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The practice of using touch as a healing method derives from customs and techniques rooted in ancient history.
Believed to be of divine origin and passed down orally through generations, Ayurveda is the traditional holistic medical system in India. Texts detailing Ayurvedic principles and practices were written some time between 1500 and 500 BCE.
Ayurveda views that individuals incur illnesses and diseases when they live out of harmony with their environment. Based on the patient’s health imbalances, constitution and the time of year, Ayurveda recommends how to use the five senses to interact with the environment in order to create balance. In China, texts documenting the medical benefits of massage therapy date back to approximately 2700 BCE. Chinese massage methods originated from the principle that diseases and illnesses arise due to a deficiency or imbalance in the energy in specific pathways or meridians that represent physiological systems. Starting around 1000 BCE, Japanese monks studying Buddhism in China observed the healing methods of traditional Chinese medicine, including massage therapy. Massage practitioners stimulate pressure points in the body in an effort to rebalance the patient’s energy.
Derived from the Eastern philosophies and practices, massage progressed into Western civilization in approximately the eighth century BCE. Athletes in Ancient Greece employed massage to keep their bodies in peak condition prior to competitions. In Rome, during the first century BCE, Galen, a physician to many emperors, began using massage therapy to treat different types of physical injuries and diseases.
While the wealthy received massages in their homes by personal physicians, many Romans were treated in public baths where trainers and doctors delivered massages. Highly popular in Roman culture, the public baths eventually earned a reputation as being more about excess and the pursuit of pleasure instead of as an avenue for healing.
Massage therapy declined in popularity and practice in the West until approximately 1600 CE. Between 1600 and 1800, numerous physicians and scientists observed and documented the benefits of massage. In the early 1800s, the Swedish physician Per Henrik Ling developed the Swedish Gymnastic Movement System.
Through the early part of the 20th century, an increasing number of new and rediscovered massage techniques were documented and practiced. In the latter half of the 20th century, rising interest in natural healing methods revitalized massage. Today’s massage therapists practice a multitude of techniques originating from ancient methods. Craniosacral therapy is used to improve the movement of cerebrospinal fluid and reduce tension through gentle manipulation of the head and spine.
Beyond being a relaxing experience, massage therapy is now recognized as a reputable healing method in hospitals, clinics and health centers. As a massage therapist, you'll have some great earning opportunities—it's all about where you work and how you take advantage of it.
As massage therapy gains more credibility in the health care field, massage therapists may find an influx of opportunities.
With a massage therapy certificate you can specialize in Asian bodywork, reflexology, shiatsu or any other type of massage therapy.
Depending on the massage school you attend, you will most likely be introduced to many techniques and types of massage programs. If you've considered starting a massage therapy career, you've probably wondered what schools cost and how you'll pay the tuition. Myofascial release enhances the body's healing capabilities through stretching of the connective tissue that surrounds muscles and organs.
Neuromuscular therapy integrates massage techniques, flexibility stretching and home care practices to eliminate the causes of pain. Prenatal massage focuses on the special needs of women as their bodies undergo the many dramatic changes that occur during pregnancy.
Reflexology earns a place at the forefront of alternative therapies for its effectiveness in reducing stress and relieving a number of health problems.
Shiatsu training teaches practitioners how to use finger and palm pressure to stimulate energetic pathways or meridians on the body. From flexibility to rehabilitation, sports massage training teaches students how to treat a wide range of muscle and performance issues. Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed. Energy healing encompasses a broad range of therapeutic modalities, all of which focus on channeling healing energy into a client’s body. The practitioner’s role is to help bring energy fields into balance and improve the health and wellness of body, mind and spirit. Graduates of energy healing school often specialize in a particular form of therapy, such as healing touch, Reiki training, qi gong or polarity therapy.
Energy healers help clients with a wide range of ailments, from anxiety to chronic pain to cancer treatment side effects. The curriculum at a typical energy healing school includes the history and theory of energy medicine, perception of energy fields in the body, and techniques of energy healing. Energy healing training can take as little as a few weekends or as much as a couple of years, depending on the level of training.
