You know what I love? Starting my day off with some yoga and then sitting for breakfast, fresh and energized as I plan my schedule.
I’ve long been interested in how food, habits and even emotions affect our overall health. And today, more and more people are opening up the possibility that yes, there is more to health than taking medicines when you’re sick.
After all, a pill or syrup is only good for when you’re ill. But if you truly took care of yourself, mind and body, would the illness have occurred in the first place? Alternative medicine has seen a huge boom, and people are flocking to them in droves.
But in a world cluttered with conflicting information, who can they turn to for guidance in living a more rounded and healthier life?
You, of course!
“But how?”, I’m sure you’re thinking.
By becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner!
Like I said, people are turning to alternative medicine in huge numbers, but not necessarily with the knowledge, they need to make a well-informed decision. This opens up an opportunity for someone like you, a Holistic Health Practitioner, to help people live better lives while also being your own boss.
How big an opportunity? Let me give you some numbers.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), approximately 38% of adults and 12% of children were using some form of alternative medicine or therapy. And this is in 2008! Can you imagine the number now?
That’s millions of people who are realizing there is more to good health than cure. They’re looking for ways to feel happier and healthier day to day. And you, as a Holistic Health Practitioner, can help them get there while running and growing a successful business of your own.
So where do you start? Just keep reading, and by the end of this, I hope you will have a much clearer idea of what becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner is all about. And more importantly, whether this is the right opportunity for you.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Who is a Holistic Health Practitioner?
I’m sure you’ve heard of Fitness and Diet Coaches who focus on the nutrition and physical aspects of well-being. At the same time, there are Life Coaches who focus on how supportive relationships, work-life balance and more affect your overall well-being.
A Holistic Health Practitioner is a somewhat a combination of both. As a guide towards a healthier life, both physical and mental, it is your responsibility to look after your clients physical, mental, spiritual and nutritional fitness.
This means, you need to incorporate an integrated approach to fitness and lifestyle changes to improve your client’s overall health. Over the course of your client-coach relationship, you will be expected to be involved in the client’s life in a variety of ways.
You will have to coach and educate them on ways to achieve and maintain good health through positive practises such as adequate sleep, stress management, exercise, nutrition and more.
You will also need to help equip them with ways to identify and change any potential causes of ill health in their lifestyle. Additionally, you will have to be involved as they create a healthier environment around themselves, guiding them in the right direction as they move towards their personal wellness objectives.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a place physicians and medicines as well. And a part of your responsibility is to recognize when it is necessary for your patient to refer to one for treatment or diagnosis when the situation so demands.
But overall, as a Holistic Health Practitioner, your role is to empower your clients to achieve optimal health. This is achieved through addressing any imbalance that may be caused by bad nutrition, stress, dehydration or simply lack of sleep.
After meeting a client and assessing their needs and requirements, you will need to document their progress and meet with them regularly to follow up on their goals. This is easier if you provide your client with some form of action plan or blueprint they can follow, and what you can use to track their progress in a tangible way.
And last, but most important, you need to provide support and encouragement as your clients makes changes in their lives – both big and small.
What types of people hire a Holistic Health Practitioner?
Think about the last time you went for a health checkup. They checked your blood pressure, noted your weight, maybe listened to your heart and lungs. “Overall”, they must have, “You seem to be in decent shape.”
But at no point do they ask you about how you’re sleeping, are you feeling any stress, have you been eating? They would if it showed up in their tests, but if everything “seems” normal, no one really digs any deeper.
And your doctor was not wrong. You are healthy. And so are the millions of people who complain about fatigue, lack of sleep and demotivation. Their issues just go deeper than what a quick physical can pick up, or what medicines can heal. Afterall, an Ambien can only help so much right?
To feel healthy, you need to live healthy. And that involves making lifestyle and wellness choices that take time and effort. Time and effort that are really hard to put in by yourselves.
People realize this. And these are the people who will come to you, a Holistic Health Practitioner. They want to feel better, healthier. But after every doctor’s visit, they’re even more perplexed.
