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Shared Origins of Reflexology, Acupressure, Acupuncture, and Massage
Discover the Similarities and Differences Between Chinese Medicine Careers
Traditional Chinese medicine promotes the stimulation and flow of energy or “qi” through the channels in a body’s energy network to improve circulation, movement and overall quality of life.
Reflexology, acupressure, acupuncture and massage have similar origins in Chinese medicine and share the concept of using pressure points on the body to relieve stress and promote the body’s ability to heal.
Read on to learn how these practices differ—and are similar.
Natural Healing Through Acupressure
Acupressure is a specialization of massage which influences the flow ofqi by stimulating certain points with pressure. While acupuncture uses fine needles to manipulate these points, acupressure uses fingers and the thumb. By using pressure points the practitioner can control different forms of chronic pain.
Acupressure is a noninvasive form of massage that involves knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, internal organs, and systems of the body. Before starting a career you need 500 hours of acupressure training and certification administered by the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA) .
The Traditional Art of Acupuncture
The art of Chinese medicine’s acupuncture dates back more than 3,000 years to China as a traditional form of treatment for illness. This method provides relief by inserting needles at pressure points in the body, and by manipulating them to promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself. The needles are fine, flexible and about the diameter of a human hair. Most patients find this form of therapy relaxing and sometimes fall asleep during the treatment.
Requirements for practicing a career in acupuncture vary from state to state, but are among the most stringent of the alternative medicine disciplines. In some states earning an undergraduate degree is mandatory before you can take the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) examination. Most acupuncture training degrees are offered as three-year master’s programs. You should check the state requirements before choosing your acupuncture school.
The Relaxing Power of Massage
Massage is an ancient and universal therapy found in cultures all around the world, including ancient Chinese medicine. Practitioners reduce stress and relieve muscle tension through rubbing and manipulation, and relax muscles by increasing the flow of blood. The benefits for a patient can include reduced anxiety and depression, pain relief, and a healthy decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. There are many styles of massage and massage practitioners often specialize in several techniques.
Massage school programs are approved by state boards, so you should look into the state requirements where you plan to pursue your practice. Completing an education in massage therapy can take 300 to 500 hours, based on the state requirements. Afterwards, you will be eligible to take the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. This certificate is nationally recognized, but must be renewed every four years.
The Practice of Reflexology
Reflexology is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy which focuses on relieving stress in our bodies by working specifically with hands and feet. Pressure points found in these areas correspond to organs and tissue that normally cannot be reached by a normal massage. By stimulating a pressure point the corresponding area will experience a beneficial effect through the reflex of the nervous system. This therapy is noninvasive, is considered to be a specialization of massage, and can be used to increase the income of a career in massage.
To begin a career in reflexology you need 110 credit hours from a reflexology school or training program. Most massage schools will offer reflexology training. Certificates are not required to practice reflexology, but after completing the course you can take the national certification examination administered by the American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB), which may improve your employment opportunities.
Career Outlook for Traditional Healing Therapies
Career positions in the field of traditional, alternative medicine are expected to increase significantly as people continue to learn the many benefits associated with these natural health specialties. A survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted employment will increase at a much faster rate through 2029, around 21% for massage therapists. While all of the traditional healing arts have differences, the results and goals are similar. Demand for Chinese medicine and alternative medicine are rising, and now is the perfect time to join the program that will direct you toward your rewarding and progressive natural health profession.
Sources: Massage Therapy Careers