How to Become a Holistic Physician

How to Become a Holistic Physician

Holistic health is a medical discipline that focuses on alternative healthcare treatments that focus on a person as a whole and addresses their physical, social, and psychological needs to promote healing. Holistic physicians are specially trained medical doctors that provide a variety of holistic treatment options to many different patients.

What does a holistic physician do?

Holistic physicians serve as primary care physicians that focus on each individual patient’s mind, body, and soul to promote a natural and healthy way of treating conditions. They focus on the cause of the condition rather than the symptoms. They look at the entire health of patient, including mental and emotional issues to properly diagnose conditions and prepare the appropriate plan of treatment. Holistic physicians recommend and provide a variety of techniques that do not include medication or invasive procedures, including nutritional advice, aromatherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, and herbology. They also provide emotional support to patients and their families.

What kind of training does a holistic physician need?

Holistic physicians must complete an undergraduate degree, medical school, an internship, and residency training. Medical school provides intensive classroom and laboratory instruction and clinical rotations of all major medical disciplines. After completion of medical school, holistic physicians must complete an internship and residency training in holistic health. All physicians must be licensed in the state in which they intend to practice. Many holistic physicians also become board certified from the American Board of Integrative Medicine. They must complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers to maintain their licenses and certifications, keep their skills current, and stay abreast on advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a holistic physician?

Employment of all physicians is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased emphasis on alternative medical treatments and natural living will drive job growth of holistic physicians.

Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for holistic physicians that are board certified and have extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace holistic physicians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do holistic physicians make?

As of December 2009, the average annual salary for holistic physicians is $57,000; average annual holistic physician salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a holistic health physician is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in providing care to patients using holistic health practices. Holistic physicians must have a solid understanding of holistic healing principles and ability to apply them to a variety of medical conditions. Patience, determination, compassion, detail orientation, and motivation are essential characteristics. Holistic physicians must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to help patients feel at ease. They must be able to work as part of a team and make effective decisions in emergency situations.

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