Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Community and Health


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Chinese Medicine Practitioners treat imbalances of energy flows through the body by assessing the whole person and using techniques and methods such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, diet, exercise and breathing therapy. Future Growth StrongA traditional Chinese medicine practitioner practices a form of traditional complementary medicine (CM). They are trained to diagnose and treat a range of conditions. Treatments may include acupuncture, herbal medicine, remedial massage, exercise and breathing therapy, and diet and lifestyle advice. Chinese medicine practitioners must be registered under the national registration and accreditation scheme with the AHPRA Chinese Medicine Board of Australia.

Oriental medicine practitioners use forms of acupuncture and treatment through the Chinese concept of “qi,” which means energy. Oriental medicine treats a variety of ailments including headaches, back pain, arthritis, or other illnesses by identifying patterns of imbalance within a body’s energy levels and working to readjust fluids or tissues in order to keep the body in balance and relieve pain. Oriental medicine techniques include acupuncture, cupping, acupressure, and herbal supplements that are applied to specific body parts or tissues. Practitioners must be able to evaluate a patient’s symptoms and identify what organs or tissues are causing the ailment, and come up with a customized plan that incorporates oriental herbs and practices into a treatment.

ANZSCO ID: 252214

Alternative names: Oriental Medicine Practitioner, Chinese Medical Practitioner, Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner, TCM,


  • Chinese Herbalist

  • Acupuncturist [on a different page]- treats disorders and illnesses by inserting fine, sterile needles into specific points on the skin to stimulate the body's defence mechanisms.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • good communication skills

  • good analytical skills

  • patient, tactful and compassionate

  • interest in health and wellbeing

Chinese Medicine Practitioner
(Source: YourCareer)


Duties and Tasks

Chinese medicine practitioners may perform the following tasks:

  • Assesses patients to determine the nature of the disorder, illness, problem or need by questioning, examining and observing.
  • Diagnose health problems through discussions with the patient, checking the patient's pulse and tongue, and observing abnormalities in sleep, appetite, perspiration and body temperature
  • Develops and implements treatment plans using techniques and methods such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, diet, exercise and breathing therapy.
  • Formulate traditional Chinese medicine treatment plans based on the patient's diagnosis
  • Evaluates and documents patients' progress through treatment plans.
  • Provides dietary and lifestyle advice and guidelines.
  • Prescribes natural medicines, such as herbal, mineral and animal extracts, to stimulate the body's capacity for self-healing.
  • Prescribe medicinal substances derived from roots, flowers, seeds and leaves in the form of teas, capsules, tinctures or powders
  • Advise on dietary and lifestyle choices
  • Apply other therapies such as acupuncture, cupping (applying a heated cup to the skin to create suction), tui na, and exercise and breathing therapy

Working conditions

An oriental medicine practitioner must feel comfortable working closely with the human body and inserting needles into specific joints or tissues. They must also be calm and friendly in order to make patients feel comfortable, as they may have to remove clothes or wear nothing but a towel or drape.

Most oriental medicine practitioners work in a hospital or private clinic. Most procedures involve the use of calming relaxation techniques, so it is important for a practitioner to make sure the room and environment is relaxing for the patient. Some rooms and procedures may involve candlelight or incense, so it is the practitioner’s job to make sure the environment and atmosphere is just right for the patient.

Some oriental medicine practitioners work in hospitals where the environment can become stressful or tense if patients are dealing with extreme pain or illness. Hospital practitioners will need to be able to maintain a calm disposition with patients even in a stressful or uncomfortable situation. It is their job to relax the patient and help to quickly treat any extreme pain.

Traditional Chinese Practitioner
(Source: University of Queensland News)

Tools and technologies

Oriental medicine techniques include acupuncture, cupping, acupressure, and herbal supplements that are applied to specific body parts or tissues. Acupuncture treatments involve the use of needles being placed in joints and tissues. Cupping involves using cups as a suction equipment to help release toxins from within the body. Acupressure is a form of massage that applies pressure on various points in order to relieve pain in other body parts. Herbal supplements are used to treat ailments from the inside and flush toxins out that may be the cause.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You usually need a bachelor degree in traditional Chinese medicine or health science majoring in traditional Chinese medicine to work as a Chinese Medicine Practitioner.

To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, biology, chemistry, and earth and environmental science are normally required. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in health science with a major in Chinese medicine. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study.

Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate, immunisations and a Working with Children Check (NSW) or a Working with Vulnerable People Check (ACT).

Employment Opportunities

Most Chinese medicine practitioners work in private practice, but some join other healthcare professionals in multidisciplinary centres. Some may also work in research or operate as consultants. employment opportunities depend on the level of community awareness and acceptance of alternative healthcare practices.

Most oriental medicine practitioners start off working for a hospital or massage therapy clinic. Over time, many practitioners move on to become self-employed, performing Chinese medicine out of their home or own personal clinic. Many also become trained in massage therapy to provide those services to patients as well. There are many business opportunities in oriental medicine between medical advancements and the demand from patients who want to incorporate therapy practices into their life.

Did You Know?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) system of medicine, at least 23 centuries old, that aims to prevent or heal disease by maintaining or restoring yinyang balance. China has one of the world’s oldest medical systems.

 Acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies date back at least 2,200 years, although the earliest known written record of Chinese medicine is the Huangdi neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic) from the 3rd century BCE. That opus provided the theoretical concepts for TCM that remain the basis of its practice today.

In essence, traditional Chinese healers seek to restore a dynamic balance between two complementary forces, yin (passive) and yang (active), which pervade the human body as they do the universe as a whole. According to TCM, a person is healthy when harmony exists between these two forces; illness, on the other hand, results from a breakdown in the equilibrium of yin and yang.



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Material sourced from
CareersOnline [Chinese Medicine Practitioner;]
Careers State University [Oriental Medicine Practitioner; ]
Better Health Victoria [Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Service;]

  Your Career [Chinese Medicine Practitioner; ]

Chinese Medicine Practitioner



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