Holistic Practitioner

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Holistic Practitioner


Holistic practitioners represent a number of different alternative health healers who are not conventional doctors. Holistic wellness healing emphasizes the need to look at the whole person, including an analysis of a person's physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values. Holistic practitioners focus on education and responsibility for personal efforts to achieve balance and well-being.

Holistic practitioners seek a cooperative relationship between their patients and themselves, leading towards the optimal attainment of all aspects of health -- the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. It encompasses a number of modalities of diagnosis and treatment including drugs and surgery if no safe alternative exists. Holistic practitioners have been used by millions of people around the world to heal chronic diseases, treat psychological disorders, treat childhood illnesses, acute illnesses, normalize weight, prevent disease, improve overall health, increase energy levels and transform one's outlook upon life.

Holistic practitioners have many different titles and focus their healing by using different techniques; however they all use the holistic philosophy behind their practice. Some of the more common primary healthcare practitioners include traditional Chinese medical practitioners, naturopaths, holistic medical doctors, chiropractors and doctors of osteopathy. There are other holistic practitioners that would not be considered primary medical specialists but can also help a person heal and transform their lives. Examples of such practitioners include homeopaths, yoga teachers, reiki masters, bioenergetic therapists, acupuncturists, herbalists, and so many more.

Although there are so many different types of primary and secondary holistic healers, there are a number of fundamental techniques of holistic healing that are shared amongst all practitioners. These all focus on proper nutrition, stress relief strategies, yoga, inner healing and transformation, avoidance of toxic and unhealthy substances such as cigarettes, getting adequate sleep, aerobic exercise, loving relationships with others and yourself, creative expression, spiritual connection, and the healing power of the mind and spirit.

There are many other terms associated with holistic medicine, such as alternative medicine or natural healing. Alternative medicine is a term often used by the general public to refer to medical techniques which are not known, understood or accepted by the majority of conventional or allopathic medical practitioners. Non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical techniques such as herbalism, homeopathy and reiki are very different from just popping a Tylenol when you have a headache.

Accordingly, people are skeptical of these methods, which stray from conventional Western practices of medicine. However, holistic ideas are slowly gaining popularity, awareness and trust. Many of the treatment methods holistic practitioners suggest can easily be achieved by each individual, as long as they are willing to put in the effort. Also, many people are now more concerned with what they eat, when they exercise and the state of their mental health and they are realizing that it takes some work to get the mind and body working in unison.
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  Interests and Skills  
Holistic practitioners must be knowledgeable in all areas of holistic medicine, which includes their specialty are and even methods of conventional therapy. They need great communication skills to establish a rapport with patients and gain their trust and confidence. They need emotional strength, maturity and must truly believe in this type of medical practice. They enjoy gathering information by observing, interviewing and examining patients and providing holistic treatments.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Consult with patients about their medical history, lifestyle habits and dietary intake
  • Look at holistic factors such as nutritional deficiency, faulty posture, impurities in the air, water or food, and toxic influences of chemicals and drugs
  • Perform massage, acupuncture, acupressure and other Chinese medicine techniques
  • Prescribe botanicals and homeopathic remedies
  • Develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient including lifestyle counseling
  • Refer patients who have conditions that require conventional medical treatments, such as surgery or prescription drugs, to local physicians or hospitals for treatment
  • Practice medicine by the principles of holistic healing
  • Most holistic practitioners work in private clinics. They examine patients for part of their working day, and do paperwork and research for the remainder of the day. Since almost all work in the private clinical setting, holistic practitioners set their own hours, resulting in a standard workweek. Yet, for the convenience of their patients, they often work some evenings and weekends.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Most holistic practitioners work in private practice. Some are employed by regional health authorities. Those who do not choose private or group practice may be employed in medical research, public health, occupational medicine, health administration, overseas service, or military service.

  Long Term Career Potential  
As with other health professions, it takes time to build a successful holistic practice and build up a patient base, therefore an individuals' success depends on initiative, experience and ability. Therefore, many holistic practitioners remain in the business of medical and holistic healing. Some may become teachers at universities or work within communities promoting holistic medicine and wellness healing.

  Educational Paths  
Since there are so many different types of holistic practitioners, such as naturopaths, reiki masters, homeopaths and osteopaths, the educational paths are all different. Consult the particular title of holistic practitioner you are interested in and click on the educational paths to find out what steps to pursue that career.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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