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Private Health Fund Rebates for Natural Therapies

Important Update on Private Health Fund Rebates for Naturopathy

Changes to legislation taken effect 1st April 2019 cut a range of natural therapies from private health cover rebates, including Naturopathy.

As a result of this implemented legislation change, this is the first time in my fifteen-year consulting career that I have not been able to offer a rebate on my Naturopathic consultation services to clients!

This has been understandably distressing to some, and to be fair, seems a little limiting from every angle, especially considering the prolific prevalence of many natural therapies and complementary medicine in Australia.

According to research published 2018  over 60% of the Australian Population already use complementary medicines, and over 30% of the Australian adult population consult with a complementary medicine practitioner each year, such as a Naturopath, Massage therapist, Yoga therapy, Tai chi, or Western herbal medicine practitioner. The authors quote that “Prevalence of CM use in Australia has remained consistently high, demonstrating that CM is an established part of contemporary health management practices within the general population”.

Clearly ill-informed, the change to the legislation was based on a paper written by opponents of Natural Therapies, which was inadequate and incorrectly quoted that there was “no evidence for efficacy” of “non-conventional” therapies such as Yoga, Tai chi, Western herbal medicine, and Naturopathy. This opinion was based on evidence inadequately reviewed, up to 2015.

What the researchers were not aware of, is that Naturopathic medicine is indeed effective in preventing and managing a range of chronic conditions, and a huge number of well-respected papers have been published since 2015.

Just to be clear, The World Naturopathic Federation has identified seven core modalities of naturopathic medicine:

  • clinical nutrition and diet modification/counselling;
  • applied nutrition (use of dietary supplements, traditional medicines, and natural health care products);
  • herbal medicine;
  • lifestyle counselling;
  • hydrotherapy;
  • homeopathy, including complex homeopathy; and
  • physical modalities (based on the treatment modalities taught and allowed in each jurisdiction, including yoga, naturopathic manipulation, and muscle release techniques).

The top four modalities are the very foundation of my clinical practice, and I don’t believe that the outstanding clinical improvements I see day-in and day-out in private clinical practice are a coincidence… the opposite in fact… when someone’s body is supported to restore balance, dis-ease often resolves. I am very lucky to do what I do.

Ultimately, it’s logical. What we choose to eat, our exercise and lifestyle habits (such as stress-management practices, sleep hygiene, and regular exposure to environmental chemicals) all have enormous cumulative impacts on our expression of health and disease.

Are we really anything more than the sum of our daily habits?

To highlight this, an open-access Review published 2019, titled: The State of the Evidence for Whole-System, Multi-Modality Naturopathic Medicine: A Systematic Scoping Review, outlined that Naturopathic medicine was found to be beneficial for a wide range of chronic conditions including cardiovascular disorders, musculoskeletal pain, type 2 diabetes, PCOS, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, hepatitis C, menopausal symptoms, bipolar disorder, asthma and in increasing cancer survival time.

The researchers identified 33 published studies involving 9,859 participants. The studies came from research conducted across the globe and included 11 USA; 4 Canada; 6 Germany; 7 India; 3 Australia; 1 UK; and 1 Japan (the paper from Japan covered a range of mainly chronic clinical conditions). The main author of this Systematic Scoping Review, Professor Stephen Myers, says “This study coupled with the large body of literature which demonstrates the effectiveness of individual naturopathic tools of trade (nutritional and herbal supplements and lifestyle interventions) there can no longer be any doubt that naturopathic medicine is an effective approach to chronic disease.”

So, needless to say, my stance is that choosing modalities that educate and empower clients to make informed and constructive choices, preventing disease and helping to delay progression of pre-existing conditions, therefore minimising the need for pharmaceutical intervention, and reducing incidence of potentially more harmful interventions such as surgery, contemporary and complementary medicine choices such as clinical nutrition and applied nutrition, lifestyle medicine, and evidence-informed use of Western herbal is GOOD MEDICINE.

Regardless of your own position, it’s unanimous that we should all have the CHOICE when it comes to our own health.

As always in Naturopathic & Nutritional Medicine – it is essential to move fast and to be nimble and adaptable, to keep up with the changes.

As soon as 7th April, less than a week after the legislation was implemented, and after much lobbying from leaders in our industry / health practitioners / and patients alike (plus the groundswell of support from the public who have had good experiences with Natural therapies!), the Federal government announced their decision to review the removal of certain natural therapies from private health insurance.

You can view the media Release, here.

This is a positive step forward for Natural medicine and the review will begin mid this year and will include a five-year update to its 2014-2015 review of Natural Therapies.

