Green Health and Holistic Medicine Careers
Our nation’s weariness and unease with the current state of healthcare is well-known. It’s no wonder that so many in our society are investigating alternative forms of healing and medicine.
Holistic medicine is a field which enables qualified professionals to treat common health problems through the use of homeopathic remedies.
Natural healers learn how to use drug-free, natural healing methods to alleviate pain, eliminate stress, increase physical vitality, and give their patients an overall feeling of well-being.
Holistic medicine emphasizes the need to look at the whole person, including analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values.
Alternative Medicine is the term that applies to medical techniques which are not considered traditional forms of healing and medicine. Alternative medicine includes practices such as herbalism, acupuncture, and (sometimes) massage therapy.
Holistic Medicine Degrees
For entry into a program for holistic studies or alternative healing, most schools require at least a two-year degree or a bachelor’s degree. Most holistic schools and colleges offer professional certification and licensing in many areas, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and massage therapy, to name a few.
Top Schools for Holistic Studies and Alternative Healing
Virginia Beach, VA
This university blends different disciplines including holistic health for its program. Founded by Edgar Cayce
California Institute of Integral Studies
San Francisco, CA
Alternative Medicine Careers Outlook
According to a survey conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), about 40 percent of U.S. adults use some form of alternative care. That number is going up.
The prospects for employment are excellent for those with good training in holistic healing. Holistic healers may find jobs in hospitals, health clubs, a corporate setting, or even the field of education. Many holistic healers are self-employed. Salaries in the field of holistic studies and alternative healing vary from field to field. Individuals in the public sector – hospitals, clinics, universities – tend to make more than individuals who are self-employed.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Alternative Medicine Foundation
- American Holistic Health Association (AHHA)
- Creative Wellness
- Holistic Health and Alternative Medicines
- Health World Online
The term herbal medicine refers to the natural healing methods using plants and herbs as cures for ailments. The most common herbal remedies include food and teas. Also, according to the American Herbalists Guild, an herb can be a root, a piece of tree bark, a mushroom, or anything else which grows naturally and falls into the plant kingdom. In fact, if you look around your backyard, you may find some remedies for the occasional headache or sore back.
Herbal Medicine Education
Many individuals in the herbal medicine field begin by taking correspondence courses at a local community college. There’s a wide variety of correspondence courses offered, and very few have any eligibility requirements. There are also opportunities for students to work alongside professionals in the field, a position similar to an internship or apprenticeship.
For a comprehensive state by state list of Herbal medicine schools, visit the American Herbalist Guild
Herbalists usually are self-employed. There is no official accreditation or certification to practice herbal medicine. Professional groups may grant certification to members that have reached a certain level of training as an herbalist.
- The American Herbalists Guild
- Green Medicine
Acupuncture, one of the best known alternative therapies, is the practice of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points. According to the FDA, Americans spend over 500 million dollars on acupuncture therapy. And, there is even insurance coverage for acupuncture.
In addition to alleviating pain and stress, the World Health Organization (WHO) also acknowledges acupuncture as a treatment for digestive disorders, respiratory disorders, and neurological disorders.
There is a wide selection of accredited acupuncture schools in the U.S. Nearly all U.S. states now require practitioners to have a degree from an accredited program to be licensed.
Accredited schools can also offer students financial aid from the federal government.
Master’s degrees are available for students, and doctoral programs are now being considered at many acupuncture schools. Programs, on average, last for 2-4 years.
Some of the top acupuncture schools are:
Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Science
Academy of Oriental Medicine Austin (AOMA)
Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College, Berkeley
There is good career growth potential for the field of acupuncture. With more and more people turning from traditional medicine to alternative forms of healing, acupuncturists will be in demand in the private and public sector.
In the US training and certification are required in order to have a practice. Most states require certification from the ACAOM or the NCCAOM.
Acupuncturists can expect to make $35,000-45,000, and this number will grow with some experience. Most acupuncturists have their own business or partnerships, while some will also work with other doctors, or in the hospital field.
- Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM)
- National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
- American Academy of Medical Acupuncture Homepage
- Acupuncture Today