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A Guide to Becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner

Ningthoujam Sandhyarani
A holistic health practitioner treats a person through natural healing techniques, alternative health therapies, and herbal medicine. Here is some information on how to become one.
The philosophy behind the practice of holistic health is to enhance the natural healing ability of the body by boosting the immune system.
Unlike conventional medicine doctors, a holistic health practitioner takes care of the overall health needs of a person, that include the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, bio-energetic, and socio-cultural aspects. Over here, treatment is targeted on the mind, body, spirit, and one's overall well-being.
Alternative medicine forms a base for practicing holistic health, which has been used for thousands of years.
The major treatment approaches of holistic health include reiki, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), herbology, homeopathy, chiropractics, nutritional counseling, yoga, acupressure, massage therapy, reflexology, breathing exercises etc.
According to the American Holistic Health Association, living a holistic lifestyle improves the health and wellness of a person.
Associations like the American Association of Drugless Practitioners Certification and Accreditation Board provides a certification that helps you become part of their prestigious holistic family; an application needs to be filled prior to becoming a certified holistic practitioner, post evaluation by the board.
You can also check out the National Association Of Holistic Health Practitioners to get a license once you've acquired a degree/completed a course in the same field, and specialized in a modality that the NAHHP recognizes. You can refer to both associations' official websites to quell any doubt or concern.

How to Become a Holistic Health Practitioner

Before enrolling in a holistic health course, do extensive research on the duties and responsibilities of a holistic health practitioner, and what is involved as part of the license/certification process. There are several programs related to holistic medicine and holistic health.
There are short duration programs that involve a few months of training, while there are also degree courses that require three to four years of study. The former is useful, in case you're already an acupuncturist or a massage therapist.
You need to undertake a degree course in holistic therapy. As expected, obtaining an undergraduate degree in the field of science (preferably in the subjects of nutrition, anatomy, physiology, chemistry) is a prerequisite for getting admission in a degree course. Therefore, one must prepare accordingly, to enroll in a good holistic therapy school.
While deciding to take up a holistic health program, make sure you do sufficient research regarding the courses offered by the a holistic health institute.
Since holistic therapy is a diverse field with many areas of specialization (massage therapy, yoga, acupressure, homeopathy, etc.), some institutes may offer a limited choice, but it is important to specialize in the modality that you specifically want to get into.
It is advisable to enroll in the institute that offers the field that you want to major in, so that you enjoy your career down the line, while then turning yourself into a sought-after holistic practitioner.
Once you complete training course in holistic health, you can opt for a certification program in your specialization. They are an added advantage to prove your excellence. Many students opt for certifications to increase business and job opportunities.
In case your institute does not provide certifications, you can enroll in other holistic health schools and universities. As soon as you obtain your certification, you can choose to practice, either on your own or in hospitals and clinics.
A better option is to work for one or two years and gain experience before starting your own business. There are advantages of owning a business in holistic health - you need to have the confidence to practice on your own and keep your hours flexible.
While a therapist engaged in energy healing gets a lower income, an acupuncturist's salary is more than satisfactory - but then again, it all boils down to the popularity or effectiveness of your chosen modality.
After completing the training course in holistic health, it is advisable to attempt the licensing exam. This way, you can become a licensed holistic health practitioner in your specialization. After being qualified as one, you can also opt for counseling and teaching holistic health techniques.
To become a counselor, you need to have a Master's degree in holistic health counseling and also clear the relevant licensing exam.
Nowadays, people prefer natural healing over conventional treatment methods, because there are no side effects experienced in holistic healing, provided that one consults a licensed practitioner. Considering these factors, the demand for qualified holistic health practitioners is very high, where job opportunities of the same have significantly increased.