So, for now, it’s a matter of “watch this space”. It’s likely that the review WILL re-instate rebates to Natural therapies such as Naturopathy and Western Herbal medicine, but in the meantime, I will continue to receipt with all of my provider numbers and it’s really up to your own unique private health funds to make the decision as to whether you are eligible to receive a rebate on your consultation fee.

I hope this summary has cleared up some of the confusion, and I very much look forward to seeing you in the clinic soon.

Tabitha x


2015 Integrative Healthcare Symposium in NYC


International HealthCare Symposium in New York, Feb 2015.

This Symposium was a privilege to attend, and a gathering of some of the world’s leading integrative medicine practitioners and researchers. It was truly uplifting, and I hoped to share with you a quick summary below of some of the outstanding things I learned.

One of my standouts was Dr Phillip Landrigan, an extraordinarily accomplished person (who’s Bio takes three days to read), is an American epidemiologist and pediatrician and one of the world’s leading advocates of children’s health. His pioneering work in the 1970’s led to removal of lead from gasoline many years ago. His efforts were instrumental to a measurable and timely reduction in blood lead levels in American children and public. He’s extremely humble, accomplished, and one of my personal and professional heroes.










I was lucky enough to see Dr Philip Landrigan speak about exposures to toxins in paediatrics. The environment is a very big determinant in health for all of us, but particularly in children. He discussed evidence behind environmental causation in disease being strongest in asthma, and in neurodevelopment disorders, and the major costs that this places on society. He passionately discussed the complete failure of chemical regulation around the world, and shared some take home messages about the necessity of identifying in consultation with families, people high at risk to environmental chemical exposures, to asbestos, lead, pesticides, plastics, and flouride. I have implemented some of his specific questioning into my  work and his talk was very aligned with the current Book project I am undertaking with Dr Sarah Lantz. Hearing him speak was so consolidating to the work we have already invested.

I also heard inspiring speakers such as Aviva Romm (MD, Midwife and Herbalist) & Dr Lise Alschuler (Naturopathic Doctor and Naturopathic Oncologist) speak of the adverse physiological and physical effects of stress, particularly on overloaded women. “Allostatic load” is also a major driver of salt, fat and sugar intake. Strategies to better manage our responses to stressors around us were discussed, as well as the benefits of constantly trying to find your ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to balancing the stressors in your day, with breath, a nourishing diet, tight blood sugar control, exercise, and biological support such as nutritional supplementation and the use of adaptogenic herbal medicines. Strategies I find myself discussing every day with my gorgeous clients.


The proliferation of  Wifi  (Electromagnetic Radiation) with wide-spread phone / gadget use and the health effects was also discussed, and is a “newer’ area of environmental health medicine that is building momentum as we understand more about it. The term ‘distance is your friend’ was used to describe the importance of keeping your phone when not in use on Aeroplane mode, or keeping it at least off your body with an ear piece when you do take a call. I think we are going to see a lot more about this in the future!

I hope you enjoyed some of that food for thought 😉

Wishing you all peace & happiness. 

Yours in good health,
Tabitha x



Gwinganna Retreat

I am feeling genuinely refreshed and re-inspired following a beautiful stay at Gwinganna Health and Lifestyle Retreat. Gwinganna Retreat is on a plateau in a hidden region of the Tallebudgera Valley, Sunshine Coast, QLD. It is a serene ‘escape’ from the modern age of technology, allowing people to really focus their attention on their own health and wellbeing. Amongst other things, I discovered on my 6-day retreat that it is entirely possible to survive almost a week without an iphone, laptop, the internet, coffee, wine or chocolate! And I felt amazing for it. What a revolution! It was good to re-connect back in with nature and with my inner-self.

Gwinganna functions on four simple ‘health’ philosophies:

  • Regular, Functional Movement
    • Fostering emotional Wellbeing
    • Effective management of Lifestyle Stress
    • Nourishment – almost all food served at Gwinganna has been organically grown on the property & is prepared innovatively by their top organic chefs.

All of these philosophies are implemented daily at the Gwinganna Retreat & are specifically directed towards maintaining optimal wellbeing and therefore are ‘preventative medicine’ concepts. Gwinganna’s world-class Spa was outstanding – my personal favourite being the sublime ‘crystal steam room’ followed by a cold shower and crushed ice form the ice machine – enlivening!

With ‘Nourishment’, in particular, Gwinganna’s organic food philosophy is based around the belief that Mother Nature knows best. I especially enjoyed their focus on Low Human Intervention Food – (Low HI foods) – where food has undergone no or minimal changes from it’s place in nature to your plate.