Level I and II Reiki training and other basic energy healing training can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. Although there is no specific regulation of licensing for energy healers, professional certification is often available. Most states regulate massage therapists and bodywork professionals, so if you plan to incorporate energy healing as part of your massage therapy business, be sure to check the laws of the state where you plan to practice. The amount of money you can earn as an energy healer varies depending on geographic location and how many hours a week you work.
Sources: East-West School of Integrative Healing Arts, International Association for Energy Healers, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Healing Touch Program, World School of Massage and Holistic Healing Arts.
Alternative medicine is a unique field of medicine which has become popular with patients looking for a more natural approach to their health.
Alternative medicine goes by many monikers—complementary, holistic—and practitioners promote healing and wellness using natural methods. Find out how much you can earn in the alternative medicine field and what your job prospects look like.
Clear up misconceptions about alternative medicine careers, degrees and more with answers to these common questions. Many animal owners are also turning to healing therapies that complement traditional veterinary medicine. Aromatherapy can either supplement another healing art, such as massage or reflexology, or can be practiced on its own. Ayurveda, or "the science of life" in Sanskrit, is a holistic system of medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago.
Reiki is a Japanese healing art that focuses on harnessing the body's energy through the use of the healer's hands to promote healing.
The boundaries of Chinese medicine practice have expanded to incorporate one of our most pervasive health goals—to lose weight. The therapeutic treatment known as colonic hydrotherapy has been practiced in some form for thousands of years. Herbalism is the use of plants for therapeutic purposes to treat and prevent disease and promote health. Homeopathy is a system of medicine that treats ailments by administering diluted remedies in order to fight disease. Homeopathy training is available to students at varying holistic expertise levels and with different homeopathic interests. The healing discipline of hypnotherapy is best described as a state of focused relaxation in which a person is more responsive to suggestion. Iridology practitioners see the eye's iris as a diagnostic tool that can be used to pinpoint areas of health or weakness within the body's systems.
Through sound healing training courses, practitioners learn how to use toning, chanting or vibrations to stimulate self-healing in clients.
Neurolinguistic programming is based on the premise that our attitudes toward past experiences affects how we behave now and in the future. From undergraduate degree programs to homeopathy courses for personal enrichment, you can find what you're looking for online.
Placing their hands on the patient, spiritual healers channel energy that they believe has the intelligence to go where it's needed.
Everyone knows that drinking enough water is an important part of good health, but the therapeutic practice of hydrotherapy goes even farther, encompassing all the various ways that water can be used internally and externally to maintain health, manage stress and treat injuries.
Hydrotherapy is a modality that has been used by many cultures throughout history, but even contemporary practitioners are seeing the benefits of hydrotherapy training.
In a clinical setting, hydrotherapy may consist of water taken internally, via drinking, douches or enemas; or it can involve the external administration of water to an affected area of the body, through ice packs, compresses, wraps, streams of water, or even inhaled water vapor.


Hydrotherapy training is used by naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, estheticians and spa workers, but you’ll often find hydrotherapy career options at physical therapy clinics and burn centers, too. For the most part, practitioners of hydrotherapy are licensed or certified under the umbrella of a vocation such as naturopathy, massage therapy or physical therapy. One major reason Americans go to spas is for relaxation and stress relief, and hydrotherapy treatments such as saunas, whirlpools and mineral baths provide such relief. Imagine how rewarding it is to be able to administer a hydrotherapy treatment such as a hot mineral bath and be able to immediately see your client’s muscles relax, or watch an injured athlete steadily recover from an injury thanks to aquatic exercise. The day spa is one of thousands in the country embracing a growing movement toward natural beauty and aesthetics in cosmetics and skin care. An enterprising yogini, Michelle Befus teaches in studio and gym settings, and offers her own workshops and retreats.
Juli Burdette’s days were spent in a cubicle and she regularly struggled to find peace and fulfillment in her job. Natural health careers have recently surged in response to society’s focus on improved quality of life and Western health care alternatives.
Physical health is linked to mental and spiritual health and has found a place in mainstream health care. Stone therapy training uses the calming properties of warmth to loosen tight muscles and improve the flow of energy in the body. The therapeutic practice of hydrotherapy encompasses all the ways that water can be used internally and externally to maintain health and manage stress. Following the Hawaiian philosophy of Huna, Lomi Lomi massage emphasizes the free flow of energy throughout the body.
