Approaching Change with Physical Aspects of Holism
Being an Certified Holistic Life Coach means that the coach works with their client into all parts of their lives. This is what a “holistic lifestyle” means. Once the coach has a deeper understanding of the client, they begin the process of Mapping. We say the term mapping because there can be several key areas to coach with even just a single client. This leaves coaches some options but it also can reveal some limitations.
Here is a list of ways you can include holism in your daily routine.
Let’s say that you have a client who has come to you and you’ve both decided that you feel comfortable transitioning into a coach/client relationship, with an emphasis on improving some aspects of the client’s “whole” life. We will call this client Client A. This client, who already trains religiously at her gym, is not able to beat back the physical effects of stress she feels from her job. After assessing your client completely, you determine that she has a few goals to reach. You have one “meta goal” at the end of it all. This would be akin to your client’s best vision. Where do the goals come from? They are made with the client, after detailed evaluation of the client’s assessment(s).
Furthermore, some of Client A’s goals require that she address some stressors in her home. You’re not an efficiency expert but you know another coach who is. You would then be able to refer this client to the coach providing the services needed . In this way, the holistic nature of your coaching means that you manage, moderate or administer it all for the client.
Since Client A also has expressed some boredom with her Physical Activity (PA) plan, you dig a little deeper for answers
that clarify your intuitions regarding what you hear from your client. The very questions – and answers – are part of rapport building and is also something driven by the client; it requires that the CHLC pull out and fish for the clients true self and their true thoughts.
It also requires the coach to silence their own agenda and listen actively to the client during the critical initial conversations.
Since thoughts shape actions, we can use this flow to map our coaching plans, infused with client outcomes, to make a solid strategy of getting our client’s whole life to be more holistic . This is part of a coaching model. A basic coaching model is listed below, but it is a fluid process. For client A, it means the coach may need to rely on his or her resources to help a client.
But another aspect of this process also has a direct connection to the coach. While seeing the diverse needs of clients – and already knowing that no single coach could possible coach all aspects of holistic living, a gap is revealed in the coaching skills, knowledge and thus, abilities. In this way it should be used as a call to action, whereby the coach acknowledges that they themselves have goals as a coach and this may include mastering new strategies to help clients holistically. This perspective also helps coaches understand the need to continue learning in our field and fulfill Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s) required in coach training.
What type of Holistic Coaching is Best for Your Client?
There are many different options and expressions for the ways holism is coached. Because we evaluate the whole person, we need some framing to keep things contained somewhat – or we risk diluting our coaching for too many clients in too many ways. For example, if a yoga instructor were to meet with a client who has mobility issues – this client cannot do yoga. We don’t invent a way to be in order to hep someone. We are either trained professionally for it or we do not proceed with something outside of our mastery. A massage therapist will have better coach/ client relationships if they are trained to only serve their client with massage. The moment this type of coach steps into helping a client change behaviors is the time as which the coach had better make sure they were prepared to not offer a watered down version of that side of the coach/client relationship. Getting to the point, stick with what you know best. This is information you know about yourself from doing honest evaluation and reflection of your Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA’s).
Touch Therapy Strategies for Holistic Coaches
The first area we will focus on is healing through the simple process of touch. This type of human interaction has a very long and involved history.
Touch is something that we are all born with – the ability to both give and receive. It is one of the first sensations we feel upon our arrival into the world, and is therefore one of the most important in terms of its ability to allow us to feel the safety and security of loving relationships in our lives. If this sensation of love and security is allowed to thrive with nurturing parents as providers, we set a foundation and begin to learn more about how to both give and receive love. Touch should not be underestimated because it permeates into all aspects of life. From the way we shake someone’s hand to the classic hug, we are defined by how we touch or how we receive it.
