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What Does an Integrative Health Coach Do?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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An integrative health coach works with individuals to help them achieve healthy lifestyles by reaching short and long term goals. The coach often encourages clients to see the different ways in which each aspect of their lives relates to one another, and can affect their physical health. The goal of a health coach is to improve the overall quality of living for their clients, and reduce or eliminate their need for frequent visits to the doctor or to the hospital.

Clients may meet with their integrative health coach frequently during early sessions as the two participants get to know one another and form a partnership. Coaches may ask clients to share with them their personal goals in areas related to fitness, personal emotional development, and career opportunities. The health coach can then use these answers to help their clients structure attainable goals and identify those things in their lives which may be preventing them from reaching them.

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An integrative health coach tends to operate from the principle that every aspect of an individual's life works together. A client may seek the advice of a health coach to help him attain fitness goals, like exercising daily and eating well. The health coach may determine, through a series of sessions, that the client is held back from attaining his goals by emotional depression, or being part of a negative or toxic relationship. The health coach can help the client connect each separate avenue of his life, from work to personal relationships, to discover those things which hold him back from the active and healthy lifestyle he desires.

This type of coach is often employed by a hospital, or may receive many referrals from health care physicians. The role of the integrative health coach is part of an overall model often referred to as integrative health care. This model seeks to address the overall health and lifestyle of a patient, instead of merely treating the physical malady which brought them to the hospital or doctor in the first place. Patients with chronic conditions, like cancer, severe arthritis, and heart disease are often recommended for this type of coaching. Though not all chronic ailments can be cured completely by lifestyle changes, many of their negative side effects can be lessened or eliminated by making healthier choices.

A patient seeking treatment for diabetes in the integrative health care model may be an excellent candidate for referral to an integrative health coach, for example. This patient will typically require insulin injections, as well as regular check-ups with a health care professional to monitor blood sugar levels and healthy circulation throughout the body. Obesity, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and genetic predisposition are all factors that contribute to the onset and continuation of diabetes. A health coach can help the diabetic patient outside of the doctor's office or the hospital to learn new foods and recipes that decrease his weight and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The coach can also recommend exercises the boost circulation, reduce weight, and lower a patient's chance of experiencing heart disease or circulation-related amputation later in life.

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