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What Is Holistic Certification?

When you say you're a holistic health practitioner, odds are that most people have no idea what that means. Some regard your specialty as a "quack science," while others believe that anyone can call their work "holistic." Both perspectives are inaccurate.

One of the best ways to legitimize your professional specialty is by achieving holistic certification. There are several modalities of health and wellness in which holistic certification may be attained, including holistic medicine, holistic nursing, and holistic nutrition.

Holistic medicine
Integrative holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. The American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM) awards certification in integrative holistic medicine to current physicians (MDs and DOs). The ABIHM is not currently an affiliate of the American Board of Medical Specialties, but its goal is to become one.

The certification process involves writing a journey paper, completing a review course, and passing a written exam. Recertification is required every seven years.

Holistic nursing
Since December 2006, holistic nursing has been recognized by the American Nurses Association as an official nursing specialty with its own scope and standards of practice. Holistic nursing is defined as all nursing that has healing the whole person as its goal and integrates complementary and alternative approaches into clinical practice.

The American Holistic Nurses' Certification Corporation awards holistic certification to qualified nurses who successfully complete a qualitative assessment and a quantitative exam. Nurses need a bachelor's degree and a valid RN license before they can apply to be a Holistic Nurse, Board Certified (HN-BC). To become an Advanced Holistic Nurse, Board Certified (AHN-BC), nurses need an RN license, a graduate degree in nursing, and a year of practice in holistic nursing. Certification is valid for five years.

Holistic nutrition
The Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board, which is the credentialing arm of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP), confers holistic certification upon qualified nutrition professionals. Holistically trained nutritionists use education as a primary tool and emphasize building health through the use of whole foods.

Candidates must complete studies from a NANP-approved holistic nutrition program and provide documentation of 500 hours of professional experience to be eligible to sit for the national certification exam. Upon successful passage of the exam, nutrition professionals will earn the credentials "Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition." Certification must be renewed every two years.

If you want to practice health care and wellness in a holistic manner, pursue professional holistic certification.