Holistic Health Studies

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Holistic Health Studies at St. Catherine University opens doors of insight into a new paradigm of health and healing that integrates mind, body and spirit. This emerging model of healthcare draws from the best of modern scientific medicine and cross-cultural healing wisdom passed down over centuries.

Through a Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies degree, or a more concentrated graduate Holistic Health Studies Certificate, you'll expand your view of health and healing. The knowledge you gain through classroom learning, research and hands-on exploration will turn your interest into advocacy, career applications, and personal development. Opportunities for empowerment, skill development and spiritual transformation prepare you to improve health and wellness and play a leading role in the evolution of health and healing. 

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Why pursue Holistic Health Studies at St. Kate's?

A Holistic Health Studies master's degree or certificate takes you on a journey that is more than academic — it is a personal and professional expedition. The field of holistic health acknowledges that mind, body and spirit impact one another in health and well-being. 

St. Kate’s academic and experiential program gives you the tools to integrate holistic health into a variety of professions and fields. You'll analyze and reflect on complementary/alternative health as well as the predominant biomedical framework, making connections between human health and the environment; organic and scientific ways of knowing; and cultural differences — all with the support of faculty members and members of your student cohort. 

1) Become part of a legacy of leadership

Holistic Health Studies at St. Kate's leads the way as one of the first graduate programs in the country to focus on holistic health. The program evolved from a century of experience in healthcare education. St. Catherine's Henrietta Schmoll School of Health offers a wide variety of degrees that address current health and wellness issues.

2) Integrate graduate education into your life

Evening and weekend course scheduling means you can find space in your busy life to explore and expand your world.

3) Learn holistically, through transdisciplinary studies

Holistic health is a transdisciplinary field. The curriculum draws on the knowledge of diverse disciplines to build a sum of insights greater than its individual parts. The program embraces the knowledge you have acquired from your life's path as well as your previous studies, whether in business, social work, education or other fields.

4) Broaden your cultural awareness

At the core of the holistic health studies program is a commitment to cultural diversity and a respect for indigenous and ancient healing practices. Everyone has a cultural heritage that offers resources for health and healing. You'll explore your own culture and, through coursework and practicum experiences, take your learning outside of the classroom to gain direct contact with the wisdom of diverse cultural communities in the Twin Cities and abroad.

5) Conduct leading-edge research

The field of holistic health is evolving. You'll have the opportunity to conduct innovative and authentic research that holds significant meaning for you. In the 18-month research sequence you and your classmates will delve into a topic that holds the power to inform the field of health while shifting your perspective.

6) Transform personally, professionally and beyond

What transforms you as an individual transforms the world. The Holistic Health Studies program will broaden your perspective and inspire personal changes. You'll gain wisdom and skills to transform your career and your community. 

Why holistic health?

Holistic health is also known as integrative, complementary or alternative healthcare. By any name, it is as old as humankind and as forward-thinking as today's scientifiic exploration, constantly pressing the boundaries of understanding. It crosses borders, disciplines, time, religions and ways of knowing and healing to benefit individuals, communities and the environment.

Holistic health regards the mind, body and spirit as a continuum that cannot be reduced into parts. Western medicine traditionally regarded human beings as a sum of mechanical parts — organs, bones and muscles; the digestive, nervous and endocrine systems.

Today, conventional medicine has broadened to accept holistic concepts. For example, a newer scientific field of study called psychoneuroimmunology is revealing physical evidence that our minds have an impact on our health. Scientific research has validated treatments including relaxation and meditation for alleviating pain and lowering blood pressure. The understanding that anxiety, depression and excess take a toll on our health is now as widely accepted in Western medicine as it has been for centuries in other cultures.

The mind-body connection has been embraced, but spirituality still lingers on the fringes of conventional medical practice. Well-documented studies of the beneficial effects of prayer have now drawn attention, however. in his book Healing Words, physician Larry Dossey describes prayer as “one of the best-kept secrets in medical science.” Even mice, chicks, enzymes, fungi yeast and bacteria react positively to prayer, he says, so “we cannot dismiss these outcomes as being due to suggestion or placebo effects.”

In the United States, holistic health took root during the 1960s and ’70s. Concern about our environment was growing, women and cultural minorities were demanding a voice and new opportunities, and ease of travel and communications opened up the world.

Today, holistic healing is moving into the mainstream. Thirty-eight percent of people surveyed recently by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine were using complementary and alternative medicine therapies, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, chiropractic care, massage, yoga or special diets. Complementary care was commonly used to treat back and neck pain, joint pain and stiffness, and anxiety or depression. St. Catherine’s approach to holistic health also embraces the important role of art, ecology, culture and social justice among the areas affecting our health and well-being.