Should You Hire a Holistic Health Practitioner?

Holistic Health Practitioners or Holistic Health Coaches are garnering an increasing amount of attention. In a society where physicians often must limit the time they spend with their patients, where there exists an ever-stronger connection between our diets and our health.

There are too few medical professionals who have adequate education in nutrition (specifically whole foods nutrition); health coaches fill in the gaps between what the healthcare industry traditionally provides and what many people need.

Consider a recent HumanKind radio documentary, “The Search for Well-being: Treating the Whole Person in the New Healthcare Era.” In a discussion with medical students about their lack of education in nutrition, and the limited time they will spend with their patients, the narrator highlights the emerging role of health coaches:

“Health Coaching is one of the promising new ideas to surface in the field of integrative medicine. It recognizes that unhealthy lifestyle behaviors often resist change. Overcoming the blockage around choosing better foods to eat, for example, often takes time and personal support.”

Dr. Mark Hyman, renowned physician and best-selling author, would agree. “I don’t see how we can have a future of healthcare without Health Coaches.” Or, Tim Ryan, an Ohio 13th District Congressman letter dated December 22, 2014 said, “I wish to take this opportunity to commend the work of Health and Wellness Coaches and wish this vibrant and valuable new profession continued growth and achievement… Health and Wellness Coaches work with individuals and shift them from being passive recipients of expensive health care interventions to adopting a responsible, self-directed, proactive stance that facilitates lasting positive change.”

Health Coaches come from many educational backgrounds. Although some are medical professionals, most are not registered dieticians or nutritionists and do not hold professional medical degrees. Certification programs teach an expansive variety of dietary theories, as well as coaching methodology and technique. Many health coaches go on to receive further education in their specialized fields. I continued into the field of transformational coaching as a Certified Master Coach. I found numerous times that clients wanted more in-depth conversation about why their habit patterns continued even when they had intentions to change their behaviors. I developed a mutually agreed upon system for the clients to reduce stress so that the “overwhelm” is very manageable in their busy and hectic lives.