Complementary Health Care in Australia

I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about Complementary Health Care in Australia. This area of health care is well-established, evolving over a thirty year period and is world-class, supporting research, employment and manufacturing. What are the figures of use in Australia though? Who uses it? How much is the industry worth? What classifies as complementary medicine and how much is it growing by?


Some complementary therapies have a long history of use and include Naturopathy, nutritional medicine, yoga, pilates, massage, osteopathy, chiropractic, herbal medicine, chinese medicine, accupuncture, hydrotherapy, hypnotherapy and eiditation, but there are many more practices out there. 


  • According to 2017 data total complementary product sales have now reached in excess of $4.9 billion. This includes supplements sold from health food stores, pharmacies, supermarkets and online shopping.

  • Two out of three Australians use some form of complementary medicine rising to 87% within certain patient groups.

  • Australians spent $2 billion in out of pocket expenses on complementary medicines in 2010–11. This is more than the out of pocket contribution to pharmaceuticals of $1.6 billion.

  • According to research conducted by Remplan in 2017, the Australian complementory medicine sector supports 29100 jobs.

  • Complementary medicines represent a substantial,  growing industry  with manufacturing jobs and export potential.

  • Australian Government support for complementary medicine research is minimal with only .2% of total funding given from 2003-2012 and falling in 2012 to $1.24 million out of $780 million.

Finding current statistics is difficult as there is no universal body tracking numbers.


I firmly believe my role as a naturopath is with education and preventative health. After all, are we not better off preventing illness via nutrition, lifestyle and therapeutic supplementation/herbs, than adding to an already overburdened healthcare system?