Comprehensive and informative retirement solutions for Australians.

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Alternative therapies

There are many types of complementary or alternative therapies that you might consider to help you and aid in your health as you age. These therapies are to compliment other conventional medical treatments that you are receiving, and should not replace them. Discuss any alternative therapies that you are wanting to engage in with your G.P. first to ensure that these therapies are safe for you.

Some of the more popular therapies include the following:

  • Naturopathy
  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Yoga
  • Herbal medicine


Naturopathy adopts an holistic approach to health. It’s a complimentary therapy with the underlying belief that diseases can be prevented and treated through adopting a healthy lifestyle. It promotes the use of techniques such as exercise, diet management plans, vitamin supplements, exercising and stress management.

As you get older, you might like to explore natural therapies. But be aware that Naturopathy should not replace conventional treatment of serious and chronic illnesses. Rather it should be used as a complimentary therapy. Be wary of any Naturopath who advises you to abandon your conventional medical treatment.



Acupuncture is a Chinese medicine that’s been around for thousands of years. Essentially, fine needles are inserted into specific points of the skin layers (at acupuncture points). People may use acupuncture for a variety of reasons.

Person practicing acupuncture

Some of the reasons that older Australians use acupuncture for includes to improve sleep, manage and improve pain, and to relieve nausea from medications such as chemotherapy agents. Whatever the reason, the focus of acupuncture is on healing and restoring health. Be aware that in Australia Acupuncturists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Check that your chosen practitioner is registered before you engage in any treatment.


Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy that uses aromatic, essential oils to improve physical and psychological well-being. Oils can be applied topically, inhaled from using diffusers or oil burners, or used through massage. But be aware that some plant oils are toxic. They should never be swallowed or applied to the skin undiluted.

For seniors there could be some health benefits in using aromatherapy oils. The use of different scents can evoke positive memories. And different smells can also be soothing and relaxing.

Four small essential oils


Shot of a group of elderly people sitting on mats in a park and exercising

Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline that focuses on the mind, body and spirit. In western societies Yoga in Australia is often practiced through meditation and exercise and focuses on posture. However there are many forms of yoga to explore.

Yoga is typically a great form of activity for seniors. The health benefits from yoga are extensive. Not only do you get to socialise and interact before and after classes, you’ll also have the benefits of increasing muscle tone, improving balance, improving strength and improving your mood. With an abundance of choices out there, do your research first and find a yoga class to suit your ability and interests.

Herbal medicine

Herbal medicine is an ancient therapy that uses plants to treat illnesses, improve health and maintain balance so the body can heal.

Older adults taking herbal medicines alongside prescription medications are at risk of negative interactions that could be harmful. You should be cautious when taking herbal medications and be sure to disclose what you’re taking to your prescribing doctor. Why you may ask? Well, many conventional medicines can contain products that are also found in the herbal medicines and doubling up can be dangerous to your health. Other risks in taking herbal medications include allergic reactions and other symptoms such as vomiting and headaches.

Cup of herbal tea