Natural therapies in Australia: a nurse-naturopath’s view.
As a health care professional with a special interest in natural medicine, I have had the good fortune to live and work in Australia at a time when tremendous development has occurred in this exciting field. Like North America, Australia has an indigenous population with a long history of natural medicine, a number of traditional systems of medicine transplanted via migration, and not a few fringe therapies recently rediscovered. A confusing array of terms is used to describe this broad collection of therapies. My own preference is for “natural” therapies/medicine, which originally indicated nonuse of drugs and surgery. This leaves a broad scope for use of other substances and processes, although it remains a problematic term. (For example, is a vitamin pill, a synthetic and concentrated product of technology, “natural”?) This article briefly describes the current status of natural therapies in Australia, and some of the ways that nurses are involved in the growing use and acceptance of natural therapeutic interventions.