The term "bodyworker" refers to a field of therapeutic techniques that rely on a hands-on approach to natural healing. The job of a massage therapist may be the most familiar within this field; however, there are other, lesser known jobs that share similarities to massage therapy. If you are interested in pursuing a career in natural healing or bodywork, you may be surprised by the diverse career options available.
A Rolfer is a person who practices the technique of Rolfing Structural Integration, or simply "Rolfing." Rolfing was founded by Dr. Ida P. Rolf as a method to help the body "regain the natural integrity of its form...and freedom of movement," according to the Rolf Institute. Rolfers apply deep manipulation of the fascia and soft tissue similar to massage, but with a systematic intent to reshape and rebalance the body's structural support. Typically, a client receives a series of 10 sessions with a Rolfer. Each session addresses a specific step of "structural integration" and each new session builds on the benefits received from the last. Becoming certified as a Rolfer requires 12 to 18 months of initial training followed by certification. Continued education is necessary to remain certified. An advanced certification is also available. Rolfers typically operate in a private practice. According to the website Rolf USA, in May, 2010, Rolfers earned between 75 and 165 dollars per session.
Reflexologists apply static pressure and light massage techniques to specific points in the hands, feet and ears that are believed to correlate to areas within the body. The practice of modern reflexology in America is largely attributed to Dr. William Fitzgerald, Dr. Joe Shelby Riley and physiotherapist Eunice D. Ingham. Though somewhat similar to a foot or hand massage, the purpose of reflexology is to improve the function of organs and all systems of the body, according to the American Reflexology Certification Board website. A reflexologist may work in a private practice or in an office with other holistic healthcare professionals, such as a massage therapist, acupuncturist or naturopath. The State University website reports that as of May, 2010, the median annual salary for a reflexologist was 35,000 dollars.
Reiki is a technique that attempts to balance the bodies "life force" which reduces stress and promotes health. Like massage, Reiki treatments include relaxation and light touch; however, Reiki does not require the removal of any clothing. More than a just a healing modality, Reiki is also a spiritual practice. The method of learning Reiki is called "attunement" and is transferred from a Reiki Master to a student after physical and spiritual preparation. The process of attunement is said to open the chakras, or energy centers of the body. According to the website Reiki, as of May, 2010, the cost of a Reiki treatment is between 25 and 100 dollars.
- Photo Credit human body image by Alhazm Salemi from Fotolia.com shoulder massage image by Deborah Benbrook from Fotolia.com foot close up image by Robert Kelly from Fotolia.com lotus 3 image by serge simo from Fotolia.com
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