Maggie Dunn, co-chairman of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), said it was time customers were given proper assurances.
She said the regulator, which is being launched on Monday, would clean up the industry used by one in five people. And she estimated thousands of clinics may go out of business in the process. The main plank of the council's work will be to operate a register of practitioners. It will not judge clinics on whether therapies are effective, but rather on whether they operate a professional and safe business.
To get on to the government-backed register, therapists will have to show they have the right training and experience, abide by a code of conduct and ensure they have insurance in place. Ms Dunn told the BBC News website: "I think most of the profession is operating to good standards, but we know not everyone will be able to register. If that means that people who are not up to scratch are driven out of business, I will not cry for them."
There are over 150,000 complementary medicine therapists working in the UK. Ms Dunn said she suspected between half and two thirds of them would make it on to the register which would allow them to use the regulator logo on literature and display in shops. Of the rest, some would just need a little extra training to make the grade, but that would still leave many thousands who were not good enough.