Holistic Health Studies

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 scientific 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.

HHS 6700 Foundations of Holistic Health and Wellness — 2 credits

This course provides an overview of holistic health and the emerging integrative model of healthcare. Students begin by comparing and contrasting the philosophical differences between the conventional healthcare model and the holistic model. New approaches in science and current research across several disciplines are used to support the holistic view. The influence of culture and social change movements within the field are explored, including an historical view of the role of women as healers. Emphasis is placed on the role of the holistic practitioner and the partnership model for client/practitioner relationship. Students arrive at their own perspectives on health, illness and dying after studying diverse theorists. This course provides opportunities for networking in the community.

HHS 6720 Complementary/Alternative Approaches to Healthcare — 2 credits

Students study various alternative/complementary healthcare practices within a given framework to include: key characteristics of the approach, working mechanisms, expected client outcomes, scope of practice and research base. Selected practitioners of alternative/complementary healthcare guest lecture about the following fields: homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic and Chinese medicine. Students gain an awareness of community and Web resources.

HHS 6730 Culture as a Resource in Health and Healing — 2 credits

This course offers students the opportunity to learn in a setting of direct contact with the wisdom of cultural communities. Based on a curriculum developed and field tested at the Powderhorn Phillips Cultural Wellness Center, the course guides students to explore health and disease from the perspective of culture. Course content includes the examination of the cultural constructs underpinning the medical system, the role of culture in the interaction between practitioners and patient, and the much overlooked role of the reconnection to cultural heritage in healing for both practitioner and patient. The course develops these issues with examples from the major cultural traditions of the world. Students experience learning by immersion in a community-based center, readings, introspection and reflection, journaling and artwork. Students' exploration of their own culture and its healing traditions is a major feature of the course.

HHS 6740 Spiritual Wellness — 2 credits

This course focuses on the relationship between state of health and well being and the faith, belief and meaning systems each person creates across the life span. Students learn about the belief and meaning-making processes from a number of perspectives and identify pathways to physiological responses that may enhance or endanger health. Current research is brought to bear on the convergence of science, spirituality and psychology as it pertains to spiritual and physical health. In addition, students experience opportunities for connecting to the sacred and techniques to elicit spiritual healing.

HHS 6760 Ecology and Health — 2 credits

This course explores the interrelationships of humans and the environment. Students are introduced to the basic concepts of ecosystems in relationship to human behavior and human adaptations within these ecosystems. The role of the individual and of the society and their contributions, directly and indirectly, to the quality of the environment are emphasized along with the impact of current environmental conditions on the overall health of humans. Included in the course are considerations of potential solutions — from personal to political — of the environmental science issues explored.

HHS 6820 Movement, Relaxation and Health — 2 credits

This course goes beyond the traditional concept that suggests conventional physical fitness is synonymous with good health. Students explore a holistic approach that looks at the six dimensions of wellness and how traditional and nontraditional kinds of physical exercise play a role in mental, emotional and physical health. Both Western and Eastern concepts and research findings regarding the body and the mind are studied to offer a balanced synthesis.
Prerequisite: First-year courses.

HHS 6951 Independent Study — 1 credit

Independent study offers students in the generalist concentration the opportunity for creative learning on topics of their choice. A student works with a faculty member to develop a learning plan that specifies the content, objectives, credit allocation and process of evaluation.
Prerequisites: Instructor and program approval.

HHS 6952 Independent Study — 2 credits

Independent study offers students in the generalist concentration the opportunity for creative learning on topics of their choice. A student works with a faculty member to develop a learning plan that specifies the content, objectives, credit allocation and process of evaluation.
Prerequisites: Instructor and program approval.

HHS 6953 Independent Study — 3 credits

Independent study offers students in the generalist concentration the opportunity for creative learning on topics of their choice. A student works with a faculty member to develop a learning plan that specifies the content, objectives, credit allocation and process of evaluation.
Prerequisites: Instructor and program approval.

