While a completely stress-free life is impossible (and not very healthy — our bodies need some stress!), there are many health care careers that focus on reducing patients’ stress levels to help them live healthier lives. Prospective health care professionals who enjoy living a low stress lifestyle themselves and are looking to share this calm, relaxed approach to life with others would do well to consider becoming an athletic trainer, a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, a dietitian or a naturopathic physician.
1. Athletic trainers prevent and treat physical stress.
Athletic trainers assess patients to screen for potential injuries and illnesses or risk factors that would increase the likeliness of physical stresses. They develop and implement programs that help increase flexibility, strength and cardiovascular fitness so that patients can reduce these risks even as they live active lifestyles.
Not only do these trainers help keep injuries from happening, but they also examine, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate injuries and medical conditions. These multi-skilled health professionals work with physicians and other health care professionals to promote physical well-being.
If you’re interested in sports medicine, you might also consider becoming a(n):
2. Massage therapists soothe tired bodies.
Massage therapists take a hands-on approach to helping patients relieve stress. Both physical and physiological stress can be reduced using various techniques, including trigger point therapy. Additionally, this type of therapy can decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Meditation often goes hand in hand with massage, and a combination of both can really help clear the mind. In addition to reducing anxiety, meditation can have the added benefit of helping patients overcome addiction, increase concentration and lower pain levels.
If massage therapy interests you, you may also want to explore becoming a physical therapist.
3. Acupuncturists take a holistic approach.
Acupuncture/oriental medicine practitioners (AOMs) establish qi, or energy. AOMs can help find imbalances and correct them with acupuncture, cupping, acupressure, exercise, herbs or even a mix of all of these methods. In fact, often times a combination of holistic methods are used during acupuncture, including essential oils.
While acupuncture isn’t something you can try at home, it has been proven to help improve the symptoms of many diseases, depression and anxiety. Patients recovering from heart disease can also benefit from acupuncture helping to lower blood pressure. When helping a patient find an acupuncturist or clinic, encourage them to look for someone who is licensed and willing to work with you to find the right approach.
If the natural, patient-led approach that acupuncturists take to patient care interests you, add these careers to your list of possibilities to explore:
4. Dietitians heal from the inside out.
Dietitians and nutritionists have the unique perspective of being able to focus on the inside of the body, even when helping to treat the outside of the body. When stress levels rise, people are more likely to eat convenient, fast and unhealthy foods. Comfort foods provide just that, and while they may taste good, they aren’t providing the body with appropriate nutrition or fuel.
Dietitians are able to help patients establish a routine of making healthy choices, so when stress creeps up, it’s easier to fall back on what their body knows. Along with making healthy food choices, to include lots of fruits, veggies, antioxidants and drinking enough water, during particularly stressful times, they encourage patients to reduce alcohol, caffeine and sugar consumption.
If helping people with their nutrition is of interest, you’ll be glad to know that general practitioners work with nutritionists regularly. You may also consider a career as a:
5. Naturopathic physicians use the power of nature.
Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are trained in the art and science of natural health care. Their goal is to treat each patient by taking into account the individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors. They may achieve this through prescribing clinical or therapeutic means such as spinal manipulation, massage therapy, botanical medicines, homeopathy and craniosacral therapy. NDs work with many of the careers above as well as with allopathic physicians (MDs) in order to ensure their patients are living full, healthy lives.
If you want to learn more about other fields that work with NDs you should check out the following careers:
These are just a few of the many career paths that might be right for you if you are interested in helping people to live lower stress lives. Check out our Career Explorer for even more potential positions to explore.