Holistic health embodies a type of healthcare that exemplifies the mind body connection. Holistic doctor must venture beyond traditional medical practices and integrate a style of healing that focuses on the individual patient’s mind, body and spirit when recommending and applying a variety of therapies and techniques. An assortment of medical practices are considered holistic including, but not limited to, massage therapy, herbology, reflexology, acupressure and nutritional advice. Previously, traditional medicine rarely implemented alternative healing methods. However, many universities now integrate a variety of non-traditional medical courses that emphasize healing beyond the body. Before deciding to pursue a career as a holistic doctor, you need to understand that this profession requires a medical degree, regardless of alternative avenues utilized by the physician.
1. Attain a bachelor’s degree taking pre-medical courses that emphasize medical sciences such as biology, chemistry and anatomy. During this undergraduate degree electives may be taken to begin the process of learning to heal holistically. Types of electives to pursue are massage therapy, herbology, nutrition, psychology and acupressure. Upon completion, take the Medical College Admissions (MCAT) tests.
2. Apply to medical schools that offer courses and programs that appeal to holistic healing. This information can be obtained through the course catalog at most universities. Another option is to apply specifically to naturopathic medical school programs, which combine both traditional medical school classes with natural therapies. A graduate from this type of institution is considered a naturpathic doctor rather than a holistic doctor.
3. Complete a four year medical degree involving two years of classroom centered work, followed by two years of patient care work, while supervised by medical doctors. Seek out doctors who specialize in holistic practices as mentors during this period of time.
4. Enter a residency program which typically lasts a minimum of three years. This is a paid position in a patient care system. Seek out residency programs that utilize holistic healing in conjunction with typical medical practices. These programs can often be recommended by other physicians who specialize in holistic practices. To obtain licensure to practice medicine a state required exam must be passed after completion of the residency.
5. Apply for positions at hospitals or private practices that incorporate holistic healing as part of their medical treatment.