Do you like helping people?
Are you passionate about creating and maintaining good health?
Are you always looking to learn more about ways to achieve good health?
Then holistic health may be the field for you. As a holistic health practitioner, you are helping people get better by using a multitude of practices from different alternative fields. This means you can combine aromatherapy with massage with herbal treatments with energy healing and much more.
The most important part here is “holistic”, which means “entirely”. You are not focusing on one part or one problem. You are not targeting a specific challenge. Instead, you are trying to improve his overall health by focusing on the whole body.
If traditional medicine is like a mechanic fixing a broken part, a holistic practice is like a designer trying to create a better car by combining what works from various fields.
But what does this mean in practice?
You are using one or several tools to improve your patient’s overall health. You don’t need to be a jack of all trades. You can be a masseur and focus on that. Or you can combine it with aromatherapy. Or you can offer massages and herbal treatments. Or you can even offer massage and also Reiki.
As long as you are helping your clients achieve better health, the combination doesn’t really matter.
This area is confusing though because holistic health is such a big umbrella term that covers everything. For example, some practices are accredited and regulated. This means that you cannot practice without a diploma. Others are not. Some people are going all out, like alternative health “consultants”. Others focus on one medium. Some focus only on the physical. Others offer spiritual and emotional help (a good example of this are those who train yoga, as they may include personal development or a spiritual component in their practices).
Some follow an established school of thought – such as alternative health “franchises”, eg. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) while others are 100% self-taught and have created their own thing.
And to add to the confusion, you can get a diploma in a week and $1000… or in four years and $50,000. So let’s cut through the confusion and answer a few very important questions about this area.
Question #1 – Can you become a holistic health practitioner?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is – it depends.
While becoming one is not as difficult as getting and completing medical school, it takes hard work and a lifelong curiosity to discover what works. Since there are many potential services that you can offer, you will surely find something for you, but remember that you are responsible for the experience and the result that your client receives. Maybe you can’t be held responsible as a doctor because you don’t fall under the same category but you have an ethical obligation to do everything you can to help the person in front of you.
My best advice in this area is to do it if you love people. You should not do it for the love of knowledge or science or anything else. Do it because you want to bring good health to those around you. Put your market first. You should not do it because you are passionate about aromatherapy. Do it because you want to see people smile. I think this is the only real prerequisite.
That and having the time and money to get a diploma or license in the field.
Question #2 – What should you choose?
Well, let me talk about the elephant in the room first – how much do you want to earn?
This is because a chiropractor earns about $67,000 a year. A nutritionist earns $58,000 and a massage therapist earns around $39,000 a year. Some earn more, some earn less, where you are and what competition you have makes a difference. But it is a fact that some fields pay much more than others.
You can check the relative financial potential by searching on Google “average salary list” and then adding the name of your country. There is usually an official list maintained by the government that contains almost every single job and occupation in the country.
Why did I cover this point first?
I’m all for following your passion. If you’ve always been passionate about nutrition, then become a dietitian. It’s better to be the best at what you love than average in an area you’re not passionate about. But if you don’t have a special preference, then you can look for something that pays the bills.
Question #3 – Where do you start?
Select a field.
Look at the regulatory requirements. At a minimum, you will need a business license. This depends from country to country. Some fields require you to be certified in that field. If this is the case, get your degree so you can legally offer it.
It also helps to learn about marketing.
Just because you open your practice, that doesn’t mean people will come to you. If they don’t know you and what you offer, then your market is limited to friends and family. This can work for a while, especially if you get referrals but it’s not enough to keep your doors open.
So learn some online marketing or how to get customers using the Internet. Facebook is very effective as you can reach everyone cheaply. You can also use Facebook to position yourself as an expert and to build a list of prospects. In the first months or even the first year of your business, you may spend as much time getting customers as you do serving them.
Question #4 – How do I keep my customers happy?
This is something you need to discover for yourself.
Running a holistic health practice is not just about service. It’s about the experience. Everything is important, from how you answer the phone to the music you use in your reception area. Some people will be happy and grateful. Others will leave you a negative review no matter what you do.
You can’t expect to get every single detail right.
But you can listen to the feedback and slowly make things better. You can follow the principle of Kaizan which means that you bring a small improvement every single day. You’ll make mistakes, a lot, and it’ll take a while until you’re fully booked, but that’s how all practices are built.
I have seen many holistic health practitioners. Many fail, not because there is no demand or they don’t know what to do, but because they don’t put their customers first. As long as you do this and see yourself as a healer (and a healer heals), then you will do well no matter what field you are in.