Holistic Health Practitioners use a number of methods to provide alternative health care to their clients. Typical practices include acupuncture, herbology, essential oils, massage, reflexology, acupressure, Ancient Chinese Medicines, Yoga, Polarity, and more. In general, not every state requires holistic health practitioners to be licensed (depending on the specialty). Due to the increased interest, however, many programs offer training that takes a few months to a few years.

In September 2002, the current Californian governor, Gray Davis, signed a bill ensuring that holistic health practices could offer services without penalty or harassment from other medical practices. This lead to a major surge in schools offering holistic health certification programs. Today, California has a number of excellent schools teaching interested students skills required to run a holistic health practice.

Some counties in California require 1,000 hours of training before you can open your own holistic health practice. For example, San Diego County requires all holistic health practitioners to become licensed. A hands-on exam must be successfully completed, and membership in a nationally chartered holistic health organization is also required.

Under the new law, holistic health practitioners can practice holistic medicine providing they do not advise clients to stop using prescription medications, puncture the skin, prescribe any form of x-ray or radiation, treat a medical or psychological ailment that required medical care, conduct any surgery, treat any open wound with electrotheraphy, or set broken or fractured bones.

With a huge selection of holistic health schools, it can be hard to choose which is best. Look for schools that are praised by their students. It pays to go to area holistic practices and ask the holistic health specialists working in those practices where they received their training. Avoid online schools, while they are high on book learning, there truly is no way to get hands-on training.

Within any holistic health school, there are a number of programs that can be completed.

Holistic Health Practitioner:

The Holistic Health Practitioner program requires 100 hours that completed in six month’s time. Courses include:

  • Anger Release
  • Ayruvedic System
  • Communication
  • Counseling Skills
  • Emotional Balancing
  • Forgiveness
  • Herbal Health
  • Holistic Nutrition
  • Homeopathy
  • Inner Dialog
  • Introduction to the Immune System
  • Lifestyle Balancing
  • Personal Goals
  • Principles of Holistic Health
  • Self-Awareness
  • Self Care
  • Self Esteem
  • Self Responsibility
  • Somatic Psychology
  • Stress Prevention
  • Wellness Inventory

Once all courses have been completed, a certificate is issued. It is a good idea to get additional training with a skilled holistic health practitioner before breaking out on your own however.

Holistic Massage:

Holistic Massage uses massage therapy as a means to clearing harmful stress and creating a stronger, healthier patient. California has many Holistic Massage schools. Generally, a program in Holistic Massage takes 120 hours to complete. If an advanced certificate is required, expect to put in over 250 hours of study and practice. The basic course is broken into five sections that start out with the basic classes and work upward. The 120 hour program includes classes in:

  • Body Mapping
  • Business Principles
  • Chakra Clearing and Balancing
  • Deep Breathing
  • Emotional Release
  • Energy Balancing Massage
  • Energy Fields
  • Ethics
  • Internship
  • Introduction to the Seen Chakras
  • Licensing
  • Lymphatic Drainage Massage
  • Neck and Shoulder Energy Release
  • Organ Cleansing
  • Polarity Yoga
  • Pressure Points
  • Psychotherapy
  • Reflexology
  • Relaxation
  • Self-Care
  • Self Esteem
  • Swedish Massage

For the Advanced Holistic Massage program, expect to take these additional courses:

  • Advanced Reflexology
  • Advanced Relaxation Techniques
  • Crystallization & Stagnation Techniques
  • Deep Perineal Techniques
  • Holistic Bodywork
  • Hypnosis
  • Mind-Body Principles
  • Pathology
  • Revitalization Massage
  • Spine Balancing Massage
  • Tree of Life Energy Body Work
  • Vital Organ Cleansing
  • Yoga for Healthy Psoas

Rebirthing:

Rebirthing has been a highly debated practice for years. During a “rebirth” the client is tightly wrapped /tied into sheets and forced to work his or her way out of this artificial womb. The process is supposed to refresh the mind and soul releasing negative energy and regaining the calm sense of being from childhood. There are two levels in rebirthing. The basic program requires 100 hours. The Master program requires and additional 80 hours of training.

Courses in the basic program include:

  • Cellular Memory/Imprinting from Birth
  • Codependency
  • Internship
  • Introduction to Birth Trauma
  • Origin of Negative Thoughts
  • Perinatal Psychology
  • Preconception
  • Prenatal Capabilities
  • Primal Health

To gain the Master certificate in rebirthing, you must participate in five rebirthing sessions in a warm water environment, complete classes in self-esteem, ethics, and business principles.

If you do decide to get into holistic medicine, make sure you are meeting your county’s requirements. Malpractice is an issue, so even with the change in Californian law, you are open to malpractice suits so make sure you purchase malpractice insurance. California is one of the only states in the United States to openly approve of holistic care, so make sure you are ready to join a fast growing health care movement that is going to keep you extremely busy for years to come.

View a list of schools offering holistic health programs in California. Also, you may be interested in the directory of massage schools in California.