With a new register for complementary healthcare practitioners about to be introduced, patients have been advised to seek GP advice about any alternative therapy undertaken.
The voluntary register will help protect people who use complementary therapies, ministers have said.
The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) said inclusion on the list will be a "hallmark of quality" to reassure users of their expertise.
Experts involved in massage and nutrition will be the first practitioners able to sign up to the register.
Other disciplines expected to feature on the register include the Alexander technique, aromatherapy, the Bowen technique, cranial therapy, homeopathy, naturopathy, reflexology, reiki, shiatsu and yoga.
The UK is home to more than 150,000 complementary healthcare practitioners, with a fifth of the population estimated to use their services.
To qualify for the register, practitioners must prove they have the experience and training to meet the agreed national standards.
Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: "Public safety is paramount. Registration, whether voluntary or statutory, is about protecting patients, and I am pleased to see this important milestone in voluntary registration."
Copyright © Press Association 2009
Do you think this register will help to protect the public? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"I agree with Dr Naron, India" – Dr R G Patel, India
"I am really glad for this development, as the public can differentiate between qualified and untrained homeopathic practitioners, who are tarnishing the true image of one of the most natural medical sciences, homeopathy" – Rashpal K Bains (homeopath), Gravesend
"This is a good news, health authorities are thinking of alternative medicines and healthcare at last. This way the UK government is not only protecting the public from inexperienced so-called practitioners, but also recognising the qualified and trained professionals, which include homeopaths. In my opinion, the public in general will be more confident to seek help from the alternative health practitioners. I fully support the new register" – Dr Shashi Mohan Sharma, London
"Yes ... this register helps the public and practitioners of alternative therapy also" – Dr Naron, India