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What Are the Different Types of Alternative Medicine Careers?

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  • Written By: Lumara Lee
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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People who have medical training are usually in demand and have little problem obtaining employment. The growth of alternative medicine careers has added another dimension to the field of healing services, widening the spectrum of jobs available. Energy work, nutrition, and manipulative therapies are just a few of the many possibilities for people seeking alternative medicine careers. Some popular alternative medicine careers are chiropractor, massage therapist, holistic health practitioner, and naturopath. Other careers in the alternative healing field are reflexologist, acupuncturist, Reiki practitioner, life coach, and homeopath.

A chiropractor manipulates different parts of the body or exerts pressure on key points to restore proper function and reduce pain. People generally visit a chiropractor when they are suffering from severe headaches or have experienced an injury to the spine, neck, back, or joints. The chiropractor will perform a manipulation called an adjustment to return a misaligned spine to its normal position, and this can relieve pain and improve circulation, reducing swelling and inflammation. A chiropractic adjustment is often supplemented by other therapies such as electrical muscle stimulation, massage, and ultrasound.

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Massage therapists knead, stroke, or press their clients’ bodies to induce a state of relaxation. There are various massage techniques. Some massage therapists focus on one style only, while others study various techniques and are able to choose the one they believe will best serve the needs of each client. Massage therapists use massage oil so that their hands will glide over the client’s body without resistance. Some therapists employ essential oils with healing properties that are absorbed into the skin to enhance the benefits of the massage.

Traditional massage therapy isn’t the only one of the alternative medicine careers that incorporates massage. Rolfing is a massage therapy that manipulates the connective tissues of the body. It can be painful since a practitioner presses much deeper than a traditional massage therapist, but this is what makes the technique so effective. A rolfing session can remove toxins stored deep in the tissues, and many believe it also releases stored emotions and trauma to stimulate healing on various levels.

Different types of degrees or certificates may be required for some alternative medicine careers. Education usually takes place on the campus of an institution, but online courses are available as well. Training to become a chiropractor requires several years of study and a degree from a chiropractic college, while massage therapist certification may only take a year or two, depending on the technique being learned. Training in some alternative therapies such as Reiki may be completed in just a few weekend sessions.

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