HHS 6954 Independent Study — 4 credits

Independent study offers students in the generalist concentration the opportunity for creative learning on topics of their choice. A student works with a faculty member to develop a learning plan that specifies the content, objectives, credit allocation and process of evaluation.
Prerequisites: Instructor and program approval.

HHS 6981 Topics — 1 credit

Topics courses vary from term to term. See the online course schedule for topics course descriptions.

HHS 6982 Topics — 2 credits

Topics courses vary from term to term. See the online course schedule for topics course descriptions.

HHS 6983 Topics — 3 credits

Topics courses vary from term to term. See the online course schedule for topics course descriptions.

HHS 6992 Topics — 2 credits

Topics courses vary from term to term. See the online course schedule for topics course descriptions.

HHS 6993 Topics — 3 credits

Topics courses vary from term to term. See the online course schedule for topics course descriptions.

HHS 6994 Topics — 4 credits

Topics courses vary from term to term. See the online course schedule for topics course descriptions.

HHS 7500 Core Concepts in Mind/Body Interactions — 2 credits

In this course, students explore the emerging science of psychoneuroimmunology, which provides the conceptual framework for mind/body interactions. This course moves the study of basic physiology to a deeper treatment of concepts related to molecular-cellular function including the uses and transformations of biochemical energy, the molecules that carry regulatory information in the body and the impact of psychosocial factors on immunity. Students examine primary research and collateral research in quantum healing and systems theory.

HHS 7520 Women and Holistic Health — 2 credits

This course examines women's health from an historical, cultural, class, feminist and holistic perspective. The influence of racism, sexism, ageism and classism on the socially constructed view of women in the medical model is analyzed. The role of women as healers in a variety of cultures is discussed, along with the impact of the political and social climate of the times on these healing traditions. The impact and influence of social movements such as those occurring in the '60s on women's health is explored. Students become familiar with current alternative/complementary healthcare systems for women through guest lectures provided by practitioners in their fields.

HHS 7620 Organizing for Social Change — 2 credits

This course begins with an introduction to a broad history of social movements in this country in order for students to understand themselves and the current holistic health movement in an historical context of social change. The course also examines the historical impact of these social movements on society. A variety of social change strategies and traditions are explored to give the student concrete organizational leadership skills. Through classroom assignments, projects and guest lecturers, students identify and develop their own internal capacity to organize for change on behalf of others. Students have an opportunity to apply classroom learning in the community working with an existing organizing effort or project.

HHS 7710 Alternative Approaches to Nutrition — 2 credits

This course explores both the principles of nutrition and practical uses of alternative nutritional approaches. The class discusses the way various food choices are influenced and the impact food choices have on individual health and the environment. There is hands-on exposure to the delicious variety of wholesome foods. Students learn about the latest scientific findings on food and healing and how to evaluate nutrition information. Through an exploratory approach, students are given the opportunity to expand their personal food choices, enhance their understanding of eating and health, and become aware of community resources. This course also considers personal nutrition in the context of local and global sustainable agriculture and the importance of examining the impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), herbicides, pesticides and food irradiation as it relates to preserving a healthy food chain.

HHS 7800 Mindfulness Based Meditation — 3 credits

This course is an experientially based introduction to the philosophy and practice of, and research in, mindfulness meditation as a therapeutic modality. It is modeled after Jon Kabat-Zinn's Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Through quiet observation of thoughts, sensations and emotions, participants develop their ability to concentrate, relax and let go of habitual reactions to fear, anxiety and other stress-producing emotions. Students are provided with ongoing opportunities to develop and refine four key practices that form the basis of mindfulness, or Vipassana, meditation as it has evolved over the centuries in Asia. Students gain the essential elements necessary for an ongoing personal meditation practice, the benefits of which nourish students and their clients.

