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Holistic Classes, Courses and Training Programs

Holistic medicine is a type of health care that promotes wellness of the whole person. It takes into account physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects and seeks to address the causes of illness rather than the symptoms.

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Essential Information

Holistic training programs are most often centered on healing, although there are also holistic educators, artists and others who incorporate holistic health into their work. Colleges and universities offer classes and programs in holistic medicine, education, nutrition, counseling and other areas. Programs are available at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

General holistic health studies can be taken at the baccalaureate level. Courses are offered in various areas, including Chinese perspectives of medicine, acupressure and massage. Undergraduate programs are designed for current and prospective health care workers, as well as individuals interested in bringing a holistic perspective to their work and their lives. Some holistic training programs are not accredited, and students should check accreditation status before enrolling.

Holistic nursing programs are becoming more common; most combine holistic and conventional Western medicine. These programs are usually similar in length to and provide the same certifications as traditional nursing programs; however, coursework focuses on the whole patient.

List of Courses

The following courses are commonly included in a variety of holistic medicine training programs.

Overview of Holistic Health

This undergraduate course provides an overview of the various therapies and practices of holistic health care. Students explore the work of leading clinicians, authors, healers and researchers in the field of holistic health. Healing modalities like acupuncture, yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic medicine are explored. The strengths and weaknesses of current holistic healing modalities are investigated.

Nursing Fundamentals

Programs in holistic nursing generally require students to take an introductory course in nursing foundations. A foundations course uses a holistic approach to teach the fundamentals of nursing and introduces the school's particular philosophy. An introductory course in holistic nursing examines the ways in which holistic nursing can be practiced in diverse cultural and social settings. Students are introduced to the nursing process and learn basic nursing and communication skills.


This course examines the effects nutrition has on overall health. Students explore the way nutrition affects health, disease and recovery from illness. The basic principles behind holistic nutrition are discussed alongside current issues in general nutrition. Major dietary issues in current nutritional thinking, such as the effects of macro- and micronutrients and antioxidants, are discussed. Students are urged to think of nutrition and eating from a whole foods-based approach.

Healing Through Art

Designed for those who wish to work or are already working in health care, social work and the arts, this course covers the way in which various art forms can be used to promote healing. Students learn how art therapy can be used to reduce stress, facilitate health and complement traditional techniques of treating mental and physical illnesses. Focus is on the visual arts, movement, poetry, music and drama.

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