Tomorrow’s health practitioners will be more in sync with human and animal healthcare than ever before — namely because the demand for natural and alternative medicine is on the rise; as are courses in healing arts.

In addition to the more popular academic programs in massage therapy and chiropractic, courses in healing arts encompass a vast field of natural healing modalities including aromatherapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and naturopathy, among others.

To become certified in aromatherapy, there are courses in healing arts that are specifically geared toward this natural healing discipline. Typical studies involve anatomy and physiology, aromatherapy first aid, essential oils and blending, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy history and philosophy, stress management and relaxation techniques, among other subject matter.

Other courses in healing arts like massage therapy generally range between 300 and 1,000 training hours. To become nationally certified massage therapists, students must complete a minimum of 500 training hours; however, some shorter courses offer advanced, elective courses in healing arts to meet National certification requirements. Massage studies entail history and philosophy of massage therapy, massage modalities (Swedish massage, sports massage, deep tissue massage, among others), anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, and other related subject matter.

Courses in healing arts like reflexology can often be completed in less than one week’s time for basic instruction, and sometimes over 350 hours for certification programs. General instruction (in reflexology programs) includes anatomy and physiology, reflex zone studies and techniques; ear, hand, and foot reflex zone applications; case histories, and more.

More advanced courses in healing arts like chiropractic, naturopathy, homeopathy, and acupuncture frequently require prerequisite education; and commitment to complete longer, more course-intensive training (typically between two and four years). Like most healthcare training, these academic programs entail in-depth instruction in basic health sciences like anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry and biochemistry, and psychology. Depending on the course you choose to pursue, you may even learn a second language — especially in Oriental medicine programs, where you gain education in Chinese medical terminology.

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