camexpo announces results of first ever National Complementary & Natural Health Survey

Diversified Communications UK, organiser of camexpo – the UK’s leading natural health and wellbeing event, has released a summary of some of the key findings from its first ever National Complementary & Natural Health ‘Industry Snapshot’ Survey.

The full results will be unveiled this weekend during camexpo, which opens at 10am on Saturday 24 September at Olympia London.

Introduced to discover more about the people working within the UK’s vibrant complementary, integrative and holistic health community, the survey provides further insight into their roles and the clients they treat.  Over 400 practitioners, therapists, healthcare professionals and students took part.

Whilst there never could or will be such a thing as an average complementary health practitioner or therapist, these results do provide something of a snapshot.  The majority of survey respondents are over 35 (95%), self-employed (80%), home-based (59%), treat over 280 clients a year, and have been working in their current role for between 11-15 years.  They are highly motivated, and, very evidently, enjoy the important work that they do.

Notably, over a third of all respondents joined the sector following a personal experience from receiving complementary health treatments themselves.  This sphere of influence also extends to attracting and retaining clients.  With new clients said to be most influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations by family or friends.

More general awareness of the benefits of complementary medicine and treatments, dissatisfaction with conventional medicine/doctors, chronic illnesses that are not responding to traditional treatments, and an increase in people taking a greater responsibility for their personal health and wellbeing needs – are also cited as reasons for more people seeking out complementary health professionals.

Overall, the survey results reveal a distinctly positive picture of the health of the sector – with client numbers on the rise and earnings expected to increase over the next year.

Over half of all respondents believe that their profession is now ‘more respected’ by conventional medical practitioners (than when they first started their career), and a significant 81% say they are optimistic about the future of the complementary health sector.

Of course, as with any small business owners, they know there are still challenges ahead.  Finding new clients, lack of public awareness, maintaining a steady income, lack of referrals/support from local doctors, and less consumer spending generally, are their five biggest business concerns for the next twelve months.

“Complementary practitioners and therapists make a profound difference to people’s lives, helping them through stress and worry, alleviating pain and improving their quality of life through a complementary and holistic approach.  It’s really not surprising that supportive, professional and caring are the top three words they chose to describe their role in our survey.  We look forward to celebrating their contributions to the nation’s health and wellbeing at camexpo this weekend,” says Zoe Campbell, event director of camexpo.

camexpo returns to Olympia, London, on 24-25 September 2016.  For more information, and to book an advance entry ticket for £8.50 (saving £16.50 off the door charge), please visit and use priority code CAMX524 (workshops cost £19.50 per session).

Summary of the 1st National Complementary & Natural Health Survey

The full results will be available at camexpo 2016, or available to download from after the show.

Which of the following best describes your role?

Individual Practitioner / Therapist (self-employed) 80%
Owner of a Complementary Health Clinic 4%
Employed by a Complementary Health Clinic 2%
Work as a therapist / practitioner in a GP surgery or hospital 3%
Healthcare professional 5%
Student 6%

Are you female or male?

Female 84%
Male 16%

What is your main specialism? (top ten)

Massage/bodywork 19.1%
Hypnotherapy 15.6%
Reflexology 11.4%
Nutrition 10.9%
Hospice and palliative medicine 6.7%
Aromatherapy 5.5%
Herbalism 4.0%
Reiki 4.0%
Holistic 2.7%
Yoga/Tai Chi/Pilates 2.5%

How many years have you been working in the sector?

Less than a year 6%
1-3 years 17%
4-7 years 20%
8-10 years 15%
11-15 years 15%
16-20 years 11%
21-25 years 5%
26-30 years 4%
31-40 years 4%
40 years or more 1%

How many clients do you treat per year?

Average (all) 284
Full-time workers 404
Part-time workers 171

Has your number of clients/patients increased over the past twelve months (compared to 2015)?

Yes 65%
No 35%

If yes, by what percentage have you seen a rise?

Average (all respondents) = 26%

Which of the following age groups has increased the most over the past twelve months?

18 to 24 years old 6%
25 to 34 years old 14%
35 to 44 year olds 28%
45 to 54 year olds 33%
55 to 64 year olds 13%
People aged 65 or older 6%

Thinking about your clients, what do you think are the top five influences on why people seek out complementary health professionals?

Recommended by their family and/or friends 23%
They have a chronic illness that’s not responding well to traditional medical treatments 17%
People are taking a greater responsibility for their own personal health needs 15%
Dissatisfaction with conventional medicine/doctors 13%
There is more awareness generally of the benefits of complementary medicine/treatments 12%

Thinking back to when you first started your career, do you think that the complementary and natural health profession is now more respected by conventional medical practitioners?

