Natural Therapist

Community and Health


Massage Therapist



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Helping or advisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

Natural therapists or Naturopath specialise in a range of complementary and alternative medical techniques and remedies (including homeopathy, herbalism and aromatherapy), which they use to Future Growth Strong diagnose, treat and prevent physical illness or dysfunction.

A naturopath provides holistic remedies for physical ailments by assessing the client's lifestyle, including mental, emotional, nutritional and physical habits. They prescribe necessary changes (as well as herbal and natural medicines) to encourage the maintenance of a lifestyle that supports health and wellbeing.

Naturopaths focus on the connection between the structural, biochemical and emotional components of a patient's body in order to treat a range of conditions. They may analyse a patient's diet and lifestyle and develop personalised plans, including prescribed natural medicines and herbal treatments. They also manually stimulate muscles and bones to correct specific bodily ailments, and use a range of other organic techniques to stimulate the body's defence and immune systems Herbal medicine

ANZSCO ID & description: 252213: Treats internal health problems, metabolic disorders and imbalances through treatment of the whole person using natural therapies. Registration or licensing may be required.

Alternative names: Natural therapist, Alternative therapist


Herbalist: A herbalist prescribes and prepares natural remedies specific to their clients' health profiles, using plants and plant parts. These remedies can take the form of tablets, capsules, teas, tinctures, extracts, essential oils (aromatherapy) and other herbal preparations.

Dried herbs

Homeopath: A homeopath prescribes medicines and therapeutic measures to assist the natural tendency of the body to heal itself. A homeopath takes into account the individual's whole physical and emotional environment as well as the specific symptoms of illness.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A naturopath needs:

  • a desire to help people

  • an interest in alternative medical therapies

  • a caring and compassionate nature

  • good communication skills

  • patience and sympathy

  • lateral thinking skills

  • accuracy and sound judgment

  • committed to promoting complementary and alternative medicine as a complement to conventional medical treatments

Duties and Tasks

Natural therapists may perform the following tasks:

  • analyse patients' eating habits and develop personalised nutrition plans

  • prescribe natural medicines such as herbal remedies, vitamin compounds and mineral supplements

  • use organic techniques to stimulate the body's capacity for self-healing

  • examine the iris (the coloured part of the eye) to analyse and treat illness in various organs of the body (known as iridology).

Working conditions

Naturopaths work in natural health clinics, private practice, health-food shops and pharmacies. They may also work from home or travel to their clients’ homes. They need clean and comfortable environments that are warm, well-ventilated and quiet.

Tools and technologies

Naturopaths may use traditional medical equipment such as stethoscopes and thermometers, as well as specialised alternative therapy equipment such as acupressure machines, acupuncture needles, magnifier and iris cameras and electronic diagnostic equipment. They may refer to natural health reference books, and may need to be familiar with natural remedies such as herbs, minerals, vitamins or other homeopathic remedies.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a naturopath, you usually need to complete a qualification in the therapy you wish to specialise in.

Private registered training organisations offer relevant VET courses and bachelor degrees in alternative therapies in Australia. Contact the Australian Natural Therapists Association or the Australian Traditional Medicine Society for more information.

Charles Sturt University, in New South Wales, offers a four and a half year Bachelor of Heath Science (Complementary Medicine). The University of Technology, in Sydney, offers a four year Bachelor of Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology offers a five year Bachelor of Health Science/ Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine).

To practice in Chinese medicine in Australia, you must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. Members are required to obtain a degree to practise Chinese medicine.


Did You Know?

Tea tree oil became a household remedy in many Australian homes and was an essential part of every Australian soldier’s kit during World War II which is probably how the word was spread to the rest of the world on the properties and efficacy of the oil.

Tea tree oil was identified as an antiseptic by the NSW chief botanist in the 1920s.

Tea tree cutters were exempted from service, but with the rise of synthetic antibiotics such as penicillin in the 1950s and 1960s its popularity waned.
(Source: ATTIA)

Community and Health

Helping or advisingSkill Level 2Skill Level 3Skill Level 4

An aromatherapist blends therapeutic plant oils, including essential oils, and uses methods such as topical application, massage and inhalation to promote psychological and physical wellbeing. Future Growth Strong

Aromatherapists treat a variety of physical conditions, illnesses and psychological disorders with essential aromatic oils that are extracted or distilled from flowers, trees, spices, fruits or herbs.