Holistic health practitioners believe that healing is most effective when you consider the whole person, rather than focusing on specific body parts. Whatever healing means to the client, it’s what matters most to massage therapists, whether they are women or men. Medical massage therapy employs a variety of modalities and procedures to treat the particular areas of a patient’s body suffering from injury or pain. Naprapathic medicine is a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on connective tissue disorders, including muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Hellerwork practitioners view the body, mind and spirit as inseparable, and they combine techniques to foster physical, mental and emotional awareness. Modern science and discoveries in medicine and health inform today’s field of nutrition but people have been investigating the link for much longer. Guided imagery is not only used in managing pain and disease, it can also help patients overcome bad habits and improve their overall wellness.
Fauzia Morgan, a licensed esthetician who specializes in facials, resurfacing peels and body treatments, offers tips for a successful career.
Orthobionomy is a gentle body therapy that can help alleviate chronic muscle tension and stress, soothe the joints, increase flexibility and relax the body. Polarity therapy training teaches that disease, pain and stress result from underlying energy imbalances in our body, mind and spirit.
Karafina Antonio was pursuing a degree in graphic design but was inspired by her work colleagues to enroll in cosmetology school. Reflexology, acupressure, acupuncture and massage have similar origins in Chinese medicine. Through a series of techniques, Rolfing lengthens and repositions the fascia, which, in turn, helps release, realign and balance the whole body. The Feldenkrais method is a form of movement therapy in which clients learn greater awareness of how their bodies move through space. As a physical therapist, your job isn’t done once you become licensed by the state you work in. Thai bodywork combines stretching and body movements to loosen muscles, release tension and eliminate disease.
At Trager therapy schools, students learn how gentle rocking and rolling movements helps release deep-seated physical and mental patterns.
Through trigger point massage, patients experience relief and healing from the symptoms that trigger points can cause. Tui Na therapy uses rhythmic compression along energy channels of the body together with manipulation techniques at acupressure points to elicit self-healing. When you consider yoga teacher training, it’s important to explore the many types of yoga and think about which one suits your personality.
Chair massage, which usually lasts between 5 and 30 minutes, focuses on the head, neck, shoulders, back and hips. The Breema approach focuses on the balance of energy within the mind and body to encourage wellness through a combination of touch, stretching and movements.
Biofeedback therapy helps patients enlist the power of their own minds to encourage physical wellness.
Bioenergetics improves health, wellness and energy using a combination of psychotherapeutic and bodywork techniques. In tough economic times, you need to redefine what investment means if you want to push your natural health degree career to the next level. One of the most widely known systems of flower essence healing was pioneered by English physician and homeopath Dr.
More than twenty years ago, Donda Sternberg could not envision how much the decision to go into massage therapy would change her life.
Use these powerful botanicals daily for best effect to help prevent illness and promote mental and physical well-being and vibrant health.
This herbal panacea has long been used in many cultures for infections, worms, and as an antibiotic and antiseptic. Modern research supports the use of ginkgo leaf extracts to improve circulation and protect blood vessels. Known for its excellent liver-protectant properties, milk thistle has proven effective in scientific studies for acute and chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and jaundice.
Echinacea is a popular, non-toxic herb widely revered and used for its immune-stimulating, antibacterial and antiviral activity. Black cohosh is commonly used for women’s ailments, such as menopause disorders, PMS and dysmenorrhea.
Ginseng (Panax spp.) increases stamina and endurance, reduces fatigue, enhances metabolism during exercise and improves well-being. Saw palmetto is a male tonifying herb, especially beneficial to the prostate gland and urinary tract.
Cranberries have a long history of use in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections. Green tea contains antioxidants that have the potential to protect you against cancer, heart disease and ulcers. Valerian has long been used as a healing herb to help relieve emotional stress, sleeplessness, nervousness, menstrual and intestinal cramps and muscle pain.
Civilizations in the East and West found that natural healing and massage could heal injuries, relieve pain, and prevent and cure illnesses.
However, cultural shifts rendered it a disreputable form of indulgence for extensive periods of history.
