Holistic health covers a wide range of specialties.
Holistic health practitioners are an alternative and adjunct to modern Western-style medical practitioners. Their focus is on total wellness, rather than just correcting or curing a particular health issue. This makes the holistic health practitioner‘s focus more preventative than curative. Holistic medicine is sometimes also referred to as alternative medicine.
Salaries for holistic health practitioners can vary widely, according to area and experience. Those who practice in more urban or sophisticated areas typically earn more, as do those with more practical experience. Education plays a role in the amount of money earned as well. According to the site Simply Hired, as of November 2010, the average salary for a holistic health practitioner is around $51,000.
Holistic health practitioners perform a large range of services, since the title can have many different meanings. Different philosophies stress different forms of healing and promotion of health. Massage therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology, acupuncture, herbal medicine and chiropractics can all fall under the umbrella of holistic health practitioner. While some work for a facility or center, or in partnership with another practitioner, a large number work as independent practitioners running their own business or consulting service.
The striking difference between modern Western medicine and holistic medicine is that holistic medicine sees the body as a whole being, with interconnecting systems. Practitioners focus on the health and wellness of the entire body, with the understanding that treatment for one issue or area has an effect on all the other areas of the body. In treating an illness or injury, they pay attention to bringing the body back into balance, rather than just treating the affected area.
Some holistic health practitioners are doctors or nurses that specialize in holistic therapies, or use holistic medicine in conjunction with modern Western medicine. These practitioners hold medical licenses, advanced degrees or certifications. Others may have degrees in nutrition, physical therapy or biology. Herbalists and massage therapists take specialized courses that lead to licensing or certification. The amount and type of education required by a holistic health practitioner depends on how that practitioner wishes to pursue his career. Many holistic methods also require internships or apprenticeships that offer in-depth theory and practical training.
No matter how a holistic health practitioner chooses to practice his art, most practitioners have at least a cursory knowledge of certain areas and a certain skill set. Holistic health practitioners typically have a working knowledge of nutrition, basic anatomy and physiology, stress management techniques, some form of touch therapy and natural remedies. These practitioners must be good listeners with an ability to ask informative questions. They must be empathetic and responsive, with good observations skills. They must also be open-minded, willing to learn and try new things. Most holistic health practitioners are very self-aware about their own health.