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How Do I Choose the Best Natural Medicine Courses?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 17, 2024
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When you are trying to choose natural medicine courses, it can be a good idea to know what the varying admissions requirements of different schools are. That way, you can make sure you are taking natural medicine training that will meet your personal goals. You may want to find out a little bit about different types of alternative medicine so you can choose classes that cover the topics you are most interested in. Holistic medicine classes can be taken online, via correspondence, or in a classroom, and there are advantages and disadvantages of each delivery method.

Some natural medicine courses are designed to introduce different types of alternative medicine. Still others might be designed to train doctors or nurses how to use holistic medicine in conjunction with traditional methods of healing. There can be different admissions requirements for classes designed for medical professionals versus those that teach folk remedies for the general public. It can be helpful to know if there are any prerequisites for certain classes so you will not take advanced courses before basic natural medicine training.

There are many different types of holistic medicine. Some natural medicine courses might cover ayurvedic medicine, Chinese herbal medicine, or aromatherapy, for example. Others might cover specialty areas of practice such as acupuncture or massage therapy. Many courses touch briefly on different types of alternative medicine, and these might be ideal if you simply want to learn how to use herbal remedies to boost the immune system or cure everyday ailments. If you would like to earn a degree in herbal medicine, you may also need to study nutrition and medical terminology in addition to taking classes that deal with natural cures.

Some natural medicine courses are taught by native practitioners, which make it difficult to take classes if you live a great distance away. Some training may be offered via the Internet or correspondence course. These classes can be a good choice if you would like to study at your own pace, but want to learn from someone who has a great deal of experience in his or her specialty. Doing so can make it difficult to ask questions, so if you would like a more personalized approach you may want to consider a traditional classroom setting. An added bonus is that you may get to meet other holistic practitioners who can answer questions for you even after you have completed your course of study.

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Discussion Comments
By anon304722 — On Nov 21, 2012

I actually took online courses in natural health, in particular, natural hygiene with the University of Natural Health, USA. I was able to work through the courses in my own time (I have a 3 year old) and at my own pace and I graduated recently with a Ph.D in Holistic Nutrition.

The courses are extremely interesting and possibly the best online natural health courses on offer at this moment with such high standards. I would recommend this university to anyone out there considering studying natural health, nutrition and healing whether for a career or simply for personal knowledge in caring for oneself, family and friends. --Zaffy, Italy.

By JaneAir — On Oct 18, 2011

You know, I really don't think an online course would be the best idea for learning about something like this. I feel like it would be very beneficial to be able to ask questions when taking a course like this.

I understand if you absolutely have no other option. But I would definitely try to find a class in person first.

By Azuza — On Oct 18, 2011

@KaBoom - Interesting. I think next time I'm looking for a natural medicine practitioner I'll look and see what school they went to and check the admissions requirements and coursework.

Anyway, someone else mentioned looking for classes at your local health food store, and I think this is a great idea. There is a great herb shop near my apartment ran by a lady who has a doctorate degree in nutrition. She hosts a lot of interesting (and credible) lecturers at her shop.

But again, you have to check on their credibility first before you go. I personally like to check the lecturer's website before I consider attending the lecture.

By KaBoom — On Oct 18, 2011

I think some people would be very surprised at how rigorous some natural medicine courses for practitioners are. For example, I looked into going to school for acupuncture at one point, and the prerequisites were a lot like going to school for nursing.

You need anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and a bunch of other science classes. And I know it was kind of hard to get into that school, too. You had to go through an application and interview process. It also helped if you had other experience in the medical profession.

So while I'm sure there are some wackjobs out there who claim to practice natural medicine, some practitioners have gone through some pretty serious training.

By SkyWhisperer — On Oct 17, 2011

@everetra - You may want to see if your local health food store offers evening classes or seminars to the public.

In our area, they had some lectures on aromatherapy. These were held in facilities close to where the health food store was, and didn’t cost much from what I recall.

By everetra — On Oct 17, 2011

@NathanG - I agree. If you are planning to learn for your own benefit, then I think that some of the more flexible course options would be appropriate; these would be online courses, self study and distance learning.

You could even just go to the library and get the books and study on your own, if you’re not aiming for a specific credential. Sometimes what I do is go online, check out a curriculum, and then go online and try to find the books that are used in that curriculum and read them on my own. It’s less demanding (no tests, yeah!) but it’s for my own benefit, so that’s okay.

By NathanG — On Oct 17, 2011

@Catapult - I think that it’s important to decide if you plan to work as a professional in the natural medicine industry or if you simply want to learn for your own benefit.

If you are planning to be a professional, I would recommend that you get a degree in nutrition science from an accredited university. This school should include courses that teach natural medicine, but if it doesn’t, you can supplement later.

Personally, I would never visit a doctor who didn’t at least have a degree in nutrition science. The one doctor I do go to for natural medicine therapies actually has an MD degree and a degree in nutrition science, along with training in natural medicine. So he’s got all the bases covered in my opinion.

By andee — On Oct 16, 2011

Sometimes it seems a bit overwhelming with all the choices that are available in natural medicine. This field seems like it is growing rapidly as many are looking for alternative ways of medical treatment.

My regular doctor is a DO who is very interested in alternative treatments and has quite a few connections with students who are attending an osteopathic university in our city.

Once a month there are a group of alternative health providers who meet in her home each month to get to know each other and share ideas.

This has become a great source of networking not only for them, but for people like me as well. I have been able to meet professionals who practice in many areas such as acupuncture, homeopathy and massage who use methods that I am interested in.

I have even considered taking some natural medicine courses because of my interest in these areas.

There are so many courses out there and it sounds like some of them can be kind of untrustworthy, and I want to make sure I am taking one that is trusted and well respected.

This is when the support and expertise of this natural health group really comes in handy as I trust their suggestions and opinions.

By John57 — On Oct 16, 2011

I am always interested in learning about natural ways to treat problems. I have found what works best for me is a balance between traditional and natural medicine, but finding natural methods is usually my first choice.

There are many people who seem to be extreme on one side or the other, and I like to look at both sides and see what is going to work best for me.

I have taken some online natural medicine courses in subjects that I want to learn more about. I have taken these courses mainly for my own education and learning without the intention of teaching them.

These courses have always been recommended to me from others who have completed them and so I feel confident in the material and method of teaching.

Most of the courses I have taken have been related to nutrition and using natural herbs and essential oils in treating medical problems.

By taking a course I have disciplined myself to learn the information on a consistent basis. Otherwise it is too easy to get sidetracked and never get anything done.

The information I have learned has been invaluable for my own life and there have also been situations where I have been able to help someone else with what I have learned.

By helene55 — On Oct 15, 2011

@Catapult- That might be true, but probably is in any educational setting. I don't really think that natural medicine has a higher rate of cheaters and people who don't know what they are doing, at least not as much higher as stereotypes might suggest.

By Catapult — On Oct 15, 2011

It would be a good idea to research schools really well before you consider them. There are a lot of weird, sketchy places out there that might not really be affiliated with medical groups or might not have good instructors.

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