How to Become a Natural Healing Practitioner

Overview and Job Duties

As people become increasingly health-conscious, they begin to take large strides toward improving their overall wellbeing. In addition to eating a healthy diet and getting proper exercise, for some people this also means investigating alternative therapies for medical issues. Sometimes this comes from a fear or distrust of doctors and modern medicine; other times, people simply prefer a more holistic approach to managing various illnesses and ailments. Whatever their reason, rather than attempting to deal with complicated health issues through self-medication and all its possible side effects, they turn to a natural healing practitioner to provide a safe, effective, reliable, and natural treatment.

Natural healing practitioners have a very thorough understanding of natural and alternative medicine in many forms. On the surface, the basic process is the same as with any other physician; natural healers assess patients to diagnose a disease, illness, or injury, discusses options with the patient, and then administers a treatment regimen. But rather than using chemical substances or medication, they rely on non-invasive, drug-free methods to treat their patients. As opposed to injecting medicines or cutting open the body, natural healers provide alternate methods of helping injuries heal gradually over time without pharmaceutical or surgical intervention.

Some of the specialties in this healthcare field are herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, homeopathic medicine, reflexology, and others. Massage therapists manipulate hands, feet,legs, arms, and any other ailing body part to relax and improve tired and overworked muscles. Chiropractors use physical therapy and spinal manipulation to treat problems relating to bones, muscles, and tendons that cause patients back or neck pain.

Job Outlook

Natural healing practitioners can be found in a surprising number of different locations, including hospitals, health clinics, outpatient care centers,and private clinics. Meanwhile, massage therapists tend to work in spas and gyms,while chiropractors typically have private practices.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 63,810 people worked as massage therapists in 2012, while there were an estimated 27,510 practicing chiropractors.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, natural healing practitioners earn an average annual salary of around $39,920. Depending on specialty and location, this figure can vary widely. That same report noted that chiropractors in particular could earn as much as $78,780 annually.

Education Requirements

Despite what the name might suggest, one cannot become a natural healing practitioner without proper training, education, and licensure. Professionals must have at least an associate’s degree consisting of coursework in physiology, anatomy, biology, botany, herbal medicine, and naturopathic medicine. They must also have at least 1-2 years of supervised experience and relevant training before being allowed to practice on their own. Certain specializations have different requirements, though; to become a chiropractor, a student must complete a four-year Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine (D.C.) degree program and become licensed in the state in which he or she wants to practice. As educational and licensing requirements vary from one state to another, check with your state health board to find out exactly what you need to become a legal and successful natural healing practitioner in your area.

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