What Can I Legally Do As An Herbalist, Aromatherapist, Or Other Holistic Health Practitioner?

Submitted by lshapiro on Wed, 2012-06-06 09:00

Most holistic health modalities are currently unlicensed. However, legislation is currently in place in multiple states, including Minnesota and California, and it is important to be aware of and compliant with relevant legislation.

The National Health Freedom Coalition offers a state listing that is useful. We recommend that you become aware of the organizations in your state and consider joining their efforts to support Health Freedom. Just a reminder, though: completing any training program, including courses at American College of Healthcare Sciences, does not constitute any type of licensure to practice.

It's always important to keep in mind what the unlicensed complementary and alternative healthcare provider is ethically and legally able to do[1]. First, it is important to remember that a holistic health practitioner is not a primary care physician. Without other licensing, a holistic health practitioner cannot diagnose, treat, or prescribe drugs[2].

The Holistic Health Practitioner:

  • Recognizes that achieving good health requires a proper diet, fresh clean water, fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and rest.
  • Teaches his or her clients how to achieve and sustain good health on a daily basis with herbs, essential oils, homeopathics, and other natural modalities to supplement their healthy lifestyle.
  • Understands that each client has a physical, mental, and spiritual self, and that good health requires balance in all areas.
  • Recognizes when allopathic healthcare may be necessary, and is always ready to refer a client to his or her primary care physician for diagnosis and/or treatment.
  • Empowers the client to achieve improved health, both today and for the future, through addressing any imbalances caused by improper nutrition, poor quality sleep, insufficient water, lack of exercise, fresh air, and relaxation.
  • Educates clients to evaluate their lifestyle choices, to isolate and change any potential causes of ill health.

The Holistic Health Practitioner Does Not:

  • Diagnose disease. A holistic health practitioner performs evaluations to determine causes of potential health problems, but they do not diagnose disease. Always refer a client back to his or her licensed physician for a diagnosis.
  • Treat disease. A holistic health practitioner focuses on health and education, not on disease, and empowers clients to take charge of their own good health.    
  • Prescribe drugs or pharmaceuticals. Holistic health practitioners teach clients about herbs, essential oils, homeopathic remedies, homeobotanical remedies, flower essences, dietary supplements, and nutrition.
  • Perform Invasive Procedures. Depending on his or her training and licensing, a practitioner may use hands on techniques as part of his or her practice. For example, a practitioner may also be trained as a massage therapist, chiropractor, or osteopath, and use natural health modalities along with that discipline; For example, a massage therapist may use an essential oil blend to complement a massage treatment. Existing healthcare professionals should check with their licensing bodies regarding incorporating their studies into their existing practice. Holistic health practitioners do not perform any invasive procedures, give injections, or draw blood.

>> For additional information, click here to read more complementary alternative medicine articles from the American College FAQ Knowledgebase.

References:
[1] Note that this is general information and is not intended to be legal advice, and you should seek legal advice in your state for detailed information.
[2] If you do hold licensing in a health care field, you may have a different scope of practice than practitioners without other licensure.