Ancient seers and natural scientists developed this system based on centuries of studies, experiments and meditations.
To treat their conditions, individuals must restore their natural mental and physical balance by reestablishing harmony between themselves and the world around them.
Treatments in Ayurveda include diet and herbalism, aromatherapy, color therapy, sound therapy and touch therapy. The Chinese tradition of massage therapy was developed from the combined expertise and methods of doctors in traditional Chinese medicine, practitioners of martial arts, Buddhists and Taoists who viewed touch as essential to their spiritual yoga training, and laymen who offered massages for relaxation.
Through massage and other specific bodywork techniques, energy will flow more harmoniously through these pathways, allowing the body to heal itself naturally. Practitioners may complement massage treatments with herbal remedies, dietary therapy and exercise recommendations. Japan soon began to import and customize Chinese massage techniques, giving rise to traditional Japanese massage or anma, which grew into Shiatsu. In turn, this increased energy level regulates and fortifies the functioning of the organs and stimulates natural resistance to illnesses.
Physicians of the time used herbs and oils in combination with massage techniques to treat many medical conditions. Moreover, he promoted a combination of massage, proper diet, exercise, rest, fresh air and music to restore the body to a healthy state.
Following Hippocrates’ principles, Galen believed in exercise, healthy diet, rest and massage as integral pieces in restoring and maintaining a healthy body.
The recipients would first bathe themselves and then receive a full body massage to stimulate circulation and loosen their joints. In the fourth century CE**, the Roman Emperor Constantine condemned the public baths for adding to the abuse of sex in Roman culture.
Scientific breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmacology were changing the foundation of modern medicine.
In particular, massage was used to treat World War I patients who suffered from nerve injury or shell shock.


More and more states started to regulate the practice, and industry standards in licensing and education emerged. From those roots, they remain inspired by a goal cultivated centuries ago – to help others heal their physical and emotional well-being and experience a higher quality of life. Knowing how to handle common uncomfortable situations can help you keep clients coming back. Energy healing school can prepare you to work alongside traditional medical practitioners as part of a holistic therapy program, or as part of an alternative or complementary medicine clinic. Many programs also include training in specific modalities, such as Reiki training or vibrational healing. Basic Reiki training, for instance, is taught in a weekend format, but Master-level training requires a year or longer.
More comprehensive training programs at massage schools or energy healing school can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000.
Organizations such as the Reiki Licensing Commission for Reiki Masters and Healers (RLCRMH), the International Association for Energy Healers, and the Healing Touch Professional Association usually grant these certifications. Massage therapy certification is available from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and requires a minimum of 500 hours of study in your chosen field.
More and more Americans are seeking out alternative medical treatments—over 38 percent, according to the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Generally, though, practitioners with energy healing training can earn as much as $100 for a one-hour session. You’ll be trained to help clients one-on-one with a whole range of physical, emotional and even spiritual issues. Hydrotherapy includes more conventional therapies like hot or cold compresses, steam baths, and humidifiers as well as complementary treatments like sinus rinses or colonic therapy. Read below to learn more about this buoyant profession and why it is used to treat and prevent a number of medical conditions, making it a more popular career choice than ever before!
Some approaches may require longer study—basic colonic hydrotherapy training takes 100 hours or more.
In these cases, a hydrotherapist would need to follow state law with respect to licensing in their field. A recent study reported that 55 percent of American spas offer hydrotherapy options, and that translates into career opportunities for spa workers with hydrotherapy training. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for massage therapists is is $35,970, but specialized knowledge such as hydrotherapy training can make you more marketable and add to your salary—a practitioner might earn as much as $75 to $120 per hour for a single colonic therapy session.
Whether your focus is spa work, health care, physical therapy or naturopathy, hydrotherapy training can be a valuable modality to add to your professional repertoire.
More recently, garlic has been discovered to lower blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure, reduce the clotting activity of blood platelets and to have antitumor activity. Ginkgo increases blood flow to the brain, improving brain function, including short-term memory and alertness. Its astringent nature helps with diarrhea, and it is an effective nausea and indigestion remedy. This herb is used to enhance liver regeneration after exposure to heavy metals, radiation or toxic chemicals, as well as alcoholic and other liver damage. It enhances resistance to colds and flu (particularly when taken at the onset), is useful for septicemia and skin complaints (such as boils, abscesses or carbuncles), aids in the treatment of wounds and is used as a mouthwash for gum problems. It is also a remedy for rheumatism, arthritis, bronchitis, tinnitis and hysteria, and it is a known muscle relaxant.
