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Health & Fitness Programs ►Holistic Healing Professional Certificate Program with Externship

Program includes National Certification & an Externship Opportunity

The Holistic Healing Professional

There are a wide range of opportunities available for today's holistic healing professional and there are many different potential business relationships that will be encountered throughout a typical career. Learning more about the business world will serve to equip the holistic healing professional with information and tools that will inevitably be required as you begin your career.

The Holistic Healing Professional Program

This program provides an overview of the theoretical principles for common massage therapy systems and manual techniques. The course discusses the historical influences from a variety of cultures in order to best understand the massage therapy industry and profession today. The course also serves to introduce both the theoretical basis as well as the demonstration of fundamental manual techniques in the traditional discipline of Western Massage (i.e. Swedish massage), and the contemporary systems of Myofascial Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, and Reflexology. This program further overviews anatomy and physiology, and human pathology in order to understand all the inner working of the human body, how you think about the human body as a health care professional, how they communicate to colleagues and clients respectively about their bodies, and prepares you for continued studies for the applications of massage therapy. Finally, this program discusses each body system in terms of the major anatomical structures and functions and explains how each system participates in homeostasis of the body. In addition, the course discusses selected major pathologies, including disease definitions and causes, signs and symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and possible treatments and changes in the body throughout the human lifespan.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Comprehend foundational knowledge for understanding and applying massage therapy.
  • Gain insight into the philosophical and historical background of massage therapy.
  • Explain the effects and benefits as well as clinical applications of massage.
  • Understand the principles, and explain the techniques used in Western Massage
  • Understand the principles of joint range of motion and Myofascial Massage
  • Understand the basic physiology of trigger points, and explain the manual techniques used to treat trigger points
  • Understand the principles of Reflexology and explain the basic techniques used to treat the various systems of the body with the application of manual reflexology methods.
  • Define and differentiate Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology, and Pathology.
  • Understand the basic knowledge of the major body systems and homeostasis
  • Describe selected human diseases in terms of definition, cause, signs and symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and possible treatments for each of the body systems
  • Describe common issues or changes that occur in each major body system throughout the lifespan
  • Use Microsoft Office


  • Describe massage in the context of a natural healing art, and understand the traditional influences that helped to shape today's massage therapy profession.
  • Define massage and describe fundamental massage techniques commonly used.
  • Explain the concept of wellness, and understand how massage therapy is complimentary to Western medicine.
  • Comprehend the basic terminology used to describe the various types of massage styles and techniques commonly used.


  • Explain the various massage techniques and the effects they have on the body, mind, and emotions.
  • Identify how and when massage therapy fits into the healing process of tissue repair.
  • Explain the primary effects that massage has on each of the body systems, and on the organism level overall.
  • Explain how massage therapy is used in treating human pathologies.
  • Understand how research literacy and the evidence-based practice is important for the massage therapy profession.
  • Explain the basic massage applications for each system of the body, and how massage is used to compliment standard medical treatment in hospitals and nursing homes.


  • Describe the major endangerment sites of the body, which require knowledge and caution to avoid injury during massage.
  • Explain the principles for general, regional, and local contraindications for massage.
  • Explain the common medications and understand the implications for giving massage to medicated clients.
  • Describe the major components for maintaining a professional presence, including sanitation and hand washing practices.
  • Explain the primary considerations for self-care as a massage therapist.
  • Describe the primary elements of massage applications, including topical substances, proper draping, safety and comfort of the client, and use of techniques.
  • Explain the paramount ethical and moral considerations for the professional of massage therapy, and confidentiality as a client’s right to privacy.


  • Identify the primary manual techniques used in Western Massage, and the variations for each
  • Describe the variations of each of the primary western massage techniques, and how they can provide specific effects
  • Understand how to use western massage techniques appropriately in a session
  • Distinguish between active and passive movements, joint mobilization techniques, and stretching
  • Explain the therapeutic benefits of massage
  • Understand the application of mobilizing and stretching techniques for different joints and areas of the body, as well as the guidelines for applying joint movements


  • Identify three contemporary massage and bodywork systems that are popular within the industry
  • Explain the basic history and physiological basis of myofascial massage
  • Identify the primary guidelines, contraindications, and basic myofascial techniques used
  • Explain the basic history and physiological basis of trigger point therapy
  • Explain how to locate trigger points, and how they can radiate pain in predictable patterns
  • Identify the primary deactivation techniques used to treat trigger points
  • Explain the basic history and energetic basis of reflexology
  • Explain zone therapy and the guidelines in giving reflexology sessions, including positioning the receiver and body mechanic considerations for the therapist
  • Identify the primary foot reflexology techniques


  • Describe body planes, cavities, regions, and directional terms
  • Define homeostasis and its importance to the human body
  • Outline the levels of organization of the body, including the body systems
  • Identify the structures and functions of the organelles of a typical human celL


  • Describe the organization of the skeletal system
  • Explain the functions of bone, including its contribution to homeostasis
  • Identify the anatomical structures of the skeletal system, including the major bones of the body
  • Describe selected skeletal system diseases and disorders
  • Describe issues and changes related to the skeletal system at different points in the lifespan


  • Identify the anatomical structures of the muscular system, including the major muscles of the body
  • Explain the basic concept of muscle contraction
  • Describe how the muscular system contributes to homeostasis of the body
  • Describe selected muscular system diseases and disorders
  • Describe issues and changes related to the muscular system at different points in the lifespan


  • Describe the organization of the nervous system
  • Identify the anatomical structures of the nervous system and special senses and their functions
  • Explain how an electrical impulse is conducted through a nerve
  • Explain how the nervous system contributes to the homeostasis of the body
  • Describe selected nervous system and special senses diseases and disorders
  • Describe issues and changes related to the nervous system and special senses at different points in the lifespan

Note: This program can be completed in 6 months. However, students will have online access to this program for a 24-month period.

Education and National Certifications

  • Students should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.
  • There are no state approval and/or state requirements associated with this program.
  • There is a National Certification exam available to students who successfully complete this program:
    • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification Exam

National Certification

Upon successful completion of this Auburn University program, students would be eligible to sit for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam. Although there are no state approval, state registration or other state requirements for this program, students who complete this program at Auburn University will be prepared and are eligible to sit for this national certification exam. Students who complete this program are encouraged to complete the externship option with their program. Students who complete this program can and do sit for the MOS national certification exams and are qualified, eligible and prepared to do so. Auburn University works with each student to complete the exam application and register the student to take their national certification exam.

Externship / Hands on Training / Practicum

Although not a requirement, once students complete the program, they have the ability to participate in an externship and/or hands on practicum so as to practice the skills necessary to perform the job requirements of a professional in this field. Students will be assisted with completing a resume and/or other requirements necessary to work in this field. All students who complete this program are eligible to participate in an externship and will be placed with a participating organization near their location. Auburn University works with national organizations and has the ability to place students in externship opportunities nationwide.

Note: No refunds can be issued after the start date published in your Financial Award document.