What is a Holistic Health Practitioner?
A holistic health practitioner is a certified individual who uses alternative methods in their health practice. Western medicine often only looks at the physical symptoms when determining patient care - whereas holistic health practitioners focus on the whole individual - as their mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical are all taken into account when addressing any one problem.
Say for example, you are experiencing a rash. The western approach may be to treat the symptom, which is the rash, with some kind of topical ointment or maybe an oral antibiotic. Whereas from a holistic standpoint we would view the rash as the body’s way of communicating a greater underlying problem - which could be mental or emotional stress, or possibly an imbalance within the digestive system. See, getting rid of the symptom does not solve the actual problem, it may just appear to.
For my certification, I attended Healing Hands School of Holistic Health. They have three locations, one in Escondido, one in Laguna Hills, and one in Clairemont. Their holistic health program is 1,000 hours and includes 600 hours of bodywork courses, which gives you the opportunity to be certified in massage as well. For my 600 hours of massage I learned Shiatsu, Deep Tissue, Tui Na, Circulatory / Swedish, Anatomy, and Professional Practices. For the remainder of my electives I selected Somatics, Craniosacral, Reiki I & II, Thai Massage, Spiritual Healing, Energetic Bodywork, Body Reading, Holistic Nutrition, Super-Foods & Dietary Practices, and Herbal Applications. I highly recommend the program at Healing Hands, the teachers are phenomenal and incredibly experienced. I also gained so many wonderful friendships as well. I can’t say enough good things about my time there. They also offer free massages for prospective students, so if you are considering a career in massage therapy or holistic health that is a great opportunity to gain some insight into whether or not the program is right for you.
As a holistic health practitioner, there are many options on where you can work. Many of us work in spas, wellness centers, or alongside chiropractors or other healthcare professionals. Alternative treatments are becoming increasingly popular and research indicates that the demand for Ayurveda, homeopathy, acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic, biofeedback, energy medicine, diet-based therapies, and naturopathy is surging.
Across the U.S., holistic health practitioners usually average about $53,000 a year and in California they average slightly more at about $58,000. Massage therapists typically make about $38,000 a year, and on average they make about $20 an hour. As a massage therapist you can be hired as an independent contractor or an employee, which may change your rate and the amount of taxes that are deducted annually from your revenue.
Pursuing the holistic health route has opened my eyes to so much. I have learned vast amounts of ancient wisdom from Japan, China, Thailand, and India. I have learned the importance of treating the root problem, rather than just the symptoms. I have learned the anatomy of the human body in great detail, from the skin to the nerves to the muscles to the bones to the cells. Becoming a holistic health practitioner was not just a career choice, but really helped broaden my perspective and awareness in awakening to the bigger picture. I highly encourage it for anyone who is passionate about alternative health, and please don’t hesitate to ask me about it, I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.