Holistic health practice involves the use of alternative medicine, such as reiki, acupuncture, or hypnosis, to treat illnesses and improve overall health. Because holistic health practices involve client contact, it is not possible to complete a training program entirely online, but there are free courses available online that can give students some knowledge of the procedures before they begin on-campus studies.
Licensing and certification requirements for practitioners of holistic medicine vary from state to state, with nutrition counselors, naturopaths, homeopaths, and massage therapists among the most commonly regulated. Most states also require licensing in order to practice acupuncture, since it involves the insertion of needles.
The states that regulate holistic care have set minimum requirements for education and training in each field, and often create lists of approved training programs and schools. They may require licensing examinations. Several national professional groups offer certification in various forms of holistic practice, and some states may require these certifications as a condition for licensing.
Students who are looking for a fully-online certificate program in a related field may consider a certificate in holistic nutrition consulting. While these programs don't cover as many aspects of alternative medicine, they are still relevant to those who are interested in the field of wellness.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Acupuncture and Acupressure
- Alternative and Complementary Medicine
- Homeopathic Medicine
- Movement Therapies
- Naturopathic Medicine
- Polarity Therapy
- Traditional Eastern Medicine and Herbology
- Yoga Therapy and Instructor
Certificate in Holistic Health Practice
In an online holistic health practice diploma or certificate program, students study human anatomy and methods for using the body, mind and spirit to improve one's overall health and well-being. This training can help individuals establish a holistic health practice or add to an existing one. However, online programs are uncommon and the online format limits the holistic health practices learners can explore.
Program Information and Requirements
In just 12-36 credit hours of training completed within 2 years, students can build a foundation to develop an understanding of common holistic health practices. Online delivery systems vary. Some require that pupils log into Open University, a system that allows them to register for classes without being admitted into the university, to earn credits, complete a degree program, or sample courses. Other schools have online classrooms that incorporate DVDs, lectures, textbooks, videos, discussion boards and tutoring. The classes are flexible so participants can set their own hours.
Holistic Health Practitioner Coursework
Through these certificate and diploma programs, learners explore the basics of medicine, including human anatomy, physiology, different perspectives on medical practices and an overview of holistic health. There are no general education requirements.
Anatomy and Physiology
Through this class, students learn about different bodily functions and about how they operate in a healthy body. They also study medical terminology.
Pupils learn about carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins and the role they play in the body. They also study methods for promoting wellness through holistic nutrition practices.
Chinese Mind-Body Energetics
This course explores qi, the Chinese theories of energy and balance, and methods for promoting balance.
Participants learn about different herbs that can promote good health or prevent medical conditions. They study the modern research pertaining to a selection of plants, what they do and any negative effects the herbs can have.
Graduates of a certificate or diploma in holistic health can become a holistic health practitioner, a holistic health counselor or a holistic health consultant. This involves working with patients to suggest dietary changes, herbs that can improve health and methods to reduce stress. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide information for individual careers in holistic health, but the median annual salary for healthcare practitioners and technical workers without individual listings was $62,610 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Graduates can continue their education to pursue advanced careers in holistic health. For instance, with a bachelor's degree in nutrition, they can become licensed nutritionists or dietitians, according to the BLS. They can also pursue degree programs in acupuncture, hypnosis, massage therapy, yoga or Chinese medicine. However, the majority of these degree programs are campus-based.
Certification requirements for holistic health practitioners vary by specialty. The American Board of Holistic Medicine, Inc, can certify doctors as specialists in holistic medicine. Those who wish to be holistic psychologists must be certified to take on patients in every state. Chiropractors must also be licensed or certified in all states. Additionally, the American Association of Drugless Practitioners offers a board certification for holistic healthcare workers, and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork tests and certifies massage therapists. Some of these certifications may require continuing education hours to maintain credentials.
Overall, there are few online certification options for holistic health practitioners. The most commonly available online-only options focus on specific topics, like nutrition, so students who want broader training may consider an on-campus program in the field.