In Israel, there is no licensing procedure for alternative medical fields. Many practitioners work privately while others work in Kupot Cholim (health clinics). In order to work in a Kupah, you must present your credentials from abroad and show that you have malpractice insurance. Obtaining malpractice insurance in Israel also requires you to present your credentials.

There is a broad range of salaries in alternative medicine in Israel. Salaries differ between those who work in a Kupah and those who work privately. Like any other business, building up a clientele is the biggest challenge in the beginning. In order to develop a client base, you can give lectures, network with other professionals in your field, and use social media to attract patients. It is important to charge competitive rates so as not to price yourself out of the market.

Training Courses in Israel
There are several institutions in Israel that offer a degree or certification in alternative medicine. Here are the names of a few:

Online Resources

Insurance
There are several companies that provide malpractice insurance. The oldest is Madanes Rappaport that focuses primarily on providing malpractice insurance for people working in alternative medicines. Phone: (03) 638-0000.

Kupot Cholim
Each of the four health funds, Meuchedet, Maccabi, Clalit and Leumit offers alternative medicine options. Their websites are listed below.

Professional Organizations

Interviews

Interview with Bruce Dublin, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

What is your current profession?
I practice acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. I work in Maale Adumim for a Kupah and work privately in a physical therapy office as well as on my own.

Does it make any difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
You can study here or abroad, as long as the school has a good reputation and the course of study is a minimum of 3-4 years.

What are the benefits of working in your field?
For me it’s a great profession, because I enjoy what I do. Also, when you work privately, you can determine what conditions suit you best. This was especially important in the beginning when my Hebrew was pretty weak.

What recommendations can you offer Olim who are looking to work in this field?
Try to keep expenses down by renting space in another office. It is also important that you don’t come to Israel thinking that you can only practice alternative medicine, especially in the beginning. Be prepared to work outside of your field while you are building up your practice. Be flexible! Remember that it’s a privilege to live in Israel, no matter what you do.

Try to work through a Kupah (health plan). It doesn’t pay as well as private patients do, but the volume is better, plus you get more exposure. In general I feel that Israelis are relatively receptive to acupuncture and herbal medicine.

Any advice for students looking to go into your field?
Get a good education and gain as much experience as possible.

How do you feel about working and living here in Israel?
I’m living the dream! What more can I say?

A special thank you to Bruce for participating in this interview. You can reach Bruce for further information at [email protected].

Interview with Beth Prebor, former midwife and practitioner of Chinese medicine

What is your current profession?
I am a practitioner of Chinese medicine. I am licensed in Chinese acupuncture, Chinese herbs and Tui Na. I specialize in women’s health; I am a former midwife and am currently taking women’s health classes. I am trying to educate the community on how Chinese medicine can help women. I recently started up my own company and have a home office in Gush Etzion and a Jerusalem office. I just finished school a year ago. My ultimate goal in my profession is to bring acupuncture into hospitals, specifically IDF units.

How do you go about establishing your business?
For now, I am relying mostly on word of mouth. I talk to people everywhere and my clients also spread the word. I’ve also done some public speaking and plan on doing more in the future. Additionally, I am working on publicizing my company through social media venues.

What training is necessary to enter your field?
I trained in Israel at Reidman College. Unlike America, Israel does not offer official credentials in alternative medicine. What you can do is take an exam from the IATCM and thereby become a member. It is not a legal organization, so I do not have credentials, per se, but it doesn’t make much of a difference here in terms of attracting more clients.

What are the benefits of working in this field?
It is an amazing, satisfying field because I help bring people more in to balance with their bodies. People come to me in pain and I help them fully rid the pain forever. The herbal medicine I use also makes these people more comfortable and healthy. I feel like I’m helping people in a real way. Most people that come to me come because doctors can’t help them. An advantage in this field is that I have normal hours that I establish myself.

What is the salary range?
If you work for kupah it is not a lot. The average amount per treatment is between 120-250 NIS. An average monthly salary is 12-15000 NIS. Obviously, if you work more than one room at a time you earn more. There is also community based acupuncture. I know a woman who sees everyone in one big room and charges 90 NIS, but she sees 20 patients in a day. Basically you need to factor everything in. It’s not the biggest money maker, but my teachers are able to support their families on it.

What advice can you share with Olim chadashim?
Know that practicing in Israel is different than in America. People charge more in America for treatments. I find that dealing with the herbs in Israel is harder; they are harder to come by here. Bring as much equipment and books as you can with you. Though everything is available here, it costs more.

How do you feel living and working here?
I love where I live and I love what I do! At the beginning it’s hard, don’t get me wrong, yet ten years down the line I am so happy where I am now and it’s worth it!

A special thank you to Beth for participating in this interview. You can reach Beth for further information at [email protected].

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