Many complementary therapies are seen as problematic in that those with little money can not afford them. At the same time many therapists are struggling to make ends meet because they have to hire a room, pay bills to wash towels, etc.
The client sees the therapist for one hour or 90 minutes (for my clients it is more often 90 minutes) On top of that, I need at least 15 minutes before and after this time to set up the room and to clear up. I also need to spend time each year on continuing professional development. Other costs include professional insurance and professional body membership. (It is almost impossible to get insurance without this.)
Some therapists do a lower rate for those who are on low incomes. This works well though sometimes such schemes do get abused. (Experience shows that those paying a reduced rate are more likely to not turn up leaving the therapist still having to pay for the room.) In theory most of us have a policy requiring payment if appointments are cancelled at less than 24 or 48 hours notice but enforcement of this is difficult.
As well as lower rates for those on low incomes, there are also LETS (local Exchange Trading Schemes) Some of these work so everyone’s time is valued as the same – 10 units (Cams in Cambridge)/hour. Others allow more flexibility to allow for the time needed to set up rooms etc. In those schemes that insist on the 10/hour rule, therapists usually charge cash for materials, heating and washing towel costs etc.
After discussions with long term members of our local scheme (camlets) I have reduced my rates to 30/35Cams for one hour/ninety minute sessions. I am not completely happy that I have found the right balance yet but will stick with this for a while before deciding on what to do next.