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Natural medicine: The importance of finding an accredited practitioner


Natural Medicine

Toa Heftiba, Unsplash

Why you should choose an accredited natural medicine practitioner

Did you know that not every natural medicine practitioner is accredited? This means you could be paying for a practitioner that doesn’t maintain professional and ongoing training or adhere to an association’s code of conduct.

Australia has a flourishing and growing natural medicine industry, with 8.1 million people regularly using complementary medicines. Natural medicine practitioners work with their client’s health from a holistic (whole body) approach and can help manage and provide support for a wide range of issues. Many clients with chronic illnesses find natural medicines invaluable in supporting and maintaining their health.

As demand increases for the industry, so does the amount of choice for your health and wellbeing; and there is an abundance of professional practitioners qualified in nutrition, herbal medicine, naturopathy, remedial massage, acupuncture, homeopathy and more. Unfortunately, as with any industry, there are a few cowboys out there and that’s why it’s important to ensure you choose a properly trained and accredited practitioner.

So, how do you choose a practitioner that’s right for you and why does it matter if they are accredited?

Christine Pope, naturopath and director of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS), explains the different types of therapies and why it’s important to choose an accredited practitioner.

“I’ve been an accredited practitioner for nearly 15 years, a lecturer and a mentor, but before becoming an active member in the natural medicine community, I didn’t know anything about how associations work and what they do to protect the consumers. Here are some frequently asked questions and a breakdown of what it means for your practitioner to be accredited with an industry association,” she shares.

What is natural medicine?

Natural medicine as a profession includes many types of therapies or modalities. They fall into three categories:

  1. Bodywork and Massage
  2. Chinese Medicine
  3. Ingestive

Bodywork and Massage

Bodywork and Massage encompasses therapeutic techniques involving the body and predominantly aims to assess and improve structure and function. All massage techniques are considered forms of bodywork. Types of bodywork and massage include:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Bowen Therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Clinical Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis
  • Counselling
  • Kinesiology
  • Lymphatic Drainage
  • Myofascial Release
  • Polarity Therapy
  • Osteopathy
  • Reflexology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Shiatsu
  • Traditional Thai Massage

Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine has the longest history of any medical system in the world, originating in ancient China and evolving over thousands of years to be a complete medical system. Chinese Medicine is used to identify, treat and prevent illness, with the underlying viewing of the human body and the mind as an interconnected energetic system. Types of Chinese Medicine include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Chinese Massage Therapy 

Ingestive

Ingestive modalities include any form of treatment that is consumed by the human body. Practitioners invite patients to be active participants because many of these therapies require changes in diet, lifestyle and habits. Types of Ingestive practices include:

  • Ayurveda
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Homoeopathy
  • Naturopathy
  • Nutrition
  • Tibetan Medicine

What does it mean to be an accredited practitioner?

Australia’s natural medicine associations have strict guidelines and rules governing accreditation and recognition. If you want to be 100 per cent confident when choosing a practitioner, then make sure they are accredited.

Being accredited means the practitioner is a professional member of an association, like ATMS, that has more than 10,000 accredited members upholding its code of conduct. It also means they are qualified, staying up-to-date on their type of therapy and are completing regular training in their profession (a requirement to maintain membership).

Why should you see an ATMS-accredited practitioner?

ATMS-accredited practitioners complete a minimum level of training before they qualify. The training ensures that practitioners have an appropriate level of knowledge and clinical practise before they start seeing clients and operate within their scope of practice.

They undergo continuous training to ensure they maintain and develop their clinical skills, gaining a minimum number of points each year to stay accredited.

Accredited practitioners in massage, acupuncture, chiropractic and nutrition are listed with private health funds and therefore you may receive a partial rebate on the cost of treatment. Generally, it’s recommended you check with your health fund about your coverage as fund benefits can vary.

Accredited practitioners are required to hold professional indemnity insurance and maintain current training in First Aid.

How do you find an accredited practitioner?

Look out for the ATMS stamp of approval. Recently, all ATMS members received a special window sticker and poster that states: “I’m an Accredited Practitioner of ATMS”.

Our advice would be to simply ask your practitioner which professional association they are a member of and then verify their details on the website.

Alternatively, you can find an accredited practitioner on the ATMS website by visiting: atms.com.au/find-practitioner.

Love natural medicine?

Save the date for Natural Medicine Week from 25-31 May, 2020. Support your local accredited practitioners and take advantage of the great offers. To find out more, visit naturalmedicineweek.com.au and atms.com.au.

 



 

Charlie Hale

Charlie Hale is the Deputy Editor of WellBeing, EatWell and WILD. ​She writes about a plethora of things women care about — from pasta to politics and everything in between.