For example, a piece of sweet potato may have been steamed or roasted, but it is still recognizable as a sweet potato the way it came from the earth. Too many foods today have lost this simple but essential philosophy. It was really wonderful during my stay to re-evaluate my relationship (as a Nutritionist, mother, and woman) with food – and to be reminded of the meaning of true nourishment.

Choose Low Human-Intervention Foods!

As inspiration; I have included below a recipe from Gwinganna’s fabulous cookbook:“From garden to gourmet”; plus have included some photos of the organic vegetable garden from which we ate. Enjoy!

Tahini Balls

½ cup tahini
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup LSA
1 cup dried fruit of your choice (I used organic dried apricots)
1/4 cup chopped almonds (soaked overnight in water)

Mix all the ingredients together to make a stiff mixture. Use more coconut if necessary. Shape and roll into balls with dampened hands and coat with coconut or LSA.

The Organic Veggie Garden






Eating more Legumes – Some recipe ideas

Lentils are a great source of vegetarian protein with low-to-negligible fat. They are also a fabulous source of dietary fibre. Generally, one cup of cooked lentils provides you with 5-10g of dietary fibre. Substituting meat dishes with a dish of legumes & whole grains once or twice a week can improve your health.
A high fibre diet prevents constipation, haemorrhoids and diverticular disease and may be protective against bowel polyps and cancer. A high fibre diet is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, obesity and diabetes. Foods high in fibre tend to be low in GI (glycemic index) and so are well suited to weight loss and diabetic diets. (see
Lentils are generally good with extra virgin olive oil; onion; garlic; carrot; celery; tomato; spinach; sage; parsley; thyme; coriander; bay leaf; saffron; lamb; beef; chorizo sausage; chutney; brown/basmati rice and all flat breads. Try experimenting with international dishes (such as Indian and MiddleEeastern).

Canned lentils are fine to use when they have been drained and rinsed. To reduce gas when cooking with dried beans/lentils, soak the beans for 18 hours (to remove a large percentage of the oligosaccharides which ferment in the colon to produce gas). Throw away the water and then cook with fresh water.

Below are three delicious and simple recipes for you to try at home.
For more ideas, see my recipes section or

Red Lentil and Salmon Burgers – Makes 8-10 patties

1 can of red lentils (drained and rinsed)
1 210g can of red salmon (drained)
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium Spanish onion (the purple ones)
1 bunch fresh coriander (chopped finely)
1 egg
½ a cup of wholemeal bread crumbs
1-2 teaspoons of curry powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
Some wholemeal bread-rolls, tomato, lettuce and sweet chilli sauce to serve!
What to do:

Wash the sweet potato and onion and wrap them in alfoil. Put them in the oven to roast at 250 degrees for one hour. After one hour, test with a skewer to see if soft. If skewer goes through, take out and let cool.
When they are cool, take the skin of them and chop them up. Place into a large mixing bowl and mash.
Add finely chopped coriander, raw egg, drained red salmon, drained and rinsed red lentils and curry powder. Mix well.
Add bread-crumbs to the wet mix. This will dry it out a little and help it to stick together. Mix very well.
Heat a frying pan on low to medium heat with some olive oil or canola oil.
Take handfuls of the mixture (btwn size of a tennis ball and a golf ball) and place into hot frying pan.
Lightly brown the patties (1-2 mins on each side) so they are warm through. You don’t need to cook them, just heat and brown them.
Serve hot or cold in a wholemeal roll or on a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, tahini +/- sweet chilli sauce.

Curried Lentil Soup (Dahl) – Serves 6

1 Onion chopped
3 Garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp Coriander ground
1 tsp Cumin ground
2 tsp Curry Powder (adjust to taste requirements)
1 tsp Turmeric ground
1 tbsp Ginger freshly grated
4-6 cans Red or Brown Lentils (drained and rinsed)
2 med Carrots and 3 celery sticks (cut into large chunky pieces)
3 small Zucchini (cut into large chunky pieces)
½ small Cauliflower
2 cans of diced Tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped
1L of water or stock liquid (the more water you add, the more ‘soupy’ it will be&hellipWinking
What to do:

Sauté the Onions, carrots and celery in a little water in a large heavy based saucepan.
When soft add the Garlic, then the Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Ginger and Curry Powder. Mix through well and cook off the spices. Do not burn.
Add the Lentils and enough water or stock to cover.
Cover with lid and simmer, checking constantly to see if there is enough liquid – adding extra water as required.
When the lentils are cooked, add the Zucchini, Cauliflower, Tomatoes and Tamari. Simmer until vegetables are cooked.
Check for flavour and add a small amount of Vegetable Salt or Tamari and more Curry Powder if required.
Serve with Yoghurt, fresh Coriander, Chutney, Papadams and brown rice.
Pumpkin and Chickpea Hot Pot