There are social and cultural norms for touching, though. Reflect for a moment about how touch is regarded in different parts of the world, within different cultures – where there are either implied or clear rules about the human touch. We learn the difference between those times when touching is appropriate or when it is not warranted. We become aware of different types of touching and then deter- mine if we feel that the sensation of being in contact with another is a positive or negative experience. In terms of its ability to heal or promote healthy survival, touch plays an important role in how our instincts develop or evolve. This is not something that we are always conscious of, but nonetheless, become part of our hard wiring. This is seen in our ability to use touch for healing or for survival. When we are able to extend a helping hand (touch) to another person in pain or one who is suffering, we are able to provide a sensation of comfort and soothing for the soul. Being able to use touch for injured or sick persons has become a human characteristic that we tend to take for granted.
In practical terms, one would need to look no further than Bodyways or Bodywork for the power of touch. A holistic approach seeks neither relaxation nor remediation as its goal, but both tend to be positive side effects. “Curing” is not the intention. Instead, the objective is a higher level of organization, structure, function, and well-being.
Holistic practitioners achieve this through balancing a particular body system – energy, neuromuscular, or myofascial, for example. A practitioner who coaches clients holistically might use Bodyways or Bodywork to do work directly on the connective tissue system of the body – be it to improve function, structure and/or posture for the client. This, in turn, results in better overall functioning and even psychological transformation and disease prevention. In a holistic way of seeing things, every part of our body and every aspect of our being is connect- ed and affects every other part! Nothing in our bodies acts independently or separately. If we alter just one dimension of a system (as in our bodies), there will be a subsequent influence on all of the others. What changes your structure changes your function, and also changes your mind and heart.
Reflexology. What’s that?
It isn’t surprising that many people have dismissed reflexology. After all, there just isn’t any obvious reason why a simple massage of the feet would have any kind of important therapeutic benefit. Holistic life coaches can network and collaborate with these therapists.
Sure, we can all agree that it might be pleasurable – even very relaxing – but, that is about it, right? There is absolutely no precedent for the basic premise of reflexology that areas of the feet correspond to other parts of the body, and, that stimulation of these areas of the feet therapeutically relaxes the corresponding parts of the body!
And yet, advocates of reflexology have made far-reaching claims about reflexology. Some recipients have reported their arthritis completely cured, been cured of their headaches, their back aches cleared up, asthma symptoms relieved, sinuses cleared, have been freed of their PMS., ovarian cysts disappeared, stomach ulcer healed – and on and on.
In the December 1993 issue of the prestigious American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology a research paper presented by William Flocco and Dr. Terry Oleson showed reflexology reduced women’s PMS symptoms by 46 percent for the eight weeks of weekly treatments. This was sustained with 42 percent reduction of symptoms for eight weeks after treatment. It was not as effective as drug treatments. However, reflexology had none of the side effects of drugs. The conclusion was that reflexology should be considered an effective therapy for PMS. This is the first scientifically accepted reflexology research study conducted in North America.
Reflexology Research – A Meta-Global View
Scientific research of reflexology has been conducted in other parts of the world. When compared to North America, there has been a much more receptive attitude to reflexology in Denmark, with the result being that there are approximately 3500 practicing Danish reflexologists versus 3000 practicing medical doctors. Some of these reflexologists are working in medical settings including hospitals, and large corporations employ reflexologists for their employees. It is apparent that these corporations find the resultant reduced sick leave and improved productivity of their employees’ worthy of employing reflexologists.
Simultaneously, three Danish research studies report positive results from reflexology treatment for persons suffering from poor blood circulation, kidney stones and constipation. Another study indicates that reflexology was beneficial for women in a number of different circumstances during childbirth.
Research conducted in Australia evaluated reflexology’s benefit for patients suffering from arthritic pain, unexplained internal pain and tension headaches. The study reported positive results. Similarly, in Switzerland, a research study evaluated the benefits of reflexology for persons with terminal cancer, all of whom were suffering from pain. The results showed that reflexology not only relieved their pain, but also added quality to the patient’s life.
In summation, from around the world, scientific research has shown that reflexology is an effective therapy for a diverse range of health conditions: everything from PMS to kidney stones and even chronic pain. But it’s also been indicated as useful for persons with terminal cancer, and, diabetes mellitus type II. Maybe it is time to take a second look at reflexology and all the claims that have been made.