HHS 7810 Perspectives of Health and Healing in India — 3 credits

This course is rooted in respect for the sciences and cross-cultural wisdom of various healing practices in India, such as meditation, yoga, Ayurvedic,Tibetan, homeopathic, and allopathic. These traditions shape and influence individual and community health in India and globally. Coursework creates transformational learning opportunities by immersing students in cross cultural experiences. Through these experiences students explore health and healing through the multiple lenses of culture, spirituality, economics, and social justice. Students use critical thinking, reflection and lively discussion to compare, contrast and integrate the philosophical knowledge, cross-cultural wisdom, scientific evidence, and personal experience from the perspectives of these traditions with their own viewpoints of health and healing.
Prerequisite: HHS 6730.
Recommended: HHS 6700, 6720.

HHS 7830 Energy Healing I — 3 credits

Energy Healing I explores the use of presence, touch and imagery to facilitate health and healing. A theoretical base for energy healing is considered, as well as an overview of different systems of energy healing. Students learn specific skills from Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch and guided imagery with a focus on themes and techniques held in common. Current research literature and ethics of practice are considered throughout the course.

HHS 7835 Energy Healing II — 3 credits

In Energy Healing II, students continue to learn the use of presence, touch and imagery to facilitate health and healing. Major concepts and techniques presented in Energy Healing I that include Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch and guided imagery are studied at an advanced level. Students learn to assess the client's energy system, create a plan for a client session and perform energy healing to facilitate health and healing. Emphasis is on integrating techniques and working in a professional context. Students also explore the relationship between the body, spirituality and the mystery of spiritual healing.
Prerequisite: HHS 7830.

HHS 8900 Quantitative and Qualitative Research: Mindful Inquiry — 3 credits

HHS 8900 is the first in a sequence of three required research courses in which students learn and experience a holistic model of research. This course provides a broad overview of research and the complexities of holistic health research. It builds a foundation for understanding the research process and application of research to practice. During this course, students discern their research interest(s) and purpose(s) by choosing a research topic and co-collaborators. Students also discern their predominant and emerging epistemologies, ontologies, and philosophies in order to understand the underlying values and assumptions of research. Students collaboratively write an introduction to a research proposal, write a literature review, develop a preliminary research question and compile a reference list.

HHS 8920 Practicum and Integrative Seminar — 2 credits

This course provides students with the opportunity to apply holistic health methods in a community setting and to integrate their learning in the Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies program with their specific fields of work, or to expand in new directions through a 100-hour practicum and 24 hours of a classroom seminar. Students have the opportunity to be engaged in community-based learning for their practicum. This course also encourages students to engage their body, mind and spirit in pursuit of their own professional and personal goals. As students complete the program, they take practical steps to integrate knowledge gained from the program, the practicum experience and their own professional background. To demonstrate this integration and get you ready for the marketplace, students create an individualized plan. This course is taken the final term in the program.

HHS 8940 Research Methods and Statistics — 3 credits

This course is the second course in a required series of three research courses for students in the Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies program and builds on the foundation laid in HHS 8900. This course focuses on the fundamentals of sampling, instrumentation, protection of human subjects, data collection procedures, data analysis procedures and design strengths and limitations. Students develop and write a project proposal and submit either an IRB or Creative Application and discern decisions related to project implementation.
Prerequisite: HHS 8900.

HHS 8980 Research Seminar — 2 credits

This course is the third course in a required series of three research courses for students in the Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies program and builds on the foundation laid in HHS 8900 and 8940. This seminar supports students as they complete their project. Students write the results and analysis/evaluation of their project and make a formal public presentation. This course also addresses how to use research and evaluation to continue one's professional growth.
Prerequisite: HHS 8940.

HHS 8990 Publishing Your Research — 1 credit

In this course, students will learn to develop a relationship with their writing that will support them in writing an academic journal article. Students will start by grounding themselves in their own authentic voice and inner knowing. From this, students will develop a plan for their writing process that is in integrity with their own style and way of knowing. Through a process of distillation students will synthesize the key elements of their research into a journal article. The class will function as a writing group. Students will learn effective strategies to support each other in the writing process. Students will have the opportunity to learn the publishing process and identify journals that fit the goals and objectives for their article. For the final course outcome, students will submit their article for publication.
Prerequisite: HHS 8980.