LIMERICK people with an interest in holistic therapy are being offered the chance to become fully qualified professionals in the field within a year.
Ireland’s first ever full-time academy of holistic therapy is to be opened in Murroe next month, and over the coming year it will train 16 people to perform disciplines such as reiki, acupuncture and reflexology to a professional standard.
The Holistic Centre of Excellence is the brainchild of Anna Gibson-Steel, a renowned practitioner of energy medicine with almost two decades of experience.
Mrs Gibson-Steel, who is married to former Munster and Ireland rugby great Peter Clohessy, said that having trained more than 400 people herself since 2004, setting up a full-time college was an “organic and natural step”.
“It’s a very exciting new project. Certainly, holistic health care is one of the few growth markets in Ireland at the moment,” she said.
“It’s still an unregulated field, so what we hope to do is to train people to a highly professional standard.
“I think for a while there’s been a perception by some people that holistic health care was provided in a back room by people working part time. We want to change that.”
The centre of excellence will teach 27 individual skills across 12 holistic disciplines from a space in Glenstal Abbey, beginning on September 12.
Mrs Gibson-Steel and her team of instructors will provide personalised teaching programmes to 16 students, who can study to earn an all-encompassing diploma in holistic therapies.
Part-time teaching in individual modules is also available.
As part of the new college, students will also avail of a lifetime membership programme, whereby after graduating each trainee will chose a mentor from one of the course instructors, who will then provide guidance and advice in the future.
Mrs Gibson-Steel, who also operates her own private training and treatment centre based in Cappamore, Harmony Holistic Therapies, said that mainstream medicine is starting to appreciate the value of holistic care.
“Parts of the medical profession are starting to realise that the medical model, as it is, is missing a piece.
“I think that holistic health care and energy medicine is that missing piece. It’s celebrated by so many other cultures in the world. It’s not new. Institutions and care professionals are all starting to realise its value.”
As part of the programme, students and course instructors will also conduct numerous outreach initiatives, which bring the benefit of holistic therapy to others, such as people with disabilities and those from disadvantaged areas.
Among the disciplines which will be taught at the centre on a part-time and full-time basis include: Reiki, from beginner to master level; holistic massage; anatomy and physiology; reflexology, Indian head massage; hot stone massage; hopi candle therapy; shirodhara; first aid; health and safety; business and customer care; diet and nutrition; aromatherapy; energy medicine; acupuncture; yoga and osteopathy
The initial intake of 16 students will be expanded in the academic year beginning September 2012, based on demand.
Mrs Gibson-Steel said that a limited number of spaces are still available for this year’s course, and anyone interested in taking part can e-mail email@example.com or phone 061-381947.