Given people’s busy schedules, limited finances and a focus on the material working out, eating healthy or just sleeping more seems like an impossible task. Everything a doctor would suggest someone do if they want to feel healthy.
But like I said, that’s a lot harder than you think. While they may know what they need to do, they still need guidance. And that’s what your clients will come to you for.
How can you become a Holistic Health Practitioner?
Like I said, more and more people are realizing what’s truly important to them – family, friends and an overall sense of wellbeing. But to get to a happier and healthier life, they need a Holistic Health Practitioner to guide them along the way.
So how can you become the Holistic Health Practitioner they need? Like with choosing any new career path, I’m sure you’re full of questions and apprehensions. That’s why I’ve put together a guide to give you an overall idea of what you can expect, so you know if this is the right shift for you.
So keep reading!
1. Understand all the different fields that encompass being a Holistic Health Practitioner
As a Holistic Health Practitioner, you need to look at every single component of your client’s life in order to guide them towards their health and wellness goals. This means you need expertise in a wide range of fields to truly do justice to what your client needs of you.
You will need to learn about these fields and grow your knowledge base to become a successful Holistic Health Practitioner:
As a Holistic Health Practitioner, you will need to help your clients find the right balance of food and nutrients they need, focus on supplements, while also working with food allergies. This requires an understanding of how nutrition works.
A workout can only do so much. As a Holistic Health Practitioner, you need to create a routine that encompasses yoga, cardio, strength training, as well as other therapeutic activities tailored to your client’s requirements.
You will need to know how to adapt workouts to their needs, while also coming up with an action plan for activities to avoid that may stress a pre-existing injury. This means you will need an in-depth understanding of the human body and how various exercises and physical activities affect it.
A healthy mind is incredibly important for a healthy body. And as a Holistic Health Practitioner, you will need to help your clients identify stress factors in their lives and create a plan for how they can tackle these issues.
Meditation, yoga – they’re both great ways to center your mind and get a better understanding of your body and who you are. And you’re their guide to getting there.
This means you will need to have an in-depth understanding of the spiritual aspect of well-being, and how it affects us and our health on a day-to-day basis.
2. Get certified
Now you know everything you need to learn about if you want to become a successful Holistic Health Practitioner. And you’re still here. So that’s great. Then the next step for you is to get certified.
As you embark on your path to becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner, know that there is no one route that fits everyone. While a degree in nursing, dietetics or psychology may be a great help, someone with no training in the traditional sense of the word can be just as successful.
However, I will say that a certification, either in one of the fields I mentioned above, or one as Holistic Health Practitioner itself, will help establish expertise and build trust between you and your clients.
Before you select your certification of choice, there are a few things to keep in mind. How much are you willing to spend, how much time do you have, is it an online course? These are all points you will need to look at while you do your research so you can find an option that best fits your needs.
To get you started, here are a few options to mull over that may give you the tools you require to become a Holistic Health Practitioner:
- Institute of Integrative Nutrition ($5,995 for a one-year online Integrative Nutrition program)
- Health Coach Institute ($5,950 for a six-month online Become a Health Coach program)
- Holistic Nutrition Lab ($5,997 for a ten-month online Full Body Systems program)
3. Pursue other disciplines
As it says in the name, a Holistic Health Practitioner needs to have a holistic approach to health and wellness. This means working with many disciplines, and requires education or training in a wide range of fields including nutrition, fitness and natural medicine.
You may want to get certified as a Yoga Trainer, Reiki Practitioner, Pilates Trainer and anything else that you can learn from and pass on to your clients. Additionally, some Holistic Health Practitioners choose to add physical therapy, naturopathy, psychology and even a degree of nursing to their repertoire.
It is important that you always suggest a discipline or cure that you know and have experienced for yourself. So use your time to learn as much as you can about disciplines that will complement a Holistic Health Practitioner and help you grow and be successful.
