Courses in Alternative Medicine
Alternative and natural healing methods have become popular alternatives to mainstream medicine. Learn about different types of alternative medicine courses as well as degree program options.
What Are Some Alternative Medicine Courses?
Alternative medicine, sometimes called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), is 'holistic,' meaning that it emphasizes the treatment of the individual as a whole in mind, body and spirit, rather than focusing solely upon the individual's illness or disease. Courses that explore the connections between mental and physical health include mind-body healing therapy, self-healing, self-hypnosis and meditation. Note that the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has reported that many alternative medicine therapies have not been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness (www.nih.gov).
Courses in acupressure, stress management, psychophysiology, biofeedback, yoga, movement therapy, aromatherapy, nutrition and therapeutic touch emphasize non-invasive and drug-free methods of healing. Homeopathy courses cover the history and thought process behind the treatment of disease and illness using micro doses of remedies. The spiritual aspects of alternative medicine are covered in such courses as chakra meditation and Reiki. Here is a sample of additional courses you might take:
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
This course offers an overview of alternative medicine. Students will typically learn the many disciplines of alternative medicine available, such as acupuncture and reflexology. Students might learn the concepts behind alternative treatments of diseases and how they may complement traditional Western medicine. Students may also discuss the holistic aspect of health and how CAM strives to build health and create system balance.
One of the oldest forms of medicine, herbal medicine courses usually cover Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), its history and concepts such as the four methods of diagnosis. Students may expect to learn the therapeutic herbal groups and dosages. Some courses may discuss how herbal medicines can complement or be contraindicated when used with pharmaceutical medications, as well as modern scientific research into herbal medicine.
Students in this course will learn the history and tradition behind acupuncture meridians. Forbidden points, physiological responses, and classification methods might also be covered, as well as treatment plans and techniques. Most classes may have labs, where students observe and get hands-on experience.
Anatomy and Physiology
Human anatomy and the major systems that comprise the human body are the topics in this type of course. Students may discuss the role holistic medicine plays in balancing these systems for optimal health. Some courses may include use of cadavers to see inside each system, as well as an in-depth look at holistic protocols used to rebalance the body.
Students will learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in this course. Included might be theories on diagnosing illness, the philosophy and framework behind the different disciplines of TCM, such as acupuncture, herbs, and movement practices, like Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Also covered may be treatment theories and methods.
Where Can I Find These Courses?
Programs and courses in CAM are available both online and on campuses. Formal programs of study may include acupuncture, Oriental medicine, midwifery, homeopathy, holistic health and herbal sciences. Many programs integrate alternative medicine with traditional physical sciences courses such as biology, psychology and nutrition.
Degree programs in naturopathic medicine include many courses in alternative medicine. The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education is the recognized accreditation body for naturopathy schools, which prepare students to become licensed naturopathic physicians (NDs). In addition to training in alternative medicine and methods, 4-year ND programs includes many of the same courses in science and biology required by allopathic and osteopathic medical schools.