How To Choose A Career In Natural Medicine

Many people consider a career in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) professions to get out of the typical 9 to 5 desk job. Others have a strong desire to help people heal naturally and intuitively. Whatever the drive, choosing a career in natural medicine will require research and planning....Natural Medicine, Complementary MedicineComplementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is made up of numerous professions such as acupuncture or aromatherapy. Complementary medicine is used alongside conventional medicine while alternative medicine is used in the place of conventional medicine. For example, acupuncture may be used alongside in vitro fertilization as a complement to the assisted reproductive medicine. Hypnotherapy may be used to quit smoking as an alternative to medications prescribed by a doctor.Some occupations can work alongside conventional medicine while others work as a replacement or alternative.Careers in Natural MedicineHere are some careers in the fields of Complementary and Alternative Medicine to consider:Acupuncture - requires more than 1,400 hours of education to certify through the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) in the United States.Chiropractic - one of the more highly-trained fields, future students of chiropractic will need a two to four year undergraduate education followed by the four year chiropractic college course.Energy Healing - encompasses several modalities such as Reiki, Polarity, Zero Balancing and others. Education paths vary as well as licensing requirements as some forms of energy healing do not involve actual placing of hands on a client.Herbal Medicine - the art and science of using plants as medicine both internally and topically. Courses in the U.S. may include correspondence and/or an apprenticeship program.Hypnotherapy - clinical hypnotherapy is one of the few professions in holistic medicine that does not require hands-on work by the practitioner. Persons with medical backgrounds, such as registered nurses and practical nurses, find entry into this field easier than those without prior training or experience in the health fields. Massage Therapy - considered one of the fastest growing careers in holistic health care, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects an increase of 20 percent by 2016 in this field. Training averages 200-900 hours in the U.S. depending on licensing laws by State or municipality.Naturopathic Medicine - training is towards the degree of N.D.: Doctor of Naturopath, and is rigorous, perhaps closely related to the training time of a Chiropractic degree program. Over a dozen states license naturopath doctors in the United States. Reflexology - a form of bodywork that is increasingly popular in both the United States and parts of Europe and the United Kingdom. The American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) sets the standard of 200 hours of education in the U.S. and the Reflexology in Europe Network (RiEN) recommends 350 hours.Choosing an Education ProgramThe potential student of natural medicine should research the laws and requirements of local government prior to enrolling in a curriculum. By taking this first step the student will understand what education requirements exist and can then choose a course best suited to his study style and needs.Some schools offer introductory programs, such as Cortiva's Boston campus that allows you to take a complimentary one day workshop to explore their program in massage therapy. Local adult and community education programs frequently have introductory courses in alternative and complementary medicine modalities such as Tai Chi, Reiki and Homeopathy.Suggested Reading:Tierney,Gillian. Opportunities in Holistic Health Care Careers. Columbus OH: McGraw Hill, 2006. href='' - -