Health has become a sort of buzz word in the last few years. We’re more aware now than we ever have been of what we are putting in our bodies, how we are treating our bodies and minds, and what preventative measures we can take to increase our general longevity.

I want to share my thoughts on the importance of health coaches in the health industry. I think that many people believe that visiting their typical health care professionals is sufficient. While it is for some people, others may want to dig even deeper into their health to determine causation and develop strong habits that last a lifetime. Health coaches act as a bridge, build and maintain a client-coach relationship, treat root causes, and almost most importantly, empower clients to set goals for their own health and to ask more questions!

I don’t want this article to be confused by anyone – I 100% believe that traditional western medicine is necessary for all people and that you can’t lead a healthy life without visiting your primary care doctor, as well as visiting with a nutritionist and therapist as needed. These medical providers will certainly provide a level of care that is on a different and incomparable level to a health coach. These professionals studied years and years to be experts in their fields via science and controlled experiments, and most you’ve visited probably have an additional several years of experience under their belts.

Integrative health coaches fill an essential void in which the traditional US health care system is currently missing. What we generally do is provide the missing link between diagnoses and prescriptions, and the vital root cause treatment and habit creation for the prevention of future disease and maintained wellbeing.

What we are taught to do, as health coaches, is to be the bridge that connects each discipline to one another. After all, each is interconnected in some way. If you are experiencing high blood pressure, it likely has something to do with your diet so that you may consult with a nutritionist. High stress may also contribute to ongoing inflammation in your body, so maybe you will see a therapist to talk through the stressful situations you are currently experiencing.

You may be seeing your doctor, therapist, nutritionist, etc. as needed, though. Most people see their doctor for a physical, and maybe an additional visit or two for any random health concerns that come up through the year. Health coaches maintain an ongoing, scheduled, and reoccurring relationship with their clients. For example, as you can see on my program’s page, I will meet with my clients twice a month for six months, or longer if a client decides to continue with another 6-month program. By meeting continually, we can reinforce changes and create new habits, create a mindset shift, and develop a significant client-coach relationship.

While a medical professional may share a diagnosis with you and provide you a prescription to treat it, health coaches will dig into your history and experience to determine root causes. Typically, you will visit your doctor with a new or ongoing health concern. Your doctor analyzes your symptoms, provides a diagnosis, and a prescription if necessary. Here is where the health coach comes in. Your health coach will review your symptoms, IN ADDITION TO your daily habits, diet, and general lifestyle. Your coach may find that you are experiencing inflammation due to something like stress, a food sensitivity, a lack of sleep, etc. You will then work with your coach to develop a plan to pinpoint the root cause and find ways to alleviate it. The result could be anything from a change in diet to additional self-care or the addition of a mindfulness/spiritual practice to your day.

Health coaches help empower their clients and give them the tools to take control of their health. By reviewing lifestyle, clients can make connections and changes they never thought possible before. Some people don’t even know they aren’t “healthy.” The feeling they’ve had has become the new normal, and they may not know that there is a change that needs to be made. Health coaches can partner with the client to find these realizations, continue to ask questions to all their health providers, and make real changes in their lives to reach their healthiest selves.

As I mentioned before, health coaches are playing a bigger and more significant role in the health care industry. We are recognized by even the most significant health care models in the world. This link (http://iahcnow.org/advocacy/) provides some further information on how health coaches are recognized by acclaimed health institutions, Congress, as well as a health coach’s right to practice.