Pumpkin and Chickpea Hot Pot – Serves 6

½ cup Chickpeas (soaked overnight)
2 Kg Butternut Pumpkin (cubed 3cm)
1 medium Parsnip or sweet potato (cubed)
1 Red Capsicum (cut in 2cm squares)
1 Onion (sliced in 8 wedges)
2 small Zucchini (cut into chunks)
1/2 Cauliflower (in florets)
1 tsp. Coriander
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Turmeric
1x375gm tin Tomatoes (organic, crushed)
4 tbsp. Tomato Paste (organic)
½ cup Water
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 handfuls Fresh Coriander (chopped)
What to do:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.
Cook chickpeas in rapidly boiling water for 1 hour.
Lightly steam cauliflower.
Mix spices together. Sprinkle spices over onion and roast.
Roast on separate trays – butternut and parsnip till just cooked. Roast Capsicum and Zucchini together till just done.
Mix tomatoes together with tomato paste, water and Braggs to make tomato sauce.
Lightly toss together the roasted vegetables, cauliflower, chickpeas and the tomato sauce and place into a casserole or baking dish.
Lower oven temperature to 160c and gently heat hotpot in oven with lid on.
Once the dish is hot, stir in fresh coriander and check seasonings. Serve with rice for a wonder winter meal.
Enjoy & be well!


Food for Thought

Food is one of life’s greatest sources of pleasure, and eating the right kind of foods and preparing them in the healthiest possible way is essential to wellbeing. It is all too easy to resort to heavily processed, nutrient poor, calorie dense ‘convenience’ foods within our hectic lifestyles. These foods are often loaded with unhealthy fats, added sugars and salt, and an array of other unwanted substances.

As health professionals become more aware of scientifically proven links between diet and disease, it is becoming increasingly imperative that we consider the quality of the foods we are ingesting: if you have a well-nourished body, you will not only cope better with all aspects of daily life, but will improve your resistance to disease and automatically reduce your stress levels.

Improve the quality of your foods

Improving the quality of fuels we put into our system is all about getting back to basics and eating food as close to how nature intended, ie. The less wrapping, the better! It’s about eating fresh, minimally processed foods with an abundance of colourful fruit and veggies, whole grains, legumes, and small servings of raw nuts and seeds, small deep-sea fish and lean, organic red meat, with a focus on variety for maximal nutrient and phytochemical intake.

Nutrient content aside, please consider the vitality in the foods we ingest, and how this life force may be passed onto us when we choose live foods such as fresh and raw fruit and veggies, sprouts and fresh culinary herbs! Including a weekly organic F&V shop or delivery has the triple advantage of minimising pesticide exposure, improving mineral content of foods from richer soils, and supporting earth-aware, sustainable farming methods. In addition to this, most people can taste the richer flavours, and organic foods offer increased vitality and energy to us.

Simpler cooking methods such as lightly steaming or a quick stir-fry are optimal cooking methods, so as not to overcook or destroy water soluble vitamins, enzymes & phytochemicals in the foods. Including good quality fats (omega 3 & omega 6’s) and minimising saturated fats and trans-fatty-acids from animal products and pastries/cakes/biscuits is also a key factor in improving the quality of our food intakes.

What is a “perfect” diet?

The perfect balance in diet is unique for each person. To find balance, it is important to know ones own individual needs, the properties of foods, the best preparation methods, and to choose a broad range of high quality foods. When a good attitude and ample exercise are combined, one finds no limit to total health: healthy body, healthy mind and healthy spirit.

It is recommended that roughly 30% of our total energy intake comes from fat: which on average translates to 55-85g/day. More importantly than amount of fat, however, is the type of fat we ingest. Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fats) are known as Essential Fatty Acids because they are essential to the health of every cell in our body.

Omega 3’s are found in oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and trout; in flaxseed oil and meal, & in walnuts. Omega 6’s are found in nuts and seeds and their oils. Monounsaturated Fatty acids such as in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds are always best raw, and extra-virgin olive oil is great for cooking due to it’s stability.

Other types of fats such as Saturated fats from animal sources should be minimised, including fats from red meat, poultry, full cream milk & yoghurt, cheese, butter, cream etc. Trans Fatty Acids should be avoided where possible, ie from cakes, pastries, biscuits, croissants.