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Holistic Careers

Regardless of the outcomes resulting from health care reform, the dynamic field of holistic and alternative medicine is likely to stay strong and continue to grow in the coming years. In fact, reform could positively affect the holistic health care world, since alternative medicine has been found to be extremely cost-effective and efficient in meeting a range of health needs.

Many have turned to holistic health for its emphasis on the wellness of the whole person, including mental, emotional and spiritual health, not just diagnosing and treating the specific physical illness(es) currently residing in the body. Here's what the American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) has to say about the field: holistic health encourages balance and integration of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves; respectful relationships with others and the environment; wellness-oriented lifestyle choices; and active participation in health decisions and healing processes. If these principles line up with your view of what true wellness looks like, consider holistic careers.

Holistic health practitioners are not limited to one approach for treating patients; they may use homeopathy, massage therapy, acupuncture, aromatherapy, a yurveda, herbology, nutritional counseling, tai chi, yoga, chiropractics, medicinal herbs, or naturopathy, or some combination of these and other modalities.

Holistic Career Opportunities Abound
One visit to the American Holistic Health Association's healthcare modality association's page will confirm the sheer range and number of possibilities in holistic health careers. You might be interested in biofeedback or flower essences therapy, or holistic dental care. It's all there.

The length of time spent in training to pursue a holistic career has a pretty broad range too; some programs last a few months, others may last a few years. Many programs lead to licensure, others may lead to a Master's degree. Even if you choose massage therapy as your specialization, you will likely complete coursework in other modalities as all holistic health care practitioners are encouraged to integrate as many practices or techniques as may be necessary to help the patient achieve optimal health.
With a degree, certificate, or license in hand, holistic career seekers might search for employment in a health center, private practice, sports-related recovery practice, spa, or health education center/institution. Again, variety is what makes the holistic health world go round, and practitioners need not feel limited to one type of setting to practice alternative medicine.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics affirms the rapid growth of alternative health careers: a total of 580,000 establishments make up the health care industry, nearly 77 percent of which are offices of physicians, dentists, or other health practitioners (holistic health practitioners fall under this category). Another positive indicator of this industry's stability: 7 of the 20 fastest growing occupations are health care related. Finally, health care will generate 3 million new wage and salary jobs between 2006 and 2016, more than any other industry, so you can rest assured that pursuing a holistic career is a pretty solid path.