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Holistic, Traditional & Allied Health

There are a range of traditional and complementary medical approaches that use a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, and non-pharmaceutical approaches to treatment. Complementary therapies aim to treat the whole person, focussing on the root cause of the disease and not just the symptoms.

When selecting a traditional or allied health practitioner things to consider include:

  • Qualifications – expect most allied health practitioners to hold a bachelor’s degree as a minimum standard,
  • Registration (if relevant) with a governing body such as Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) which has a practitioner search function you can access here,
  • Membership with their professions corresponding professional body (including up-to-date insurance and first aid)
  • DO NOT look for testimonials – these are forbidden to be used by doctors and other regulated health professionals

It is worth noting that some herbs have potent ingredients, are regulated by the TGA and should be treated with the same care and respect as pharmaceutical drugs. Always see a qualified health practitioner.

AHPRA Regulated Health Professions


Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine and consists of inserting fine needles into specific points on the body to restore harmony and improve wellbeing. An acupuncture practitioner may feel a person’s pulse, look at their tongue or palpate the body to establish where and why an energetic imbalance is occurring. Acupuncture pins are then inserted into meridians (the bodies energy channels) to restore balance and promote the bodies natural healing ability.  Acupuncture is usually painless and many people drift off to sleep during a treatment. Research supports acupunctures’ effectiveness for certain types of pain including back, knee, headache, post operative pain, nausea and vomiting. There is also some evidence that acupuncture may be effective for conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and menopausal hot flushes. You can find out more and read the Acupuncture Evidence Project here. 

Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine is a system of medicine that is over 3,000 years old. It is a holistic style of medicine which considers a person (including their emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing) in the context of their lifestyle, diet and environment. As each person and their circumstances are unique, so will each persons treatment be unique as the practitioner works with the body to restore balance. Chinese medicine may include herbal medicine, dietary therapy, lifestyle advice, acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion (burning a herb called mugwort on acupuncture points) or massage (tui na).  In China, hospitals have Chinese medicine departments where this style of medicine is used alongside Western Medicine. You can find a registered Chinese Medical Practitioner in your area here.


Chiropractic treatment focusses on spinal health. A chiropractic treatment may include spinal adjustments (“cracking”) or low force manipulations. If you would like to find out more about chiropractic treatment you can contact the Australian Chiropractic Association, you can search for a practitioner here.  


Osteopathy recognises the importance of the musculoskeletal and neural system to a person’s health and wellbeing, and looks at the body as a whole.  An osteopath will ask you questions about your health and lifestyle, look at your stance and palpate the body. An osteopathic treatment could include massage, gentle manipulation or a spinal adjustment depending on your practitioner and your needs.  To find out more about osteopathy you can check out Osteopathy Australia’s website. You can find a registered practitioner here. 


Physiotherapy involves the diagnosis and management of a range of musculoskeletal conditions. A physiotherapist may give you exercises to do at home to help promote recovery. A physiotherapy appointment will include a physical assessment and may include massage, joint manipulation and guided exercises. To find out more about physiotherapy you can check out the Australian Physiotherapy Association website. You can find a registered practitioner here.

Exercise Physiology

Exercise physiologists are Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) registered and qualified allied health professionals who specialise in clinical exercise interventions for people with a broad range of health issues. This may include acute, sub-acute or chronic medical conditions, injuries, or disabilities. Through behavioural coaching, health education, exercise counselling and physical rehabilitation, the aim of exercise physiology is to restoring a person’s physical function, health or wellness. You can find out more about exercise physiology on the ESSA website.

Complementary & Traditional Therapies


  • Ayurveda is an ancient healing system from India that uses a range of techniques to treat illness and encourage wellbeing.
  • Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that claims to stimulate and strengthen the body’s ability to heal itself.
  • Kinesiology uses muscle monitoring to look at imbalances that may be causing disease in the body.
  • Massage such as Remedial, Shiatsu, and Kahuna
  • Naturopathy uses a range of treatments such as Western Herbal Medicine, vitamin and mineral supplements, dietary therapy, flower essences or sometimes massage to stimulate your body’s own healing powers. Naturopaths can write referrals for blood tests (there is usually a pathology charge for this) and alongside asking you lots of questions about yourself, may do blood, urine or hair analysis, iridology (looking at the eyes), or sometimes muscle testing like in kinesiology. 

For more information on traditional medicine, visit Better Health

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