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What is holistic therapy?

Over the years, the term Holistic Medicine, Holistic therapies have become more commonly used, but what is it? Simply put, it is the practice of healing in which a whole body is considered. By this, I don’t just mean physiologically and internally, but also incorporating the mind spirit and emotions as well as the body, to overall treat a patient.  Holistic Therapy is a collective term used to describe a number of treatments and practices which follows this concept of treating the body as a whole, not just the physical symptom.

There are many therapies that follow such a concept and these days they seem to be more popular than ever, particularly as the general public are coming more health-conscious and wanting to seek alternatives to taking mainstream medicine from medical doctors.

Some examples of the more popular therapies include Acupuncture, Alexander technique, Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Reiki, Yoga. All of these therapies have been around for centuries, but what has made them more popular now more than ever?
Media attention has highlighted the evidence of various natural products having a positive effect on medical ailments, such as St John’s Wort used for mild depression, Ginko Biloba on patients with dementia. The Media have also put a spotlight on a simple remedy such has using either aloe vera or honey to treat burns.

Another reason Holistic Therapies has recently become more popular is that since the 1990s, there has been a huge increase in the amount of research done on the natural remedies as well as comparison of holistic treatments to other mainstream treatments. With the strong evidence pointing to specific foods and nutrients can help prevent, slow and in even in some case, reverse serious diseases. It was only after scientific research was done that it is now common knowledge that eating fish high in fish oils is beneficial for heart patients. Previous to such research, many scientist and experts were skeptical of alternative therapies but are now not only converted, but promoting the concepts.

Holistic Therapies concentrates largely on the prevention of diseases and ailments. With the fast-paced of the world these days, no one really has time to become ill and take time off. It is, however, important to understand that holistic therapies are not to be used alone. It is ideal to be used in conjunction with other treatments or lifestyle changes, hence it can often be referred to as “Complementary Therapies”, due to his complementing other treatments and a healthy lifestyle.

How do you become a holistic therapist?

It all depends on which particular therapy you are interested in. However, it is true to say that for all the therapies, if you wish to practice for an income, it is VERY strongly advisable that you would choose an accredited course which is recognised by an accredited body. Also, it is important that you have sufficient insurance, particularly public liability insurance.

With Holistic therapies still not considered equal to mainstream medicine, to get into the field is it also a lot easier. To study some therapies, no previous qualification is required, whereas those that are more involved may need minimum GCSE’s or A-Levels. With this in mind, qualifications in a holistic therapy can start from an NVQ 2, all the way up to a doctorate (Ph.D.) in a particular therapy. For example, you will need to complete a three-year course in order to become an acupuncturist but would need a minimum of 5 (A-C grade) GCSEs including a science subject and 2 A-Levels before even applying to do the course. However, to do Aromatherapy the story is very different. To become an Aromatherapist, you would only need to complete course which meets the National Occupational Standard for Aromatherapy, and to attend such a course no previous qualifications are required. Some colleges may only accept students over 18 yrs old, but some will accept earlier if qualified in a Level 2 or Level 3 in Beauty Therapy which would provide useful experience.


Why choose Holistic Therapies?

As a growing field, this really is an ideal field to get into for a career, with a variety of therapies to choose from there is bound to be one or more that would suit you. With predictions of approximately 8-25% growth increase by 2022, depending on which therapy you choose. For example, holistic massage is expected to grow 25% which is incredible growth for a relatively small branch of medicine.

Regardless of the growth in this field, my ultimate advice would be to only choose this line, if you have a particular interest in the therapies. As with all career paths, if you don’t have a passion for it, it’s a lot of effort and time, to do something you don’t enjoy.

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