In clinical trials, ginseng has been shown to improve resistance to stress and enhance mental and physical performance.
Several studies have proven it effective in reducing the frequency of nocturnal urination and as a remedy for benign prostatic hypertrophy with symptoms such as burning or incomplete urination and reduced flow.
Cranberry juice has been proven effective against bladder infections by acidifying the urine and rendering the bacteria unable to adhere to the bladder lining. Its antibacterial properties make the tea useful as a mouthwash to prevent plaque formation. John’s wort shows great promise as an antiviral and anti-inflammatory agent and is being researched for its potential benefit to AIDS patients.
A number of clinical studies support the sleep-promoting and central nervous system-relaxing qualities of this popular herb in cases of insomnia, overexcitement and exhaustion. Through treatment, patients can achieve balance in both their physical body and emotional well-being. Greek women recognized the benefits of these aromatic oils and used them as beauty treatments on their skin.
Techniques included stroking, pressing and squeezing, and striking to manually treat physical issues.
Furthermore, its reputation endured another unsavory period with the advent of massage parlors where the practice became associated with the sex trade. As a result, massage earned a place as a legitimate and respectable form of alternative and complementary medicine and because recognized in society’s wellness boom—the focus on disease prevention through maintaining wellness. Many energy healers incorporate their energy healing training into practices such as massage therapy or acupressure.
If your energy healing curriculum is part of a massage therapy program, you can expect to spend anywhere from 400 to 1,000 hours completing your training.
Many spa workers specialize in aromatherapy or herbal medicine administered within a hot or cold bath. Some forms of hydrotherapy training, such as colonic therapy and aquatic therapy, may lead to a specialty certification. Fitness and health clinics also offer employment options for physical therapists who practice aquatic therapy. In Chinese medicine, cinnamon is used to warm the body’s interior to ease joint aches, chest obstruction and phlegm retention.
In Chinese medicine, it is used for organ prolapses, headaches, measles and sore gums due to superficial heat. The juice has also been used for kidney stones (and their prevention) and chronic urethritis. Studies in Japan have shown that those who drank the most green tea had the lowest risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It has long been used as a remedy for uterine cramping, mild depression, bedwetting and anxiety. Today, massage therapy stands as a highly respected holistic healing method practiced across the world. In this system, the practitioner applies pressure to specific points or reflex zones on the feet and hands. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for massage therapists is $37,180.
Ultimately, though, energy healing training can help you facilitate wellness in patients using calming, non-invasive, drug-free methods. The Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute (ATRI), for instance, grants Aquatic Therapeutic Exercise Certification to professionals who complete 15 hours of education in the area and pass an exam. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
It has a beneficial expectorant, warming effect on the lungs and is used for bronchial and pulmonary infections, pneumonia, colds and flu. Because of its circulatory-stimulating properties, this herb has also been of benefit in peripheral arterial disease, increasing the distance people can walk without pain. Cinnamon bark warms the body, invigorates the blood, dispels internal coldness and improves digestion.
It is also used locally as an antiseptic for burns, wounds, bites, skin ulcers, eczema and psoriasis. Due to its hormone-balancing qualities, black cohosh has become popular for relieving hot flashes.
It is often considered a good tonic for the sexual and urinary systems of both men and women. In turn, the recipient experiences beneficial effects on the areas of the body that connect to those zones. In China, garlic is commonly used as a worm remedy, as a detoxifying agent, and to prevent and treat influenza. It has also been shown effective at preventing bacteria from forming dental plaque in the mouth.
Ginkgo extracts have shown promise for treating and preventing macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as a host of autoimmune disorders such as asthma and hepatitis. One of its main active ingredients, hypericin, is a strong anti-inflammatory and can penetrate through the skin when applied locally as an oil.
The oil or tincture applied locally is one of the most effective remedies to quickly reduce the pain of a scrape or burn.



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