How to Become a Holistic Physician

Overview

Holistic physicians provide healing in a manner that cares for the body, mind, and spirit of an individual. Unlike conventional medical or healthcare providers, holistic physicians integrate many different types of therapy in a way that promotes the best possible health of a person. The goal of holistic medicine is to focus on disease prevention, rather than treating disease. Holistic physicians attempt to find the root cause of disease when it is present.

Many holistic healthcare providers or physicians attempt to look at the spiritual causes for disease, in addition to the physical causes of imbalance in the body. The role of a holistic physician may be more of a guide than simply a healer. The patient visiting a holistic physician will take on a very active role in the healing practice. Many holistic physicians have multiple specialties, or work in a practice with many other holistic health providers, as a tool to help patients heal in the best manner possible.

Work Environment

The work environment of holistic physicians is varied. Some work in private practice, others in a patient’s home, still others out of their own home, while others may work in a healing community in conjunction with other holistic health practitioners including massage therapists, acupuncturists, and other healers. There is no set work environment. Holistic physicians may also work in tandem with conventional medical providers. The hours a holistic physician may work may be different than an ordinary physician. Some may work by appointment only, while others may work set hours.

Requirements

Education

Today the term “Holistic Physician” is varied, and offers multiple interpretations. Conventional doctors have a very set track, requiring specific education and training. However, there are no set criteria for defining the licensing and educational standards for holistic or alternative medical physicians or practitioners in the United States. There are boards which regulate certain types of medical practitioners, including Chiropractors and Acupuncturists however. Licensing of different types of alternative health providers is typically provided at the state level, but not all states require the same regulation.

Training

Holistic physicians may train at various institutions, although there are no formal standards. A National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine does exist. State Licensing Boards also exist for certain providers, including acupuncture and massage therapist. To qualify as a competent holistic physician, training can be accomplished at an accredited training institution. One that requires a minimum number of training hours, and requires an examination and hands on training techniques will provide the best possible learning and outcome. Typically training programs include training as national counselors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, training in naturopathy, homeopathy, and related fields according to the American Holistic Medical Association.

Licensing and/or Certification

Many states requiring licensing to practice as a complementary and alternative holistic practitioner. If you acquire licensing, you are more likely to be considered as a competent professional. It is important to check in with your state to verify what the credentials are for holistic physicians.

Many holistic physicians carry more than one credential. For example, a holistic physician may provide care as a naturopath, and provide care in acupuncture and homeopathy. It is also common for a holistic physician to carry a bachelor or master degree in a traditional healthcare field along with their specialty field in holistic medicine.

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Compassion and a commitment to the care of the mind, body, and spirit are absolutely essential conditions of anyone interested in committing to the field of complementary and alternative medicine. Many holistic physicians take an oath declaring their commitment to alternative practices and care of the individual as a unique person.

Salary

The salary of alternative practitioners varies tremendously depending on the specialty field the complementary provider practices in, and what type of hours a holistic practitioner practices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary of a massage therapist is $40,350 each year, with top physicians making more than $70,140 each year. Chiropractors earned a median salary of 67,200. Most doctors earn a minimum of $25 per hour.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for natural physicians is promising, with job growing expected to be faster than average for most occupations. More individuals are turning to alternative medicine as a means of preventing disease, rather than treating disease as the population ages. The field of mind, body, and health has been continually growing in recent years, and is expected to continue to do so during the next decade and beyond, making holistic medicine an excellent career choice.

Related Reading

Further Reading and References

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