Evidence-based complementary therapies & classes

At the Tūmanako wellness centre, our guests, their family and carers will have access to evidence-based therapies, treatments and classes including:

o   Micro-nutrient therapies

o   Support groups and education sessions in our group room

o  Personal eating plans and advice with our Nutritionist

o   Strength, Fitness programs and group sessions with our Exercise Physiologist

o   Meditation

o   Yoga

Our evidence-based treatments can be used in partnership with clinical treatments to help relieve symptoms and side effects, such as fatigue, pain, stress anxiety, nausea, constipation and sleep issues.

Our classes and support groups can help to foster better understanding, management and care.  



We aim to offer micro-nutrients as one part of a complementary wellness package at Tūmanako alongside other treatments.

An increasing number of studies indicate that nutrition may play a role in the onset and treatment of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Further, more recent evidence on brain metabolism suggests that nutritional habits or deficiencies of certain micronutrients can influence the development and progression of mental illnesses. A targeted intake of individual micronutrients appears to have prophylactic or therapeutic effects on certain mental illnesses. Conversely, mental illnesses such as ADHS, alcohol dependency, and eating disorders can lead to a deficiency of certain vitamins and micronutrients. Even if the evidence for dietary supplements in the treatment of mental illnesses is not sufficient to issue general recommendations, data from observational and randomized controlled studies suggest that their use appears to be practical given certain indicators.

Professor Julia Rucklidge, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Canterbury, has been researching the impact of micronutrients on mental health for the past decade. But using nutrients to treat mental illness isn’t a new idea.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Sonia Sly for Radio New Zealand;

“If we go back in history there are examples of using single nutrients to impact on mental health,” Rucklidge says.

“A condition was studied in the early 1920s called Pellagra [which was] caused by a corn-based diet due to poverty [and it] resulted in people not getting enough niacin.”

Symptoms of the condition included dermatitis, diarrhoea, psychiatric symptoms like psychosis and dementia, hallucinations and a significant cognitive decline.

“As soon as they determined that [the condition] was caused by a niacin deficiency, the way to cure it was to give more more niacin. That also led to fortification and also cured their psychotic symptoms,” Rucklidge says.

Micronutrients contain the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals to fully optimise the body, especially under stress. Rucklidge says that while it is possible to get everything that we need from a food - in particular, a good whole food diet that is rich in nuts, fruits and vegetables - some people need more than others.

These individuals, she says, may have what’s called an inborn error of metabolism,which means that they may require more nutrients for their metabolic reaction.

Adding to the problem is today’s modern diet, which contains an abundance of readily accessible, highly processed foods that are high in sugar and fat. But even people who consume fruits and vegetables on a regular basis might be being sold short on the nutrition front, according to Rucklidge.

“The nutrient content of our food has changed dramatically over a short period, so an apple of today is not as nourishing as an apple of 1950,” she says.


Professor Rucklidge is one of Tumanako's valued advisors. You can read about some of her research in our Science section or via the University of Canterbury's Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group.


Mindfulness-based stress reduction

Tūmanako aims to offer Mindfulness meditation as a complementary therapy alongside clinical treatment.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a structured group program that employs mindfulness meditation to alleviate suffering associated with physical, psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders. The program, nonreligious and non-esoteric, is based upon a systematic procedure to develop enhanced awareness of moment-to-moment experience of perceptible mental processes. The approach assumes that greater awareness will provide more veridical perception, reduce negative affect and improve vitality and coping. In the last two decades, a number of research reports appeared that seem to support many of these claims. 

You can read one report here: Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits A meta-analysis



Available reviews of a wide range of yoga practices suggest they can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression. In this respect, yoga functions like other self-soothing techniques, such as meditation, relaxation, exercise, or even socialising with friends.

By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal — for example, reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. There is also evidence that yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body's ability to respond to stress more flexibly.

Based on the available RCT evidence, yoga does appear to decrease symptoms of GAD.

We aim to offer Yoga as a complementary therapy that works alongside other treatments.

It is not a curative nor a stand-alone treatment.

You can read this study on Yoga here: Systematic Review of Scientific Evidence Supporting Yoga as an Alternative Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder