body membership British Psychological Society (BPS) https://www.bps.org.uk/
Psychotherapy and Counselling is an approach that stresses the importance of the unconscious and experience in shaping current behaviour. The client is encouraged to talk with their therapist about childhood relationships with parents and other significant people, and the therapist focuses on the dynamics of the client/therapist relationship. ‘Transference’; when the client projects their feelings experienced in previous significant relationships on to the therapist, is a method used in this type of therapy. The psychodynamic approach is derived from psychoanalysis, but usually provides a quicker solution to emotional problems. We look for professional body membership in British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), British Psychological Society (BPS), United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) & Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK. For more information on this visit: http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/profquals.html. MIND also provides helpful guidance on talking therapies and cognitive behavioural therapies.
Rolfing-Structural Integration is a method of hands-on body work and movement training that takes an integrated approach to the body and health. Rolfing can help people to have better posture, fewer aches and pains, greater flexibility, and more energy. Rolfing-Structural Integration thoroughly supports, promotes and undertakes scientific research. There have been many studies into the effects of Rolfing that can be explored here www.rolf.org/about/research. The database for qualified practitioners can be found via Rolfing UK. The European Rolfing Association (ERA) also lists practitioners and regulates its members in terms of basic training undertaken, CPD, and insurance. The ERA also has a dedicated ethics committee, which deals with the associations ‘Standards of Practice’ and ‘Code of Ethics’ as well as complaints.
Soft Tissue Therapy is the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of soft tissues of the body including muscles, tendons and ligaments. According to the Sports Massage Association (SMA) soft tissue therapy may: improve circulation and lymphatic flow, assist in the removal of metabolic waste, sedate or stimulate nerve endings, increase or decrease muscle tone, increase or decrease muscle length, remodel scar tissue when required, and/or assist in mental preparation for sporting participation. The techniques used by sports massage practitioners have been developed to ensure effective and efficient results are gained from each massage given. There is little protection around the use of ‘Massage Therapist’ as a title therefore it is important to choose an appropriately qualified and accredited practitioner. The Institute of Sport and Remedial Massage, the SMA, the Council for Soft Tissue Therapies (GCMT) and the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) all regulate their members in terms of approved education courses, insurance, first aid training, CPD, adherence to codes of conduct, and have complaints procedures in place. Various levels of qualification exist within Sports Massage Therapy (QCF) courses. Level 3 courses generally only qualify individuals to give soft tissue treatment to healthy clients with no contraindications. At Level 4, practitioners are unable to give homecare or deal with complex illness/ injury such as post-surgery clients. To ensure a high level of knowledge and appropriate treatment options we would therefore recommend seeking a Practitioner with level 5 qualification.
Sports Therapy utilises the principles of sport and exercise sciences to focus on the prevention of injury and the rehabilitation of the athlete/dancer back to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports/dance specific fitness, regardless of age and ability. Sports Therapists diagnose and treat injuries. Additionally, biomechanical analysis is undertaken to identify the underlying cause of the injury, following which a range of techniques (including mobilisations, massage, exercise therapy, and electrotherapy) are used to ensure that the injury is fully rehabilitated and does not reoccur. There is little protection around the use of ‘Sports Therapist’ as a title therefore it is important to choose an appropriately qualified and accredited practitioner. When looking for a Sports Therapist, ensure that the practitioner is a ‘graduate’ Sports Therapist, by looking for certain qualifications: BSc (Hons) (Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports Therapy or Sports and Dance Therapy), and a fully insured and accredited Member of The Society of Sports Therapists (MSST). Therapists holding Graduate membership to the Sports Therapy Organisation are also likely to have appropriate knowledge and experience. Sports Therapists may also be accredited by the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) which applies stringent checks in terms of training, qualification and insurance.
Yoga originated in India 5000 years ago. It provides a holistic approach to body, mind and spirit. Today yoga is popular for health and fitness, for seeking relief from a specific condition or to assist in managing stress. There are a great variety of styles from the very dramatic, fast paced Astanga to the much softer release based Scaravelli approach. The British Wheel of Yoga is the largest association in the UK and is recognised by the Sports Council as the national governing body for yoga in the UK. Yoga Teachers may also be accredited by the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) which applies stringent checks in terms of training, qualification and insurance.