Department of Integrative Health

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What is integrative health?

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Integrative Health incorporates modern science with holistic health and wellness principles.  When used in a clinical setting integrative health with a core philosophy “that the body can heal itself” provides a practical individualized wellness  support strategy delivered through a team approach incorporating a combination of conventional or allopathic medicine, self-care, exercise, complementary and alternative medicine modalities such as herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and aromatherapy, and a positive lifestyle. The client and the team become partners in health improvement as all factors that influence wellbeing are taken into consideration. This holistic approach focuses on the individual and draws from scientific evidence, neuroscience, preventative therapies and positive lifestyle and behavior approaches. Optimal health and healing stems from coordinating these practices into a holistic health care system that promotes individual health, self-care and wellbeing. Using this collaboration of wellness modalities, healthcare professionals can interpret what the individual needs to achieve wellness and improve overall health.

According to a 2012 survey by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, many Americans—more than 30 percent of adults and about 12 percent of children—use health care approaches that are not typically part of conventional medical care or that may have origins outside of usual Western practice. 

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health defines Integrative Health as such:
“Integrative health care often brings conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way. It emphasizes a holistic, patient-focused approach to health care and wellness—often including mental, emotional, functional, spiritual, social, and community aspects—and treating the whole person rather than, for example, one organ system. It aims for well-coordinated care between different providers and institutions.”

What is an integrative health practitioner?

An integrative health practitioner embraces the philosophy of holistic health and  provides a bridge between conventional medical recommendations and holistic recommendations that encompass the whole person. An integrative health practitioner responsibility is to support a client with their medical recommendations and to also help the client achieve wellness through the balanced implementation of integrative health modalities. The varied modalities that an integrative health practitioner employs help to increase the natural vitality of the individual and bring the body systems back into balance.

What education do you need to become an integrative health practitioner?

It is essential to pursue an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree program in the health and wellness field to gain a deep understanding of the array of holistic health modalities available such as aromatherapy, herbal medicine, lifestyle modifications, and holistic nutrition.  Study of biological sciences such as anatomy, physiology, psychology, biology, and chemistry are also fundamental. A wellness coaching course will provide the Integrative Health practitioner insights into establishing a solid foundation for success with training in the International Coach Federation (ICF) ethical guidelines and professional standards, which include; establishing the coaching agreement, trust and intimacy with the client, developing a coaching presence, learning to be an active listener, conducting powerful questioning, using direct communication, creating awareness, designing actions, planning and goal setting, and managing progress and accountability.

What does an integrative health practitioner do?

An integrative health practitioner is an integral member of a professional healthcare team who support and guide clients to achieve wellness through positive lifestyle changes. This comprehensive integrative team approach has grown in hospitals, wellness centers and care settings. Integrative health modalities including aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, exercise and relaxation. Careers can encompass roles such as: a Health and Wellness Coach, Consultant, Educator, Writer, or Speaker; Health and Wellness Consultant within Community Health Organizations,  such as Government, Residential Care Facilities, Schools, Prisons, Community Wellness programs, Retirement Villages, Old Age Homes, Frail Care Centers, Nursing Homes and Home Healthcare Agencies; Allied Health professional or another other support role in an integrative medical clinic or other healthcare setting.

What healing arts and sciences fall under the umbrella of integrative health?

Integrative health encompasses many areas of complementary and alternative medicine including aromatherapy, herbal medicine, lifestyle modifications, exercise, relaxationand holistic nutrition.

How can I learn more about integrative health?

Check out these articles for in-depth insights and cutting-edge tips that will enhance your career in integrative health!

Integrative Health Learning Resources

Explore the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). NCCIH  is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. NCCIH was formerly known as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Gain insight from Psychiatric Times on complementary and integrative health approaches to PTSD.

The Institute for Integrative Health aims to create a wellness and medical model to shift our society’s focus from managing disease to promoting lifelong health.

How do I apply to ACHS integrative health programs?

It’s easy! If you’re ready to apply to an online integrative health program with ACHS, you can start your application here. If you’re interested in starting out with a single integrative health course, start your single course application here.

Still wondering what to expect during the application process? An admissions advisor is happy to speak to you at a time that works for you. Schedule an appointment with an admissions advisor here.

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