Letter: In the hands of quacks

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The Independent Online
AS A Chartered Physiotherapist in the NHS, I read your article on aromatherapy ``On the scent of a remedy'' (27 November) with interest and noted aromatherapists' concerns regarding ``cowboys'' and ``quack'' practitioners.

Chartered Physiotherapy is commonly heralded as the ``orthodox alternative'', with a 100-year history in the UK of ``hands-on'' techniques, now used to diagnose, rehabilitate and, in many cases, cure. A Chartered Physiotherapist has to undertake a three-or four-year Bachelor of Science degree.

But despite all the above, the title ``physiotherapist'' remains unprotected by British law and anybody can call themselves a physiotherapist. The public is therefore at serious risk from the hazards presented by our own unqualified ``cowboys'' in their ``management'' of illness and injury.

I thus applaud aromatherapists for their concern and empathise with them, but if, after 100 years of development, we chartered, degree-trained physiotherapists cannot ``keep out the quacks'', I hold out little hope for alternative therapies.

Nicola J Hancock

Cambridge

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