4. Start working
Once you’re certified, it’s time to step into the real world. At this stage, I’m sure you’ll be itching to get your own business up and running and reap the fruits of being your own boss. But it’s not easy. Especially for a new coach with limited expertise and contacts.
So before you put in your time, money and effort into starting your own business from the ground up, I suggest getting experience coaching real people, with real problems. This will help build your reputation as a Holistic Health Practitioner, while also giving you hands on experience on how it is to actually work with a client.
But how do you get clients, let alone experience, when you have no contacts? There are many places you can work as a Holistic Health Practitioner to gain experience before you move towards starting your own business.
- Wellness Centers, Spas and Gyms
Health and wellness retreats are all the rage, while gyms are looking at ways to expand their offerings and stand out from the crowd. This provides a great opportunity for someone like you to start working and learn the ins and outs of what’s needed.
- Sport Training Centers
No one knows the importance of health and wellbeing better than an athlete. That’s why Holistic Health Practitioners are an important part of the team that caters to professional and amateur athletes at various sport training centers.
As more and more decision makers in companies become aware of holistic health and wellness, and its impact on employee output, they are creating policies and providing incentives that promote a healthy lifestyle. This provides a great opportunity for a Holistic Health Practitioner to work with them to create plans and provide individual attention to employees and their wellbeing.
5. Put yourself out there
Some other ways you can market yourself and put your ideas out there are:
- Start a blog to talk about your beliefs on health and wellness
- Create a YouTube channel and put up health and nutrition videos
- Create a nutrition and wellness program in your community
- Visit nutrition and wellness seminars
- Collaborate with the local school to create a program for students
Four questions to ask yourself if you want to be a Holistic Health Practitioner
So you think you’re ready to be a Holistic Health Practitioner. Maybe you’re not sure. Whatever the case, if you think this is a career path you want to pursue, I suggest you ask yourself these three questions.
Depending on your answer to them, I think you’ll get a much clearer idea of what it means to be a Holistic Health Practitioner, and whether this is the right path for you.
- Are you passionate about improving your health and those around you?
A lot of people who enrol in health coaching programs often have no interest in becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner or running their own business. They are just want to learn more about nutrition and holistic health to better themselves and their friends and family.
To become a successful Holistic Health Practitioner, you need to be driven by a passion for health and wellness, and a desire to help people around you become the best versions of themselves they can.
- Are you ready to be responsible for other people’s lives?
Becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner means your clients depend on you to guide them towards and healthier and happier life. It is a huge responsibility to be put on someone, and you need to make sure you’re ready for it.
This is not a 9 to 5 job that can be done with disinterest. You will be expected to be completely involved in your client’s life, and be available when they need you most.
- Are you ready to go with the flow?
You know what’s funny, most people who start off as Holistic Health Practitioners often find success in a space where they don’t even have to provide any coaching services. Don’t believe me?
Go to www.amazon.com and search for a cookbook that focuses on healthy eating. The chances are pretty high that the author will be a certified Holistic Health Practitioner.
Many coaches reach a point where they stop coaching and start focussing on other revenue streams such as writing books, hosting retreats or even creating a physical or digital product.
So before you jump into this, be prepared to go with the flow. At the end of it is where success lies.
- Are you in it for the money?
A lot of people get into the business thinking becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner is like unearthing your very own, private goldmine. And these are often also the same people who go back to their day jobs months into.
Don’t get me wrong. You can make money and find success as a Holistic Health Practitioner. But it won’t happen in a day. Clients won’t be waiting at your door for you to finish your Holistic Health Practitioner certification. You’ll have to market yourself, network and work to gain trust and grow your business.
So be patient and you will find success. If you’re ready for that, I’m sure you’ll get to the top.
That’s a lot to take in, and I’m sure I’ve given you plenty to think about. But at the end of it, if you think becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner is the right career path for you, I say go for it. Becoming your own boss is a liberating feeling, and to run a business that you feel strongly about can only help you on your way to success.
All you need to remember is to never stop learning and working on yourself. The more you better yourself, the better you can help your clients. And happy clients can mean only one thing – free advertising.