The age of drug-based health care is coming to an end as more and more people gain access to scientific information, evidence-based medical literature, and alternative health care. For decades, people have relied on doctors to check a patient and scribble a prescription for a bottle of pills as a way to ward off disease. While medicines including vaccines will remain an important component of a holistic yet scientific health care approach, people have also embraced another way to live longer and better.
These days, many people especially the elderly and those with existing health conditions seek out professionals who have been certified under a legitimate health coach training program. These professionals show patients a new perspective on how to take care of themselves, not just with prescriptions, but other invaluable inputs such as proper nutrition, rest, exercise, and even a new way of thinking.
But first, it’s important to know about the major health challenges faced by people today. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the top three causes of mortality in the United States today are heart disease, cancer, and accidents (which include car crashes and accidental falls, as well as unintentional drug overdose). The full list includes respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease; cerebrovascular diseases, such as strokes and aneurysm; Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. These illnesses also plague people from other countries in the world.
Common knowledge is that people consult doctors to get a prescription or visit the hospital to get a procedure done. In most cases, these methods of health care are necessary. But more and more people also realize the benefit of complementing Western medicine with other alternative forms of healing which include receiving coaching from a trained professional.
So what does a health professional such as a coach do?
A health coach is, among other things, an educator. He or she helps a client to understand that many illnesses and chronic diseases are connected to one’s diet, nutrition, and overall lifestyle which covers physical exercise, means of leisure and relaxation, as well as one’s daily work or profession. This connection between lifestyle, diet, and disease has been documented and reported by leading authorities including no less than the World Health Organization (WHO).
Positive Psychology & Motivation
A health coach is also known for using Positive Psychology, a field of study that “focuses on the character strengths and behaviors that allow individuals to build a life of meaning and purpose.” By helping clients or patience to identify their life goals and purpose, they also find a more fulfilling reason to pursue a healthier lifestyle.
The coach anchors the client or patient on their individual strengths and attributes that can be used to remove unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and actions. The coaching sessions pave the way for clear, actionable plans that lead to desired results in one’s sense of worth, happiness, and overall health. Unlike a Western medical approach that seeks to identify what is ‘wrong’ in a patient’s body that can be addressed through medication, positive psychology highlights what is ‘right and good’ in a person so that these can be used as platforms to attain mental, emotional, and physical health.
Motivation, on the other hand, is used to increase a person’s excitement and energy often by highlighting the benefits of doing something, in this case, living a healthier lifestyle. In technical terms, the coach helps a client to recognize the reasons for his or her ambivalence, later leading to a development of the client’s desire to change.
Safe, Alternative Approaches to Health Care
Many coaches also espouse nutrition, meditation, and exercise as the trinity of alternative health practice. Quoting Hippocrates, regarded as the Father of Medicine, most coaches encourage patients and clients to let “food be their medicine, and medicine become their food.”
Meditation is also highly recommended as a tool to teach an individual the practice of “centering,” which entails having a sense of clarity, balance, and calm.
Of course, exercise is also advised as a way to strengthen the muscles, increase the lung’s capacity to take in and process oxygen, and promote good blood circulation. Exercise itself contributes to the strengthening of the immune system, especially if done outdoors where one can take in clean, fresh air and a moderate amount of sunlight.
Why Should You Trust the Coach?
But why do patients or clients trust their health coach? These professionals undergo rigid education and training. Throughout their career, they pass through a certification process and pursue other avenues to enhance their knowledge and skills in health coaching.
They also develop listening and empathy skills together with a high level of ability to assess or analyze a person’s fears and motivations, interests, and drives, including other factors or experiences that contribute to that person’s state of health.
Indeed, while medicines will continue to be used especially for serious and life-threatening situations, health coaching as a practice will also rise in terms of acceptability. This profession is grounded on solid science and has documented results as proof of its effectiveness.
It is not enough to use chemical-based medicines to treat illness. More than ever, it is now recognized that providing ways to heal the mental, emotional, spiritual dimensions of a person is as important as treating ailments of the body. Health coaches believe that an integrated way of helping people regain their health is the best way to live a happy and vibrant life.