It is estimated that one in five Britons visit the 150,000 complementary healthcare practitioners operating in the UK.
The register will be a "hallmark of quality" for the sector, according to the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).
Alternative medicine practitioners involved in massage and nutrition will be the first to sign up to the register, with more disciplines expected to follow including the Alexander technique, aromatherapy, the Bowen technique, cranial therapy, homeopathy, naturopathy, reflexology, reiki, shiatsu and yoga.
Practitioners must be able to prove they have the experience and training to meet national standards in order to register.
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."
But he added: "People should always seek their GP's advice to ensure that any other therapy they use does not conflict with orthodox treatment," he concluded.