A career in Alternative Medicine

7 minute read
New York University School of Medicine

Modern medicine has a solution to all the problems related to the human body and system. One tablet for headache, another for stomach ache, a couple of them for Diabetes, and so on. While we consume these allopathic medicines, we have no clue about the side effects they are causing to our bodies. Those who know about the after-effects of these tablets take up a different way to cure their issues which is known as Alternative Medicine. It concentrates on curing the disease using natural methods along with other types of physical therapies such as acupuncture, etc. Let us explore the ways to make a career in Alternative Medicine through our blog!

What is Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine refers to any practice that aims to attain the therapeutic effects of medicine but lacks biological plausibility and is untested, untestable, or proven ineffective. Many rebrandings of the same phenomena include complementary medicine (CM), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrated medicine or integrative medicine (IM), and holistic medicine. Alternative treatments all have one thing in common: they are based on pseudoscience rather than medical research. When traditional techniques are employed outside of their intended contexts without sufficient scientific explanation and proof, they become “alternative.” New-age or pseudo are often used disparaging words for the alternative, with little differentiation from quackery.

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What Do Alternative Medicine Doctors Do?

Naturopathic physicians are doctors who operate in the field of complementary and alternative medicine. Prevention strategies, holistic therapy, and a blend of traditional and Western medical practices are the focus of these sorts of doctors. While naturopathic physicians may write prescriptions, they prefer to use natural treatments. Everything from digestive problems to chronic pain to allergies and cancer is treated by them. They can conduct simple surgery, but they rarely undertake big procedures. Minor surgery is usually seen as minimally invasive. Alternative medicine doctors can be found in hospitals, private clinics, and community health centers. Adults and children can use their services. Homeopathy and herbology are two more disciplines of medicine where a holistic medicine practitioner might specialize.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities depend on the career alternative you opt for. However, here is a general list of everyday tasks for a career in alternative medicine.

  • Practitioners must maintain regular appointments with patients and keep records of patients’ medical history.
  • They must provide medical guidance on nutrition and exercise and prescribe natural remedies like herbs, vitamins, botanical extracts, and amino acids.
  • Medical practitioners treat patients with natural therapies like homoeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, and ayurvedic medicine.
  • They focus on human energy healing systems and promote overall wellness with patient education.

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Education Qualifications

There are various degrees available for degrees in alternative medicine. Students can pursue degrees in bachelor’s to postgraduation in various specializations. The following are the various degrees for alternative medicine at different levels of education. 

Diploma & PG Diploma Ayurvedic Pharmacy
Yoga therapy
Massage therapy
Acupuncture and Acupressure
Aroma Therapy
Undergraduate BAMS
BNYS, Diet Therapy
Masters Master of Naturopathy and Yoga Science
Master of Yoga Therapy.
Doctorate Doctor of Naturopathy
Holistic medicine
Philosophy in Alternative Medicine
MD Homeopathy
MD Alternative Medicine

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List of Alternative Medicine Courses

There are various Alternative Medicine courses that students can pursue from Universities abroad. Given below is a list of some of the courses offered in this field:

  • Bachelor of Alternative Medicine
  • Bachelor of Yoga Therapy
  • Bachelor of Acupuncture
  • BSc in Herbal Medicinal Science
  • Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) majoring in Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine)
  • MD in Homeopathy
  • MSc in Herbal Medicinal Science
  • Diploma in Ayurvedic Pharmacy
  • Diploma in Immuno Homeopathy
  • Bachelor of Reiki Healing
  • Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
  • MD Ayurveda
  • PG Diploma in Alternative Medicine

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Bachelor of Alternative Medicine
This is an undergraduate program in which students learn about the different forms of natural healing, including specialization options in several different fields. Areas of study for this degree include Anatomy, Alternative medicine and science, Basic Chemistry, Nutrition and Aging, Herbology, and Chinese medicine

MSc in Herbal Science
This is a PG Alternative Medicine degree program that teaches students both a personal understanding of plants as well as their scientific aspect. The course empowers learners to overcome the gap between modern sciences and traditional herbalism. The subjects which are covered in this program, include Introduction to Herbal Sciences, Microbiology, Immunology, and Human body, Environmental Botany, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Biodiversity conservation, Commercial aspects in herbal sciences, etc.

Diploma in Ayurvedic Pharmacy
Diploma in Ayurvedic Pharmacy is a diploma level program of Ayurveda, which enables students to gain a deeper understanding of the ayurvedic medical properties and chemical composition, its effect, and use for treating ailments. Area of study in the field of Ayurvedic Pharmacy includes Introduction to Ayurveda, Pharmaceutical Biology and Analysis, Pharmacognosy, Toxicology, Industrial Pharmacy, Physical Pharmacy, etc.

