The pursuit of happiness: Healingg’s foray into a $115 billion industry

Yes, the world is gone digital; traditions have made way for trends; science is celebrated. At the same time, more and more people around the world, regardless of their religious background, believe in the power of alternative healing therapies. Yoga, Reiki, Pranic healing, Hypnotherapy, Meditation and so on have more followers today than ever before. Therefore, it’s no surprise that an entrepreneur has created a platform for alternative healers/practitioners.

Healingg.com by Abhishek Agarwal is an online place to search for alternative healers and practitioners near you. You can go through their detailed profiles and access feedback. And if you like a particular healer, you can get in touch with them and avail their services.

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The alternative healing industry is a big market. According to NBC News, Americans alone spent almost $34 Billion on alternative healing in 2007. That included not just herbal remedies, but even yoga, meditation, chiropractic, acupuncture services, etc. And according to Reportlinker, by the year 2015, this industry will be reaching $115 Billion globally.

“One of the reasons that make Healingg popular is that it appeals to everyone, no matter what their background is, and makes it very easy for them to send and receive healing,” says Abhishek. “With ever increasing costs of modern medicine and their unwanted side-effects, many people are becoming more holistic in their approach to healing, and are turning towards alternative healing modalities.”

Freemium and premium models

Healingg.com is free for those who want to send and receive prayers or healing. It is also free for practitioners who want to list their services on their site. “But for those practitioners who want more exposure and features to grow their practice, we have monthly subscription plans. These plans are geared towards increasing their business by giving them better visibility throughout the site, and by offering them additional tools to engage with other members of the site,” Abhishek explains.

They will soon start accepting advertisements, and also open online stores through which practitioners can sell their products and event tickets.

“We are living in times when there is a mad rush for survival, money, fame and power. And because of that, most of us have messed up our priorities and have forgotten how to be happy. We have placed the health of our mind and body low on our priorities list, exposing ourselves to many lifestyle diseases,” he says about the relevance of the idea.

Insights into the alternative medicine industry

According to Reportlinker, around 75% of the population in emerging nations receive alternative medical healthcare, compared with over half of the population of developed nations, particularly for lifestyle-related diseases.

The alternative medicine market is also benefiting from changes in the insurance landscape, with more companies covering complementary and alternative medical care. One major obstacle to industry growth involves the comparatively slack condition of its regulations, and less extensive research and developing methods than in modern medicine. The degree of risk associated with alternative therapies is sometimes perceived as higher, relative to more mainstream healthcare in developed countries.

  • Analysts peg the global herbal supplement and remedy industry at $105 billion by 2017
  • In the last 10 years, the market has recorded strong growth, relatively unaffected by the economic recession
  • Trend toward using herbs to prevent and treat illness, greater acceptance of functional foods, the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices publication concerning dietary supplements and supplier innovation, are  factors that helped.
  • Female consumers represent the largest group of users

“This trend has been on the rise since many years, and will continue to do so. This opens up good opportunities to entrepreneurs who can build a sustainable business in this space,” the report concludes.

The ‘Healingg’ trigger

Abhishek Agarwal HealinggAbhishek had started his online career with Baazee.com (now eBay.in) during the beginning of the Indian ecommerce bloom. Later, he moved to creating niche websites and affiliate marketing. He is a “staunch believer in the Law of Attraction, the power of our thoughts, and the importance of feeling good”. A few years ago, he started Revelri “to create a practical solution to help people realize that being Happy is a conscious choice. And that Happiness is not a destination that we reach some day. It is there available to us in every step of our way.”

At Revelri, there was section called Synergy, dedicated to sending and receiving distance healing. “Although I am not a professional healer, I have had personal experiences in healing others and myself. I have also seen other healers do some amazing healing ‘miracles’. So my belief in distance healing was unshakeable. And I felt if we could include Synergy in Revelri and help people feel better about their health, they would be happier. That was in line with Revelri’s purpose – to make people happier,” he says.

Synergy became popular. “Hundreds of people started posting their healing experiences and thousands of people sent them healing. In fact, it became so popular that it overshadowed the core idea of Revelri itself – that of performing Happiness activities!” So Abhishek decided to plug-out Synergy from Revelri, and give it a separate identity of its own.

In November 2013, he started working on Healingg.com. It took his team around 2 months to get the basic prototype ready.  They did a test launch in India in January 2014, and over 200 practitioners signed up within a few days.

Healingg is based in Kolkata. As of now, Abhishek is the only in-house person in the team. “I have good and reliable teams to which I outsource product development, design and technical support.”

The differentiation

There are websites dedicated to certain alternative healing therapies where you will find a list of practitioners. For example, on Reiki websites, you might find a list of Reiki practitioners, but you will not find Pranic healers, NLP or Qi-Gong practitioners. “On Healingg.com, we bring together the whole gamut of global alternative healers under one roof, with exhaustive details about each of them, including client reviews and testimonials,” Abhishek says.

He adds: “Healingg.com is unique also because users can submit detailed healing cases, and start receiving free healing from around the world. We are not aware of any structured website that does that in the way that we do. Now, a combination of the above two aspects of Revelri is very unique, and there is no website that does that. “

Currently, there are two challenges before Healingg according to Abhishek:

- Getting a proper payment processor in India that can process recurring payments for our Indian practitioners. “We are currently using Paypal, but Indian users cannot pay through Paypal.”

- Marketing budget. “We need to reach out to a large group of practitioners around the world, but we do not currently have the budget to do so.”

healingg2So far, Healingg has been self-funded.  They have over 300 practitioners on board now. “Since ours is a marketplace model, we not only need to get more practitioners on board, but we also need to bring together those who need healing. We want to do this using extensive social media campaigns and even offline advertising including mailers and print advertisements,” Abhishek says of his plans.

He recalls an oft-repeated advice from a lot of successful entrepreneurs: That one has to understand and focus on the core idea. “I heard this piece of advice several times, but never really got it. It was only after spending a painful about of time, effort and money on Revelri, did I understand what our core idea for Revelri was. And that understanding gave us clarity. This helped us get ready with the current version of our Healingg.com website in around 1/20th the cost, 1/20th the time, and 1/20th the effort than that of Revelri!”

He feels grateful to all of them who had urged him to focus on the core idea. To them, he wants to say: “Yes, I have finally got it!”

Check out the startup here.

Do you think the alternative healing industry would surpass $115 Billion globally? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Malavika Velayanikal

Malavika Velayanikal

Malavika Velayanikal is Executive Editor of YourStory.com and an innovation junkie . She is hooked to bold ideas. Got a NEWS TIP related to anything in the world of tech, startups and entrepreneurs? Email her at malavika@yourstory.com