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New Zealand – Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) refers to a range of therapies, treatments, and practices that are not considered part of conventional Western medicine. These practices aim to promote wellness, prevent illness, and treat various health conditions. In New Zealand, CAM has become increasingly popular in recent years, and many people are turning to these therapies as an alternative or complement to conventional medicine.

CAM Practices in New Zealand

New Zealand has a diverse range of CAM practices available, including:

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to promote the flow of energy (known as “qi”) throughout the body and can help treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, and digestive disorders.

In New Zealand, there are many acupuncture practitioners available, and the New Zealand Acupuncture Standards Authority (NZASA) is the main professional organisation for acupuncturists in the country. Their website (https://www.acupuncture.org.nz/) provides information about acupuncture, a list of registered practitioners, and a search function to find an acupuncturist in your area.

Homeopathy


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Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine based on the principle of “like cures like.” It involves using highly diluted substances that would cause symptoms in a healthy person to treat similar symptoms in someone who is ill. Homeopathy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including allergies, asthma, and digestive disorders.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths (NZCH) is the main professional organisation for homeopathic practitioners. Their website (https://www.homeopathy.ac.nz/) provides information about homeopathy, a list of registered practitioners, and a search function to find a homeopath in your area.

Herbal medicine

Herbal medicine involves the use of plant extracts and other natural substances to treat various health conditions. It is one of the oldest forms of medicine and has been used for centuries to promote wellness and treat illness.

In New Zealand, there are many herbal medicine practitioners available, and the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists (NZAMH) is the main professional organisation for herbal medicine practitioners. Their website (https://www.nzamh.org.nz/) provides information about herbal medicine, a list of registered practitioners, and a search function to find a herbal medicine practitioner in your area.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a form of manual therapy that focuses on the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. It involves the use of spinal manipulation and other techniques to alleviate pain and improve function.

In New Zealand, chiropractors are regulated by the Chiropractic Board of New Zealand, the main professional organisation for chiropractors in the country. Their website (https://chiropracticboard.org.nz/) provides information about chiropractic, a list of registered practitioners, and a search function to find a chiropractor in your area.

Naturopathy

Naturopathy is a holistic approach to healthcare that aims to promote wellness and prevent illness. It involves the use of natural therapies, such as nutrition, herbal medicine, and lifestyle changes, to help the body heal itself.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Society of Naturopaths (NZSN) is the main professional organisation for naturopathic practitioners. Their website (https://www.naturopath.org.nz/) provides information about naturopathy, a list of registered practitioners, and a search function to find a naturopath in your area.

Regulation of CAM in New Zealand

In New Zealand, CAM practices are not regulated in the same way as conventional medicine. However, many CAM practitioners belong to professional organisations that have established their own regulations and standards of practice. These organisations help ensure that practitioners are properly trained and qualified to provide CAM services.

The New Zealand government has established certain regulations for CAM practices that involve invasive procedures, such as acupuncture and chiropractic. These regulations require practitioners to meet certain educational and training requirements and to comply with specific safety and hygiene standards.

Integration of CAM and Conventional Medicine

The New Zealand healthcare system has a growing interest in integrating CAM and conventional medicine. Many hospitals and healthcare centres in the country offer CAM services alongside conventional medical treatments. Patients are often encouraged to take an active role in their healthcare and to explore a range of options, including CAM therapies.

The New Zealand government has also established the Complementary and Alternative Health Treatments (CAHT) Register, which provides information about CAM practices and their integration with conventional medicine. The register works to promote safe and effective use of CAM in healthcare and to improve the quality of CAM education and research in New Zealand.

Insurance Coverage for CAM

In New Zealand, some CAM services are covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), which provides injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors. This coverage includes acupuncture and chiropractic treatments for injuries resulting from accidents.

Some private health insurance companies also offer coverage for CAM therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic. These services may be covered under a supplementary insurance plan, which is optional and requires an additional premium.

Complementary and alternative medicine is a growing field in New Zealand, with many people finding these therapies to be a valuable addition to their healthcare options. The country has a diverse range of CAM practices available, including acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, chiropractic, and naturopathy.

While CAM practices are not regulated in the same way as conventional medicine in New Zealand, many CAM practitioners belong to professional organisations that have established their own regulations and standards of practice. Additionally, the New Zealand government has established certain regulations for CAM practices that involve invasive procedures, such as acupuncture and chiropractic.

The New Zealand healthcare system is increasingly interested in integrating CAM and conventional medicine, and many hospitals and healthcare centres in the country offer CAM services alongside conventional medical treatments. Some CAM services are covered by the ACC, and some private health insurance companies offer coverage for CAM therapies.

Overall, CAM is becoming an increasingly important part of the healthcare landscape in New Zealand, providing people with more options for wellness and treatment of health conditions.


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