MD Ayurveda
This is a postgraduate doctoral program in Alternative Medicine that concentrates on Ayurvedic sciences. The subject covers a broad area of healthcare and lifestyle. It is designed to train students with applications of Ayurveda just like modern medical sciences. Area of study in this program, includes Charak Samhita, Koshthanga Sira Dhamani Srotas Sharir, Garbha Shaarira, Ayurved Itihas, Prayogika Siddhant, Ayurvediya and Darshanika Siddhanta, etc.

Types of Alternative Medicine 

There are five types of complementary and alternative medicine:

  • Whole medical systems
  • Mind-body medicine
  • Practices based on biology that isn’t commonly employed in traditional medicine
  • Manipulative and body-based practices
  • Energy medicine

Whole Medical Systems

Whole medical systems are comprehensive systems with a clear philosophy and explanation for disease, diagnosis, and treatment. The following are some of them:

  • Ayurveda
  • Homeopathy
  • Naturopathy
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

Mind-Body Medicine

Mental and emotional variables influence physical health through a system of interdependent neuronal, hormonal, and immunologic linkages throughout the body, according to mind-body medicine. Behavioral, psychologic, social, and spiritual strategies are employed to improve the mind’s ability to influence the body, hence preserving health and preventing or curing sickness.

Biologically Based Practices

Biologically based methods influence health by utilizing naturally existing chemicals. Here are some instances of these practices:

  • Botanical medicine and natural products
  • Chelation therapy
  • Diet therapies

Manipulative and Body-Based Practices

The primary focus of manipulative and body-based techniques is on the body’s architecture and mechanisms (eg, bones, joints, soft tissues). These practices are founded on the idea that the body can self-regulate and repair itself, and that its many components are interconnected. They include the following:

  • Chiropractic
  • Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Cupping
  • Gua sha (eg, scraping, coining, spooning)
  • Moxibustion

Energy Medicine

Energy medicine aims to influence health by manipulating subtle energy fields (also known as biofields) hypothesized to exist in and around the body. All energy therapies are founded on the notion that the body contains a universal life force (qi) or subtle energy. A vital force has been proposed in the past to explain biological processes that were not fully understood. This power faded away as biological science evolved. Some researchers are still looking into the presence of the biofield and subtle energies.

Energy medicine is used in a variety of treatments, including the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Magnets
  • Therapeutic touch
  • Reiki

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria vary for pursuing a degree in any alternative medical course. Apart from the general requirements mentioned below, students must meet university or college-specific criteria to pursue any course. 

  • For bachelor’s courses, students must have completed 10+2 with  50% marks in the science stream (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology). 
  • Students must have a bachelor’s degree with distinction scores to pursue masters in the desired field.

Top Universities  

There is a wide range of educational institutions across the globe that offer an array of Alternative Medicine courses. Below is a list of top universities and colleges providing the same to students around the world:

Also Read: Top Medical Courses

Top colleges in India

The following are the top colleges in India for pursuing courses in alternative medicine. 

  • Savitribai Phule Pune University
  • Delhi Degree College
  • Singhania University
  • DIHP
  • Bodytree Trust India
  • Shahnaz Hussain’s Women’s World International
  • BAYC, Patna
  • SIPT
  • Acupressure Health Mart New Delhi
  • IAMR Kolkata
  • Holy Angels College of Alternative Medicines Mumbai
  • Jain Vishva Bharati Institut
  • NCHS Punjab
  • SVIM Uttarakhand
  • Bareilly College

Career Prospects

After completion of a Bachelor’s or Master’s program in Alternative Medicine sciences, students can work in Private and Government organizations or can get engaged in research-oriented work. Some of the employment areas for these medical practitioners include private and public/government hospitals, community health and wellness centers, clinics, etc. Job profiles given to the students may range from organization to organisation, enlisted below are some popular ones:

  • Naturopathic Physicians
  • Acupuncturists
  • Chiropractors
  • Osteopathic Physicians
  • Reiki Healer
  • Yoga Therapist
  • Masseuses
  • Lifestyle counsellor
  • Hypnotists
  • Homeopathic Doctor
  • Herbalist
  • Traditional Chinese medicine practitioner
  • Aromatherapist
  • Dieticians and Nutritionists

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Tabulated below is the salary for a few major job profiles under alternative medicine. 

Career Annual Salary
Acupuncturist ₹4,20,873
Chiropractor ₹9,28,009 
Nutritionist ₹2,98,870
Massage Therapist ₹2,20,000
Lifestyle Counselor ₹4,00,000 

This was all about the ways to make a career in Alternative Medicine. If the can’t make a choice regarding which Medicine course you would want to practice, let Leverage Edu be your guiding angel. Book your free career counseling session and skyrocket your career!

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