Aromatherapy oils are distilled or volatilized from organic sources, such as roots, leaves, flowers and bark. Most essential oils are too strong in their original form and are diluted with carrier oils to ensure correct and safe absorption.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

In order to carry out the duties of an aromatherapist, practitioners should be able to distinguish between different types of essential oils and know how they affect the body.

This requires knowledge of the history and safety of natural oils.

Other essential knowledge includes knowing the healing properties of certain oils and common therapeutic applications.

  • Excellent organisational,

  • interpersonal, listening and communication skills are essential.

  • Aromatherapists also need to possess a mature, confident, sensitive and empathetic temperament.

Duties and Tasks Aromatherapy

Aromatherapists take a brief medical history of a client before therapy, asking about any existing medical conditions and environmental factors affecting the patient's health. The practitioner then consults with the client about possible drug interactions, and the dosage, purity, and application methods for the necessary therapeutic oils. The practitioner then applies the oil on the client, either through sprays, salt baths, massage oils, or inhalation techniques.

Aromatherapy is a treatment that uses essential oils to promote physical and emotional wellbeing. The typical responsibilities of an aromatherapist include:

  • undertaking patient consultations

  • identifying appropriate essential oils

  • planning and explaining treatment requirements

  • creating blends of oils

  • applying oils (often via therapeutic massage) and undertaking treatment

  • liaising with GPs and making referrals to specialists and other healthcare practitioners

  • providing advice about diet, exercise and lifestyle

  • keeping accurate confidential patient records

  • keeping up to date with research and new developments in the profession

  • managing stock levels

  • marketing and promoting their practice

Working conditions

Professional aromatherapists must know how to use various types of equipment to apply natural oils to patients' bodies.

Some types of equipment used include diffusers, dry evaporators, steamers, and/or vaporizers. They sometimes administer oils that are inhaled or consumed orally. Aromatherapists use essential oils or hydrosols to perform detoxification, massage, and relaxation techniques on clients.

Aromatherapists do not treat medical conditions or offer diagnoses. Instead, their main job is to customize blends of oils to accommodate individual clients for aesthetic purposes or relaxation therapy. Aromatherapists usually work in a medical clinic or spa.

Most aromatherapists are self-employed, working full or part-time from home, from clients' homes or from their own practice. Many work as part of a team of alternative health practitioners for private practices such as specialist and complementary health care clinics and health farms. Some aromatherapists provide additional therapies including massage and reflexology.

Education and training/entrance requirements

Aromatherapy courses in Australia, like the rest of the world, have to include basic units of study that could also be applied to conventional health courses. These courses include anatomy, the nervous system, physiology, psychology and first aid.

Aromatherapy courses are usually tiered according to basic, intermediate and advanced systems, and they usually culminate in a certificate. In order to practice as a licensed aromatherapist, the candidate requires more advanced qualifications, for example, an aromatherapy or alternative healing diploma.

Study modules you’re likely to encounter in an aromatherapy course include theory of essential oils centring on:
•absorption into the human system,
•best methods of extraction
•how to produce and store such vital oils
•the core role of aromatherapy in complementary healing.
•In addition, you will learn about carrier and base oils and how best to match them with essential oils, plus massage therapy and a practical aspect that includes training and case studies.

Practicing aromatherapists can extend their education still further with specialised diplomas in specific fields. Examples are aromatherapy for pregnancy, aromatherapy for menopause (which includes combining natural and alternative therapy with conventional medicine) and aromatherapy for palliative or painkilling, soothing care.

Massage Therapist
Community and Health

Practical or MechanicalAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 4

Massage Therapists perform therapeutic massage and administer body treatments for health, fitness and remedial purposes. Future Growth StrongMassage therapists assess and treat the soft tissue of the body for therapeutic purposes. Massage therapists manipulate muscles and soft-tissue by touch, to relieve pain, help heal injuries, reduce stress and increase relaxation. Massage therapists manipulate people's soft tissue to assist in healing parts of the body that have been injured or left inactive due to age, illness or injury. They talk to their clients about their ailments to assess whether massage therapy is suitable, decide on the form of massage to use, and offer advice on exercise, stretching or relaxation techniques for their patients.