More respected now 54%
Less respected now 4%
The same 25%
Not sure 17%

Over the next year, do you expect your wage/earnings to:

Substantially increase 13%
Slightly increase 51%
No change, remain same 30%
Slightly decrease 5%
Substantially decrease 2%

What do you enjoy most about your work? (top five)

Opportunity to help/support people 26%
Interaction with my clients 17%
Job satisfaction 14%
Flexible working hours 11%
Feeling valued by my clients 10%

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing your business over the next twelve months? (top five)

Finding new clients 16%
Lack of public awareness about complementary/holistic approaches 15%
Cash flow – maintaining a steady income 14%
Lack of referrals/support from local doctors 12%
Less consumer spending generally 12%

What influenced your decision to become a complementary health practitioner/professional? (top five)

Personal experience from receiving complementary health treatments 35%
Wanted to make a career change 23%
It complemented my lifestyle changes 9%
Someone I know trained/worked in natural health and it inspired me 7%
Made the switch from providing conventional medical care 6%

What one word would you use to sum up the role of a CAM practitioner?


Are you optimistic about the future of the complementary health sector?

Yes 81%
No 5%
Not sure 14%

What has been your career highlight or biggest success story so far?

  • So many people have been helped by our clinic, it is a great feeling
  • Being accepted into a primary care environment (ie GP surgery), enhancing local services in a rural area and developing a good working relationship with the primary care team (GPs and community nursing team) in instigating and delivering an outreach supportive/palliative care service for patients with chronic long-term conditions
  • Bringing comfort to a dying client and their family
  • When you can make people, especially those who are seriously ill, realise that they have the ability to change their health for the better. That life does not have to be filled with pain, that doctors who give them a pessimistic prognosis are not always right, and certain diseases do not have to be a death sentence!  Once they have hope again, they can concentrate on taking control of their health and getting well again!
  • Making a financial viable business which allows me to work part-time
  • All my clients are a success story for wishing to try complementary therapies
  • Still being in business when I was told there was no call for an acupuncturist in the area
  • Coached a client to drop 2 dress sizes without dieting
  • Restoring full range of motion to an arm that had been stuck after a rotator cuff injury
  • Every time I receive a photo of a newborn baby from one of my successful fertility clients – there is nothing better than that!
  • Seeing a client walk into my treatment room for her next treatment, smiling because after months of pain she finally felt she was getting somewhere
  • Training others to offer Reiki and thus spreading the use of Reiki here and abroad
  • Working as a salaried complementary therapist in the NHS
  • Being able to support an aging population to allow them to continue with everyday activities
  • Launching as a brand rather than just being a thing I did on the side
  • There is no one particular success story. I have been practicing Reflexology for in excess of 20 years and never cease to be awed by the power of Reflexology and the positive difference it makes to both the physical and emotional lives of my clients
  • Helping individuals with chronic conditions function more normally
  • Giving ladies confidence and calmness in giving birth. Resulting in much quicker and easier births
  • When clients start feeling themselves more capable to deal with their everyday issues
  • Giving one of my clients relief from chronic migraines and seeing her smile for first time
  • Making the business work enough to be sustainable as my own boss
  • Every time I see a client and see the impact one person listening to them makes is a highlight
  • Improving people’s health is the biggest appeal. Educating my clients, who then go on and share their knowledge with others is so fulfilling.



Media enquiries & press pass requests to:
Emma-Louise Jones, Head of PR
t: +44 (0)1273 645134
e: [email protected]

camexpo enquiries to:
Zoe Campbell, Event Director
t: +44 (0)1273 645119
e: [email protected]


High res photography is available on request:×430.jpg

Earlier this year, camexpo was named a finalist in the Best UK Trade Show Exhibition (Under 2,000m2) category at the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) Excellence Awards (it was also nominated in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Diversified Communications UK (Diversified UK) is a fast growing trade event organiser and publisher based in Brighton, Peterborough, and Nailsworth.  In addition to camexpo, Diversified UK’s natural and organic portfolio includes Natural & Organic Products Europe; Natural and Organic Awards; Natural Products Scandinavia in Malmö, Sweden (co-located with Nordic Organic Food Fair); Natural Products News; and Natural Beauty News.  For more information, visit:

Diversified UK is part of Diversified Communications, a leading international media company providing market access, education and information through global, national and regional face-to-face events, digital and print publications and television stations.  Diversified serves a number of industries including: seafood, food service, natural and organic, healthcare, commercial marine, and business management.  Based in Portland, Maine, USA, Diversified employs over 850 staff, across eight divisions in seven countries.  For more information, visit:

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