Holistic Health Career and School Guide
From the holistic perspective, a case of the sniffles doesn’t arise from simple germ exposure.
It indicates an imbalance in at least one aspect of the sufferer’s entire being—whether it’s physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
A holistic health practitioner approaches her patient as a whole person and not simply a collection of symptoms to address. Instead of prescribing an antibiotic, for example, she might offer acupuncture, herbal medicine, or one-on-one counseling in healthier choices.
Cereal maker John Harvey Kellogg seemed to be ahead of his time in 1921 when he said,”The most eminent physicians are now agreed that very few drugs have any real curative value. The essential thing is right habits of life.”
But well before the visionary Kellogg made his case for the simple life, ancient healers had been employing practices such as acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years.
Holistic Healthcare Today: Rising Demand
With Costco hawking neti pots and community acupuncture clinics popping up in neighborhoods around the country, demand for holistic healthcare is booming. Treatments once considered “out there” are now top of mind for people seeking to take charge of their health.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that roughly 38 percent of adults in the U.S. use some form of complementary or alternative medicine, such as massage therapy, chiropractic, Reiki, yoga and reflexology. Reportlinker values the alternative medicine industry at more than $115 billion annually.
Holistic Health Education: An Overview
Depending on your interests and goals, a holistic health certification can range from a short course in teaching yoga, to a five-year degree in naturopathic medicine. Regardless of the specialty, holistic health coursework tends to emphasize the whole person. Most holistic wellness programs will cover anatomy and physiology; energetic healing systems; nutrition; stress management; therapeutic touch; and natural remedies.
Consider a few of the many options in holistic health education:
Naturopathic Medicine Schools: Students in these intensive, four-year doctoral programs gain a deep understanding of practically all treatment modalities in the holistic health field, including nutrition, massage and herbal remedies. Some naturopathic schools also offer coursework in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, which can extend the program to five years.
Massage Therapy Schools: As massage becomes more mainstream, massage therapy schools are meeting the demand for trained professionals. Students can enroll at more than 350 accredited massage therapy schools at 700 campuses around the country. Depending on the school, the massage coursework might vary from basic Swedish techniques to lymphatic massage, hot stone treatments, Thai style massage, aromatherapy and beyond.
Acupuncture Schools: Blending Eastern philosophies of energy balance with the Western focus on nerve and muscle stimulation, acupuncture schools continue a tradition that’s thousands of years old. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, and the coursework can require anywhere from three to five years. Acupuncture students also Traditional Chinese Medicine and how to incorporate it into the Western health care system.
A Bright Future for Holistic Health Practitioners
Thanks to the alternative wellness boom and the resulting demand for holistic health professionals, now is a great time to become a holistic health practitioner. Evidence of the growing trend toward holistic health practices are reflected in data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, who predict the following increases in demand through 2024:
Holistic health therapy may combine aspects of massage therapy, nutritional counseling, herbology, reflexology, acupressure, yoga, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and polarity in client treatment—basically any natural health modality that can help the client reach optimal health. Other holistic health practitioners tend to emphasize the bodywork aspect of the profession, while others choose to act more as counselors or teachers.
Step Into the Holistic Health Lifestyle
Holistic health isn’t only a professional path, it’s a lifestyle. If you’re drawn to the natural healing arts, a fulfilling new career might be just a credential away. Begin your journey to helping clients reach improved health and well-being, and find the holistic health school that’s right for you.