Healthy Alternatives: five complementary health therapies

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Healthy Alternatives

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There’s a growing acceptance of therapies that are either alternative or complementary to conventional Western medicine in improving health and wellbeing.

We take a look at five of them, and tell you where you can try them for yourself.


Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) 
is a hands-on healing method which utilises Universal energy to provide healing and comfort. The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words, Rei and Ki, meaning – ‘Life Force Energy’.

“The best way to think of a Reiki healing is to imagine the Reiki practitioner as an antenna,” says Reiki Master (Usui and Seichim), Lisa Allmey-LaMaitre of Therapy Masters. “The practitioner tunes in to the energy, or ‘radio station’, that the client needs, and they broadcast this energy directly in to the client. The client simply absorbs the energy that they need. The client’s energy systems are rebalanced and energised.”

Lisa says that during the treatment, clients may feel tingling, warm or cold in different areas of their body. They also describe feeling deeply relaxed, at ease and calm.

The concept of the body being able to absorb energy and rebalance itself is aligned with the principles of qi flow and meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but Lisa was initially sceptical of the practice.

“I was first introduced to Reiki in my gap year between school and uni. I wasn’t overly sold on the idea of ‘hands on’ healing. I was about to study a science degree and my focus at the time was on facts and quantifiable data. Little did I know that 15 years later, I would experience Reiki from the practitioner’s side of the treatment table.”

Therapy Masters | Level 1, 131 City Walk, Canberra City
 | 02 6247 0662 |


Acupuncture is a medical science which originated in China over 2000 years ago. At the heart 
of acupuncture theory is that everything is interconnected or interdependent and balance results in health.

“Acupuncture works by sending signals to your brain, which in turn then effects a change within your body,” says Kal Ientile, director of Ki Acupuncture. “Acupuncture can treat pain, injury and speed up the rehabilitation process. Anxiety and depression respond very well to acupuncture, as do digestive complaints and sleep disturbances.”

Hay fever can also be managed effectively (which is fortunate for the 21 per cent of Canberrans who suffer with it), and there is also a lot acupuncture can help with in the areas of fertility, pregnancy support and women’s health. “All types of medicine have their strengths and weaknesses,” says Kal.

“If I were diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, I’d have my chemo and surgery … I’d also have acupuncture for the nausea,
pain, loss of energy and appetite. There’s no need for ‘conventional’ versus ‘alternative’ medicine, we’re all aiming for the same goal: the best possible health outcomes for our patients.”

Ki Acupuncture | 6/16 Moore Street, Canberra City | 02 6181 0710 |

Intermittent Hypoxic Therapy

Intermittent Hypoxic Therapy (IHT) delivers modified air containing lower oxygen levels for a few minutes at a time (stress), interspersed with periods of higher oxygen levels (rest).

“Research has shown that adaptation to one type of stress or load will, to some extent, increase the body’s ability to cope with stresses of another type,” says Tubi Oyston, Wellness Consultant with World of Wellbeing.

“IHT originated in Russia where researchers wanted to find a solution to acclimatising pilots and cosmonauts to low-oxygen environments — through their research it was found
 that adaptation to altitude 
has tremendous potential for enhancing the health and wellbeing of the average person.”

“In 1991 researchers reported a 100 per cent increase in serotonin in patients subjected to three weeks of intermittent hypoxic therapy; this corresponded with an increase in dopamine levels by 25-30 per cent. These changes directly produce calmness, less impulsivity with greater focus and attention to task.”

Tubi says that research has shown IHT helps with concentration, learning, performance, anxiety and depression, energy levels, exercise recovery and stamina, stress management and sleep.

World of Wellbeing | Canberra Health Point, 
Level 2, 16 Wilbow Street, Phillip | 02 6260 4774 |


Kinesiology combines ancient and modern wisdom and techniques of both Eastern and Western healing practices and is one of the fastest growing complementary medicine modalities in Australia.

“A kinesiologist talks to your body by monitoring your muscles in their contracted state where stress will show as either excess or deficient,” says Kate Pamphilon, kinesiologist at the Live Well Spa & Wellness Centre.

“The body guides the practitioner to where your stressors lie, usually a combination of: physical, physiological, emotional, mental, or spiritual and helps 
to release them through a range of non-invasive techniques such as acupressure, flower essences, sound therapy, light therapy, essential oils, physical corrections, and esoteric energy healing.”

Kinesiology can be used to treat stress, anxiety, depression and grief, immune system deficiency, reproductive health, skin and digestive disorders, pain, genetic patterns and sleep.

“Being holistic, natural and gentle, it means that those who see a kinesiologist are excited about the changes they see and feel through the powerful technique of ‘muscle testing’.”

Live Well Spa and Wellness Centre | 35 Murray Crescent, Manuka | 02 6295 0400 |


Naturopathy is a system of healthcare that works by restoring your body’s innate ability to return to a state of balance. The origins of naturopathy can be traced back to the time of Hippocrates over 2000 years ago, where he developed a system of healthcare that was not religious or mystical in nature, but rather formed upon ‘rational conclusions’ and ‘logical deductions’ of the human body and nature.

“Instead of trying to just suppress unwanted symptoms, naturopathic treatment works on identifying and addressing the root cause of your health concerns and treating them with holistic therapies, including nutritional and herbal medicine as well as lifestyle practices,” says Shanna Choudhary, naturopath with Live Well Spa and Wellness Centre.

Naturopathy views and treats the person as the sum of all parts, taking the symptomatic picture and clinical observations of an individual’s physical, mental and emotional status, as well as behavioural, nutritional and environmental aspects into account.

It can be commonly used to treat conditions such as stress, anxiety, mood, and mental health disorders; fatigue; gut and digestive health; hormonal and reproductive health, and fertility; and immune and autoimmune conditions.

“Symptoms don’t manifest
out of thin air, they arise due 
to underlying issues with the body’s organ systems. Treating each symptom in isolation may help a little, but treating the underlying organ systems that
are affected using a combination of holistic approaches will not only resolve symptoms but restore overall wellbeing,” Shanna says.

Live Well Spa and Wellness Centre | 35 Murray Crescent, Manuka | 02 6295 0400 |

The information provided in this article is provided for information purposes only. You should seek assistance from a health care professional when interpreting these materials and applying them to your individual circumstances. If you have any concerns about your health, consult your general practitioner. Information provided in this article does not imply endorsement of third-party services or products and cannot provide you with health and medical advice.

You can read this article in full and more in our latest edition of Magazine: Break The Mould. Available for free while stocks last. Click here to find your closest stockist. 

Magazine Break The Mould Cover

Image of ‘calm woman…‘ via Shutterstock

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