Alternative names: Myotherapist, Soft Tissue Therapist and Sports Therapist.

Specialisations: Different types of massage use different techniques. You may specialise in one technique, such as sports massage or reflexology. Chinese (Tui-Na) Masseur, Remedial Masseur, Shiatsu Therapist, Sports Medicine Masseur, Thai Masseur

Remedial Massage - assists in rehabilitation, pain and injury management.

Therapeutic or Relaxation Massage - promotes wellbeing, improves sleep and treats anxiety and tension.

Sports Massage - treats and prevents injuries, improves recovery and increases flexibility and endurance.

Structural Bodywork - addresses injuries and dysfunction caused by postural and biomechanical strain.

Oncology, Palliative Care and Geriatric Massage - supports the primary care of patients with chronic illnesses, such as cancer.

Pregnancy and Paediatric Massage - supports the primary care of pregnant women and infants.

Knowledge, skills and attributes           

  • physical and mental stamina
  • manual coordination, dexterity and sensitivity
  • patience and concern for people
  • a responsible and mature attitude
  • confidence and comfort in working closely with clients
  • an in-depth knowledge of massage techniques
  • empathy and understanding
  • a smart appearance
  • good personal hygiene.

Massage Therapist
(Source: MassageMag)

Duties and Tasks

  • massaging the soft tissues of the body, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments, to assist healing
  • utilising a range of massage techniques to enhance sports performance and prevent injury
  • administering treatments to promote relaxation, improve circulation and relieve muscle tension
  • assessing and treating specific soft tissue dysfunction and providing rehabilitation advice
  • employing other techniques, such as acupressure or Shiatsu, and complementary aids, such as infra-red lamps, wet compresses, ice, essential oils and herbal and mineral therapies, to assist recovery
  • assessing client's physical condition and case history and advising on stretching exercises and relaxation techniques
  • provide advice about stretching exercises and relaxation techniques
  • ask clients about injuries, issues and medical history
  • evaluate clients by locating painful or tense areas of the body
  • manipulate muscles and other soft tissues using touch and pressure
  • use massage oil to reduce friction during treatments
  • create an ongoing treatment plan
  • document clients' conditions and progress
  • provide clients with guidance on stretching, strengthening, overall relaxation, and how to improve their posture
  • advise clients on how to maintain their wellbeing.

Working conditions

They spend a lot of time standing. Although the work is physically demanding, it requires stamina rather than strength. If you are employed by a massage salon or as part of a health or fitness centre or larger health care facility, you would work a standard number of hours per week, which may include evenings and weekends. As a self-employed massage therapist, you could choose your own working hours to suit the needs of your clients.

You may work in a salon, a healthcare facility, from home or travel to clients' houses or workplaces. Their work environment should be relatively spacious and very clean.

A current drivers' licence is likely to be necessary. If you provide mobile massage, you would also require your own massage table.

Tools and technologies

Massage therapists employ a range of techniques and complementary aids, such as heat and cold packs, tape and essential oils. Massage therapists usually use massage oils and waxes, a massage table or chair, and sheets, towels and pillows.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You usually need a certificate IV in massage therapy or a diploma of remedial massage or another related field to work as a Massage Therapist. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and obtain a National Police Certificate.

Massage therapy is not a registered health profession. However bodies such as the Association of Massage Therapists set professional standards for the industry.

Massage therapists wishing to offer health fund rebates to private health fund members must have completed a Diploma of Remedial Massage.

Employment Opportunities

Massage therapists may be employed in health and fitness clinics, sports clubs, gyms, medical centres and multidisciplinary healthcare practices. They may also find employment with other healthcare practitioners such as chiropractors, physiotherapists and osteopaths. Most massage therapists are self-employed or contract between clinics. There has been a recent increase in employment opportunities in hospitals, particularly in palliative care. The increasing acceptance of complementary therapies to help relieve pain and stress will lead to new openings for massage therapists.

An increase in demand for massage therapists is expected as chiropractors and physiotherapists utilise massage therapy to complement their treatments. The field of sports injury treatment and injury prevention is a growth area. There are also opportunities for massage therapists specialising in relaxation techniques to work at day spas, health retreats and holiday resorts.




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