The use of alternative or naturopathic therapy is becoming increasingly common in Australia. Complementary therapies include herbal medicine, massage, diet, acupuncture and lifestyle changes. Naturopathy adopts a holistic approach to the maintenance of health and wellness, and may alleviate common conditions such as fatigue, anxiety, stress, pain and irritable bowel.

The use of naturopathy in serious or potentially life-threatening conditions is not recommended, as the benefit is not proven by scientific evidence. In Australia, there is no uniform minimum education standard for entry to practice. There is no way to distinguish qualified practitioners from those with no training. There is no national uniform code of conduct or complaints mechanism for the public to access. Accreditation is offered by many professional associations, however there are major discrepancies in the education and experience requirements to gain accreditation.

Naturopathy is a useful adjunct when practised by competent practitioners with good clinical judgement and safety record. If you wish to seek a naturopath, you must continue seeing your general practitioner, who will be able to advise whether you have a condition that is not treatable by naturopathy. In this instance, further investigations, prescription drugs and conventional treatment are important.

It is important to inform your doctor and specialist that you are seeking alternative care, and notify them of any homeopathic or herbal remedies you are using to avoid interactions.

Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists is the official Web site for the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists, established in 2011 to provide minimum standards of education and practice for naturopathy and herbal medicine

Dr. Mark Moyad, MD, MPH
Dr. Mark Moyad is the Director of Preventive and Complementary Medicine at the Department of Urology, University of Michigan Medical Centre. He has 15 years of experience in Alternative Medicine and has published over 130 articles and authored or co-authored 9 books. Copies of his book, Promoting Wellness for Prostate Cancer Patients, are available for loan from our practice.