Do you have a knack for making people feel better, or a burning desire to alleviate the pain of those around you? Some people just have an innate ability to heal, and if you’re among the chosen few, you should know that it’s possible to make a career out of it. Are hospitals not your thing? Don’t worry—the world of alternative medicine offers ample opportunities to fuse your natural healing powers with a fulfilling and lucrative career. Here are your best bets.
Once derided as Eastern medicine hogwash, acupuncture has now become mainstream. Up until very recently, the scientific majority dismissed the ancient practice, largely because they didn’t understand it. After all, if the Western world hasn’t created it and tested it in its laboratories, it must be bunk—right? Wrong. Major medical institutions, such as the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, have now endorsed the use of professionally administered acupuncture to treat certain illnesses. Thanks to endorsements like these, awareness about acupuncture has been growing—and so has the need for trained acupuncturists. Certification programs have also become more widespread, so it’s easier than ever to get trained.
2. Reiki Master
Have you ever been told that you have great energy? That you’re an exceptionally radiant human being? Lucky you—you might have what it takes to become a Reiki master. Reiki is the Japanese art commonly known as “palm healing,” in which practitioners channel universal energy (i.e. reiki) with the intent of healing and restoring balance. Reiki masters generally have one-on-one sessions with clients, and many teach classes as well. If you want to learn how to channel the energy of the universe, Reiki might be perfect for you.
If you have an interest in botany and a desire to help people heal, a career as an herbalist could be right for you. Throughout the eons, indigenous cultures around the world have amassed a vast and impressive knowledge about medicinal plants. Herbalists harness this ancient knowledge to help people find herbs that can relieve pain, reduce anxiety, increase energy levels, and much more. Herbalists can find work in a variety of environments, including private practices and companies that specialize in medicinal herbs.
4. Yoga Teacher
The physical, mental and spiritual discipline known as yoga has swept the Western world over the past few decades, and it looks like it’s here to stay. The physical benefits of yoga include increased strength and flexibility, lowered pain levels, and positive impacts on life threatening conditions such as heart problems and cancer. Mentally, yoga can help with anxiety, depression, and stress. Sounds like a whole lot of healing going on! If you’re yoga-inclined, you could become an instructor and teach others how to heal themselves using this ancient practice.
5. Massage Therapist
Some people just have a knack for massage—and luckily, you can make a career out of it. Massage is the art of manipulating soft tissue in order to promote general well-being. Benefits of massage include pain relief, reduction of stress and anxiety, boosted immunity, blood pressure control, and even cancer treatment–all through the power of touch. Massage therapy programs can get you the certificate you need to become a practicing massage therapist in no time. The field is expected to grow faster than the rest of the job market, too, so what are you waiting for?
Madeline Marshall is something of a natural healer herself who lives in pleasantly alternative Santa Cruz, California.