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What Health Professionals Do


Choosing a health practitioner

At this stage, Australia does not have a formal category of health practitioners specializing in the performing arts. However, there are practitioners within many of the disciplines listed below who have expertise in the specific health needs of performing artists. Check below to find which type of practitioner suits your needs, and then search ASPAH’s online Directory of Members for a practitioner in your area and finally check on that the practitioner is legally registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA).


Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin needles through your skin to improve overall wellness and stress management.

Alexander Technique trainers

A practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination.

Chinese Medicine practitioners

Chinese Medicine aims to maintain physical, emotional, and spiritual balance in order to prevent and treat disease. Modalities include acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine, Chinese massage, tai chi, qi gong, nutrition, and lifestyle modification.


Chiropractic is the diagnosis, management and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, using hands-on spinal manipulation and other treatments.


Counsellors generally focus on short-term solution-focussed strategies for dealing with specific life events such as bereavement, relationship problems, and domestic violence.


Dietitians assess, diagnose and treat nutritional problems according to the client’s health and individual needs.

Ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists

An ENT specialist is a doctor who specialises in diseases that affect the ears, nose and throat, as well as the head and neck. They treat a wide range of problems including deafness, loss of balance, allergies, speech and voice, tumours and infections.

Exercise physiologists

Exercise physiologists offer health education, exercise counselling and physical rehabilitation. They prescribe tailored exercise programs, promote leisure-time and incidental activity, and advise on reducing sedentary behaviours.

Feldenkrais teachers

A system of gentle movements that promote flexibility, coordination, and self-awareness.

Fitness or personal trainers/gym instructors

These Instructors help the general public to increase fitness and improve aesthetics by losing weight and toning up.

General practitioners (GPs)

GPs (also known as doctors or physicians) diagnose and treat physical and mental illness, disease and injury. If necessary, they can refer you for tests or to see other health professionals. A GP referral ensures that specialist visits attract a Medicare rebate. GPs can also refer you to services that may cover some of the costs of seeing a large range of allied health professionals.

Medical specialists

Specialists are doctors who have completed extensive additional training in a specific area. Some specialise as surgeons and some as non-surgical physicians. There are specialist physicians and surgeons in most areas of medicine.


Osteopaths focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit. Treatment may include manual therapy (mobilisation, stretching, massage and manipulation for ligaments and joints), exercise therapy, lifestyle advice and patient education.


Physiotherapists assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide range of health conditions and movement disorders. Their expertise covers injury prevention, acute care, rehabilitation, maintenance of functional mobility, chronic disease management, patient education and occupational health. They work closely with GPs and other health clinicians to plan and manage treatment.

Pilates instructors

Exercises using special apparatus, designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, posture, and mental awareness.


Podiatrists (formerly known as chiropodists) prevent, diagnose and treat a wide range of foot and ankle problems. Treatment may include specific exercises, custom-made shoe inserts, or medications for skin conditions.


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have additional specialist training in diagnosing and treating a large range of mental health problems. Since psychiatrists are medical doctors, they can prescribe medication. Your GP can advise you and refer you to the type of psychiatrist or psychologist best suited to your needs.


Psychologists are trained in how people think, feel, behave and learn. Some psychologists assess and diagnose mental illnesses and psychological problems, while others help people to recover from or self-manage other problems that can affect your performance, health and wellbeing. Your GP can refer you to the type of psychologist that suits your needs.


Psychotherapists focus on assisting their clients to explore and understand aspects of themselves and their experience. They help their clients understand how past experiences influence and shape their current responses to life events.

Speech pathologists

Speech pathologists (formerly called speech therapists) diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speaking, listening, understanding language, reading, writing, social skills, stuttering, and using voice.

Sports physicians

Sports physicians are doctors who have completed additional specialist training in sport and exercise medicine and have been awarded the title of Fellows of the Australasian College of Sports Physicians (FACSEP). Sportspeople, athletes and dancers often seek the help of sports physicians but they are expert in treating medical and health issues for all active people.

Sports doctors

Sports doctors, or sports medicine practitioners, are doctors with qualifications and/or an interest in sports medicine. They are not members of the Australasian College of Sports Physicians but may be affiliated with Sports Medicine Australia.

Strength and conditioning coaches

A strength and conditioning coach works with fit, healthy, athletic people to improve performance.




Version June 2018     Contributors:  Janet Karin, Mark Seton, Amy Naumann

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