Complementary and Alternative Health Expands the Horizons of Health Care

By Ashford University Staff

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One of the unexpected outcomes of globalization has been an increased awareness of non-Western health practices. Existing outside the realm of traditional medical practices, these techniques are often collectively grouped under the heading of complementary and alternative health. The field has grown significantly in recent years as more people look for new methods to improve their quality of life.

What Is Complementary and Alternative Health?

Complementary and alternative health is a far-ranging field that is always expanding to include new ideas. It encompasses everything from the latest innovations to ancient techniques. Under the heading of complementary and alternative health, you will find Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, naturopathic medicine, biofeedback, herbal remedies, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, hypnosis, acupressure, reiki, reflexology, energy systems, meditation, and even prayer. Used effectively, complementary and alternative health can be an excellent supplement to more traditional therapies.

How Can You Get Involved?

The requirements to become a complementary and alternative health practitioner can vary greatly. Different states have different rules regarding licensing, credentialing, and certification – and you are encouraged to investigate the applicable rules in your state[1]. Nevertheless, there is one constant that all aspiring alternative health practitioners need: proper knowledge about the various complementary and alternative health techniques that are available. A good place to start is a degree, such as the Bachelor of Arts in Complementary and Alternative Health degree from Ashford University’s College of Health, Human Services, and Science.

What Will You Learn?

Ashford’s Bachelor of Arts in Complementary and Alternative Health program provides an overview of the most prominent alternative health methods in use today. You’ll learn about the history of these health systems, how they were developed, and how they have been implemented in the past. This information includes an examination of the cultural influences that factored into the creation of these health systems.

Courses in this program also dive into broader concerns of the health care industry. You will develop an understanding of health research, learn about community health standards and issues, and explore the unique health care needs of special populations such as the elderly, substance abusers, and patients with mental health concerns.

If you pursue this degree program, you may choose to add a specialization in Health Care Informatics Systems. Encompassing four courses, the specialization covers the collection, analysis, and applications of data in the health care field.

What Can You Do with Your Health Degree?

For many complementary and alternative health graduates, their degree is the first step on a path toward business ownership. You may choose to pursue a career as an independent alternative health practitioner. If you don’t feel that entrepreneurial urge, there are plenty of other career options open to BA in Complementary and Alternative Health grads. From Holistic Spa Worker to Meditation Instructor, there are many applications for your alternative health knowledge. Check out this list of other career possibilities.

Even if you’re not planning on pursuing complementary and alternative health as a career, it is a fascinating field of study. You will learn about many health options that you may not have been aware of before. Expand your horizons with a degree in complementary and alternative health.



Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education


For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, please visit


[1]  An online degree from Ashford University does not lead to immediate licensure in any state.


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Are you currently a licensed RN?

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