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Spiritual healing—what is it and how do you become a healer?

a spiritual healer with her hands hovering over a client laying on the floor

Together, the body, mind, and spirit act as interdependent units. When illness or injury occurs, it causes an imbalance. Spiritual healers claim to channel energy through themselves and re-energize patients so that the healing process can occur. To become one, proper holistic spiritual healing education and training are encouraged.

In This Article

What is spiritual healing?

Spiritual healing is an alternative treatment performed by one or more practitioners that aims to improve or heal any number of patient ailments. Many differing modalities of spiritual healing currently exist in the world.

As a form of holistic medicine, spiritual healing claims to help relieve a wide range of physical, mental, or emotional conditions, from broken bones to depression. 

Placing their hands on the patient, spiritual healers channel energy from practitioner to patient in order to heal the afflicted area. Some may consider spiritual healing particularly effective for musculoskeletal problems such as stiff necks, frozen shoulders, and bad knees.

It is important to note, however, that there is no direct scientific data that supports the efficacy of spiritual healing and as such, it is a subjective alternative that will have different results for each person.

What do spiritual healers do?

If you are pursuing spiritual healing as a form of treatment, or with the interest of becoming a practitioner, it is important to understand how personal the treatment process is with each client.

No one size fits all treatments

There is no single set approach when it comes to developing a client’s spiritual healing treatment plan. Practitioners will build a unique plan for each individual to suit their needs.

A client could be seeking relief from mental or physical issues caused by inner or external events. This means that practitioners must rely on the bond that they have built with a client in order to best address their needs.

Diagnosis and treatment plans

Spiritual healers understand the necessity of having a unique approach toward diagnosis and treatment for each client. For example, someone with a broken arm may have the same exact western medicinal treatment plan as someone else with a broken arm.

With this type of healing, a treatment plan will vary from client to client regardless of similarities in ailments. This unique approach to each client’s needs is a basic principle of many alternative forms of therapy besides spiritual healing.

According to an expert energy teacher

“While many allopathic practices break a patient down into parts, and then ‘treat’ the part, an alternative therapist should look at their client as a whole being with many moving parts involved and approach care from that perspective,” said Dr. Lola Scarborough, teacher, and trainer at Healing Hut based in League City, Texas.

Once a treatment plan is agreed upon, a wide spectrum of therapeutic strategies is offered to the client. These strategies can range from talk therapy to simple meditative practices, or even one or more of the massage specialties out there, and acupuncture in some instances.

Becoming a spiritual healer

What you’ll study

You can find certificate and diploma programs in holistic spiritual healing available through a variety of specialized healing institutes. You should expect your spiritual healing courses to cover some of the following topics:

  • Theory and history of spiritual healing
  • Anatomy, physiology, and disease
  • Healing movements and practice
  • Energy bodies and flow
  • Working with particular clients, including children and pregnant women
  • Advising clients on self-care practices
  • Spiritual healing professionalism and code of conduct

Additional courses may be offered depending on the specialty of focus. Those pursuing spiritual healing should research programs carefully to find an institute that specializes in their area of interest while also promoting a healthy spiritual learning environment.

Programs with a more generalized focus may aim to teach students about the associated alternative forms of therapy that also contribute to becoming a well-educated spiritual healer.

For example, many programs will educate students in psychotherapy or even yoga and physical mobility techniques. Earning additional education in these similar alternative fields of therapy can contribute to candidates becoming more well-rounded spiritual healers in the future.

Average length of study

Training programs for aspiring healers may take on average up to two years to complete— but this will depend upon the program you choose and the format in which it’s offered.

Some programs may have more in-depth requirements, while others may offer shorter programs with a less heavy focus on spiritual healing traditions and techniques.

Many of these educational programs typically involve a series of weekend or week-long retreats with space in between to allow students to absorb class teachings and practice what they’ve learned.

Average tuition

Since there are so many different types of programs specializing in spiritual healing, potential students may find a range of tuition fees. Programs that take longer and have more completion requirements can cost up to thousands of dollars. Other weekend programs, or shorter educational retreats, may have lower tuition and associated costs.

Some schools or institutions may charge more for accommodations or course materials while others may not offer these services, and you should do your research and look closely at the school’s student outcomes to understand what credentials the course or program will confer.

Spiritual healing certification

At the end of your spiritual healing training, you will receive a certificate or diploma indicating that you’ve met the requirements for practicing as a professional healer. Students already certified in other holistic health professions might be able to earn continuing education credits for spiritual healing classes.

There are no state-certified boards or organizations that oversee the certification standards of spiritual healers. The certification requirements and standards are established by the issuing program, educational institution, or retreat organizers.

Is there a demand for this career?

Due to the public’s interest in alternative therapies, those who pursue a career in spiritual healing may be surprised at the growth this sector could enjoy in the near future.

A 2017 Pew Research study says, “About half of Americans report having tried some form of alternative medicine, such as herbal remedies, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment or energy therapies, at some point during their lifetime.”

The National Institute of Health released a report in 2013 with data showcasing the growing usage of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients specifically. “Among 316 participants, 193 (61.3%) reported (complementary and alternative medicine) CAM use following diagnosis.” [1, 2]

Not only is there an interest in alternative medicine for those with serious conditions, there is a growing popularity among healthy individuals, which bodes well not just for employability for practitioners but opportunities for personal growth and job satisfaction too.

Spiritual healer salary

Alternative medicine practitioner salaries vary widely based on a number of factors, including:

  • geographic location,
  • experience,
  • and employer type.

Those who wish to increase their salary as a private practice spiritual healer may need to grow their clientele through self-promotion, advertising, and networking.

Some holistic health practitioners will choose to become self-employed and supplement their income by teaching professional training programs, speaking at public events, or writing books about their discipline.

Is a spiritual healing career right for you?

This path requires self-motivation and resourcefulness, using fundamentals such as anatomy and physiology as well as alternative energy flow and healing traditions. A big part of the job is a willingness to work closely with people enduring a wide range of emotional, mental, and physical health conditions.

If you can see yourself investing deeply in each client’s treatment needs, then this career may be for you.

“One must hold one’s self to the highest standards and always have the best interests of the client at the core of one’s practice,” said Scarborough. 

In addition to the aforementioned massage techniques, prospective spiritual healers may also benefit from learning about becoming a Reiki master as well as how an alternative form of touch therapy known as polarity therapy works. Only you can decide on the ultimate path you follow.


  1. Evaluation of Trends in the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Health Centers in Khorramabad (West of Iran) NCBI – WWW Error Blocked Diagnostic
  2. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use and Benefit Finding Among Cancer Patients NCBI – WWW Error Blocked Diagnostic

joe edwards

Written and reported by:

Joe Edwards

Staff Writer

Updated: November 3rd, 2021.

Dr. Lola Scarborough

With professional insights from:

Dr. Lola Scarborough

Energy Teacher at Healing Hut