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Since holistic medicine incorporates natural remedies into treating patients, some people may assume that holistic practitioners don’t go to school or complete training. This is a misconception, however, as holistic practitioners are often highly trained. Some may enroll in educational programs that last a couple of years and cover such things as human energy systems and anatomy while others may seek bachelor’s degrees in the field. An individual who wants to become a holistic doctor may earn a college degree and attend medical school before going on to complete a residency program, which is on-the-job training for doctors.
A person who wants to become a holistic practitioner usually makes a commitment to extend his practice beyond what people get from traditional medical practice. He decides to provide care that focuses on the mind, body, and spirit instead of concentrating solely on the body. He typically learns not only important concepts about natural healing, but also the science of how the body works and common treatments for a range of disorders.
A person who wants to become a holistic practitioner may enroll in a certificate or degree program to do so. Among the subjects a person interested in this field may study are anatomy and physiology, energy healing systems, nutrition, therapeutic massage, bodywork, stress management, spirituality, and a wide range of natural remedies. The specific courses a person may take depend on the particular program in which he enrolls. In some cases, a person may decide to specialize in a technique, such as massage therapy, and spend more time studying bodywork than others.
If a person wants to become a holistic doctor, also called naturopathic doctor, he may spend about four years in college working toward a bachelor’s degree. He may choose a pre-medicine major or major in biology or chemistry. As he wants to become a holistic practitioner, he may also take electives that involve holistic healing. For example, he may study psychology, massage therapy, and nutrition in preparation for his holistic career.
After college, a person who wants to practice as a holistic doctor typically enrolls in a medical school that offers programs in holistic healing. Some schools, for example, combine traditional medicine with holistic medicine. Others may offer traditional medical degrees but include coursework in natural healing.
A residency program usually follows medical school for a person who wants to become a holistic practitioner of medicine. He works for about three years in a program that gives him paid on-the-job training. An individual who wants to practice as a holistic doctor may also have to pass an exam and seek licensing in the field. Licensing requirements do vary from place to place, however.