Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the reasons why clients initially consult a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioner, the reasons that influence clients to seek treatment, and the factors that influence clients to be compliant with their treatment. Design: A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods were used. Quantitative data were obtained via a self-completion survey (n = 158). Qualitative information was derived from eight semistructured interviews. Setting: The study took place in a clinic in Norwood, South Australia. Participants were primarily residents of the eastern suburbs of Adelaide. Subjects: The study involved a convenience sample of clients. Results: Survey and interview results demonstrated that clients access CAM practitioners not solely for improvement of physical symptoms, with 54% of clients indicating a desire for counseling for general health issues and 50% wanting dietary and nutritional treatment. Of the subjects 36% sought increased self-insight and benefit from a wider perspective of healing. In addition 55% of respondents indicated that quality of relationship between CAM and client has a major impact on compliance and continuity of treatment, which in turn affects the overall success of the treatment. Conclusions: Clients in this clinic accessed complementary health care for a variety of reasons including gaining another perspective on their health. It suggests that CAM does not replace conventional medicine but may be used as an adjunct to conventional medicine.