The complementary therapies that could boost your business

Published 24th Mar 2023 by PB Admin
The complementary therapies that could boost your business

By definition, complementary therapies are treatments used alongside standard treatments without being considered standard. Perhaps this has added to the perception that many complementary therapies are a bit “woo woo,” and to be taken with a pinch of salt when, in fact, a lot of these therapies have roots in ancient medicine practices originating from all over the world with hundreds of years of anecdotal evidence.

However, this type of observation, no matter how long the duration, doesn't often stand up to today’s standards and regulations.   

Popular and commonly used complementary therapies include massage, acupuncture, herbal medicine, reflexology, yoga and meditation all of which are widely accepted for their health and wellness benefits. For example, acupuncture may be used in combination with certain drugs to help reduce cancer pain or nausea from the therapy while manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD) is often recommended as a way of reducing swelling caused by fluid buildup after cancer treatment. Thus complementary therapies are also referred to as complementary medicine.

In a recent bid to urge the UK government to prioritise social prescribing and undertake further research into the value of complementary therapies, The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Beauty and Wellbeing launched an investigation last September, analysing the complementary therapies sector to see how the therapies can support physical and mental health and wellness and reduce pressure on the NHS. 

It resulted in a report that urges the Government to acknowledge the importance of alternative therapies and makes five key recommendations which, if the government takes note, could mean more NHS patients being referred to beauty and holistic therapists by doctors and financial incentives for employers in this area to take on apprentices.

Meanwhile, Brits are increasingly investing in wellness by implementing “self-care” techniques into their routines, with searches for stress-reducing and mental and physical well-being tools rising by 113% since February 2018 as reported by The Knowledge Academy. The report found that guided meditation, beginners yoga and Tai Chi were among the top wellness techniques that consumers wanted to learn.

Elsewhere, Spa booking site SpaSeekers’s 2023 Spa Trends Report revealed that Crystal healing massage, lymphatic drainage facials, sound bath, colonic hydrotherapy and salt saunas were among the spa treatments with the most increase in searches over the past year. 

Controversially, topping the list of most popular spa treatments for 2023 is “yoni steaming” – also known as vaginal steaming.

Searches for this have increased by 124% over the past year. The treatment is said to regulate menstruation and ease period cramps and bloating although this is disputed which could support the APPG’s recommendation to the Government to give more powers to environmental health officers and for the development of more regulated qualifications. 

The APPG report indicates that now is a great time to look into some formal training to be able to offer complimentary treatments in your spa or salon, either as add-ons to your treatment menu or in combination to enhance the treatments you already offer. Not to mention the fact that by providing them you could help clients with existing mental and physical health conditions while boosting revenue and the value of your services.  

When it comes to which complementary therapies you want to learn more about, in our “March Insider Survey” shiatsu massage came out on top while reiki, reflexology and acupuncture were also some of the practices that piqued your curiosity. Here and for complementary therapies week we have broken down these treatments and how they can be built into your existing beauty practice... 


Reflexology applies gentle pressure to the feet or hands to bring about a state of relaxation and help aid the body's own healing process and works in a similar way to acupressure and acupuncture. Reflexologists believe there are certain points on the feet and hands which correspond to the organs and glands in the body and that pressing and massaging these points can stimulate energy pathways in the body.

Reflexology is one of the most popular types of complementary therapy in the UK and is prevalently used among people with cancer with some cancer centres offering reflexology treatments free to patients to help them feel more relaxed and able to cope. It is also believed to help with the improvement of circulation and the elimination of toxins.

“Under long-term stress we begin to live only in our heads and neglect our bodies. Reflexology brings about an awareness of our entire body and in a time of much-needed self-love, it is the perfect treatment,” explained Anna Wintle-Pike a senior therapist with more than 15 years’ experience and specialises in reflexology in a Professional Beauty feature about the ancient practice.

“Clients can remain fully clothed for reflexology with only the feet exposed and it can also be performed anywhere, providing that the customer is in a comfortable position. It doesn’t require equipment and minimal product is needed, making it a profitable treatment to add to your menu,” she continued indicating that the practice could be suitable add-on for anyone from a beauty therapist to a nail technician to train in.  


For being able to reduce aches and pains, soften and oxidise tissue and move stagnant fluid around the body, massage in all if of its iterations is likely one of the complementary therapies most well respected within medicine as its benefits are undeniable. 

It is often recommended by doctors and surgeons pre and post-surgery, cosmetic or otherwise, to aid in recovery and reduce swelling.

Meanwhile, in the realms of beauty, massage is used for anything from body contouring or cellulite reduction to facial lifting and depuffing. Check out our feature on wood therapy to find out how massage tools can help with this. 

Whatever your area of focus is in beauty, chances are that incorporating massage of some kind into your treatments will only enhance them. 

“The one thing I always ensure I provide is a face massage," explained beauty and massage therapist Hayley Snishko in a feature about what to include in an express facial. "This is vitally important due to the effect it has on the skin and products. I love using my Bellabaci face cups during the massage for an enhanced and instant effect in providing a skin lift and restoring a healthy glow."

Last year, with the aim of raising awareness of the benefits and results that massage therapy has on mental health, Snishko launched Massage4MentalHealth.

Shiatsu massage is a Japanese form of bodywork that is rooted in the same principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine as acupuncture. This type of massage focuses on certain points of the body such as the pressure points.



Acupuncture is derived from ancient Chinese medicine and is another well-respected complementary therapy. It involves using super fine needles which are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic, pain management or preventative purposes.

It’s actually used in many NHS GP practices, as well as in most pain clinics and hospices in the UK.

Acupuncture is also being woven into beauty treatments under the term “cosmetic acupuncture.”

“In a nutshell, Cosmetic acupuncture is a mix of traditional Chinese medicine with modern technologies and beauty modalities,” explains cosmetic acupuncturist Athena Giralea. 

“There is always a focus on the face but we treat the body as a whole and target any concerns on the body that may demonstrate on the face and skin.”

Cosmetic Acupuncture has many beauty benefits and can target lines, scarring, pigmentation, acne, and eczema but also has a lot of wellness benefits by being able to trigger the release of hormones in the brain that can balance stress, anxiety and the cardiorespiratory system. 

Acupuncture is increasingly being paired with popular aesthetic treatments like micro-needling and LED light and can be used to enhance and boost the effects of many other treatments. 


Reiki is a Japanese method of energy healing for stress reduction and relaxation. It is conducted by "laying hands" on the body and is based on the concept of the unseen life force energy that flows through us and forms a field around us. 

If our "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stressed out, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

Reiki is increasingly being bought into facial and body treatments. A reiki facial focuses on clearing the negative energy in the chakras located in the throat and head… these are the ones that can become foggy with stress, anxiety and daily pressures.

The ancient method is also said to be able to boost collagen. 

Do you offer complementary therapies in your salon or spa? Do you use them in combination with popular beauty treatments? Let us know in the comments...


PB Admin

PB Admin

Published 24th Mar 2023

Have all the latest news delivered to your inbox

You must be a member to save and like images from the gallery.