Energy Medicine Career Info and Education Requirements

Energy medicine is a form of complementary and alternative medicine based on the belief that the human body holds natural energies that promote healing and peak performance. Practitioners use their knowledge of energy and balance in the body to treat and prevent illness, relieve pain, and address emotional and mental disorders. Energy medicine practitioners may receive training through an accredited program in a related field or through an apprenticeship with a master practitioner.

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Energy Medicine Career Info

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) divides energy medicine therapies into two categories (nccam.nih.gov). Bioelectromagnetic therapies are based on known and proven forms of energy, such as electromagnetism, light therapy and magnet therapy. Biofield therapies, such as Reiki, qi gong and Therapeutic Touch, target the energy fields that practitioners believe surround the human body or even penetrate it. These energy sources are unconfirmed by scientific research.

Energy medicine therapies are non-invasive and designed to restore flow and balance to a patient's energy system. Techniques, as listed by the Energy Medicine Institute, include massaging, pinching and connecting energy, known as acupoints, on a patient's skin (www.energymed.org). Energy medicine therapies are also included in some aspects of Oriental medicine and Asian bodywork therapies.

Employment Outlook

The Explore Health Careers website reports that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a fast-growing field with excellent job prospects (www.explorehealthcareers.org). Demand for CAM practitioners among the American public is increasing. A 2005 study by the Institute of Medicine found that U.S. patients are seeing CAM practitioners more often than primary care physicians (www.iom.edu).

Education Requirements

There are no standardized training and licensing requirements for energy medicine practitioners. However, there are degree programs and certifications for acupuncture and Oriental medicine, which include energy medicine therapies.

Degree Programs

The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and accredits professional master's degree, certificate and diploma programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine (www.acaom.org). The ACAOM also lists schools offering accredited educational programs for these professions. Specific academic requirements vary, but in general most acupuncture schools require three years of training, and Oriental medicine programs require 3-4 years. A bachelor's or associate's degree is required for admission into most programs.

Training

Though some energy medicine therapies do not have special licensing or professional standards, others do require specific training. The energy healing therapy Reiki must be taught by a master or an experienced teacher and has three levels of training which may take years to complete. According to NCCAM, licensed health care professionals are increasingly seeking training in Reiki.

Certification and Licensing

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) offers certification in acupuncture and Oriental medicine (www.nccaom.org). NCCAOM also administers the Asian Bodywork Therapy exam and lists state-by-state requirements for certification and licensure in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

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