It appears that reflexology might be the difference between requiring drugs/surgery, and helping your body to heal itself. In a preventive sense, it’s the difference between getting sick and staying healthy. Reflexology therapeutically reduces stress and tension throughout the whole body. Blood and lymph circulation improves, nerve supply to the cells is improved, and the release of toxins from the body is increased. These physiological benefits facilitate improvement in the body’s assimilation of nutrients, elimination of wastes, and the functions of the immune system. Reflexology is also a very effective complement to other natural health therapies. For example, it can facilitate more effective chiropractic adjustments that hold for longer. Reflexology complements massage and other physical therapies by reducing stress and tension in the internal glands and organs of the body, and, by relieving stress from parts of the body that are too painful to be directly worked on: i.e. whiplash. Reflexology complements nutritional and herbal therapies and colon therapy by facilitating more efficient assimilation and elimination in the digestive system. It would be extremely useful for any CHLC to use reflexology due to its effectiveness as a form of therapeutic touch.
The Art of Movement as an Aspect of Holistic Coaching
Holism is directly tied to the vital role a healthy mind has on nurturing a peaceful mind in health. Holism also embraces the energy of a spiritual self that lives, breathes and has emotion. Movement is activity and is fundamental to all life forms. When searching for a complement to the title holism, movement comes to mind, naturally. It defines how life sustains, grows, and changes. In healing, movement produces the reactions that vitalize our cells, nourish our tissues, and harmonize our organs. Our mind has movement of thoughts, whereas our spirit has movement in feelings. Ideal health strives for the equilibrium reached when all levels optimize and balance each other, and seeks a steady-state movement. Many holistic practitioners root their service in The Movement Arts; we recommend exploring the different Eastern and Western modalities of massage therapy to get started.
The Holism Movement has been most effective and noticeable when it is integrated as an arrangement for clients ; this requires a competent coach and usually mandates that there is a focal point for each aspect or dimension of your coaching strategies. These arrangements can take a session or two, or weeks of interaction, to resolve. Some practitioners and CHLC’s have clients who are prescribed Bodyways; this can be a referred client or one you have the skills to work with. For some clients, the physical coaching actions or movements can be a lifelong relationship for our client to follow and build upon. A Certified Mind Body Fitness Coach would be ideal for this dimension of holism.
To understand movement, we can especially relate to the words of Moshe Feldenkrais, who encouraged us to look at movement very uniquely. Feldenkrais broke down the complex task of evaluating movement to be the following;
“Movement occurs only when the nervous system sends the impulses that contract the necessary muscles in the right patterns or assemblies and in the right sequences to carry out the movements we want and need – to go forward or hold back – we bend or flex certain muscle and extend or straighten others. Other muscles with stabilize us. In fact, your muscles work in pairs, as agonists and antagonists. However, if one side of this equation over contracts, the opposing side has to overstretch. The result is postural imbalance, weakness, limited range of motion and quality of movement. Sometime this is loosely defined as overcompensation in some clients.”
With this type of awareness required, where does the CHLC start? Yes, we ultimately strive to coach clients toward their holistic health and nutrition goals, but we have to have a reference point to start from. This is why we do as complete of an assessment as possible for each client. We need to be able to understand our clients well enough to do many positive things with them as their coach. Since movement is a basic need for all humans, our clients will often have movement based concerns and sometimes your coaching strategy will require that your client’s awareness is reprogrammed, relearned or deconstructed to simple fundamentals in order to begin facilitating holistic health changes or transformations. Regardless, there are fields of specialization that can significantly bolster your coaching interventions and how you do business.
Bodyways: Using Bodywork as a Complement to Holistic Coaching
Bodyways (sometimes called Bodyworks or similar) can be one way for your client to benefit from an often-overlooked method to improve their holistic health. By definition, Bodyways are used in alternative medicine to describe any therapeutic or personal development technique that involves working with the human body in a form involving manipulative therapy, breath work, or energy medicine. In addition bodywork techniques aim to assess or improve posture, promote awareness of the “mind-body connection”, or to manipulate a putative “energy field” surrounding the human body and affecting health. For some, suffering is a great motivator. Many people first turn to Bodyways because the pain of an injury or a chronic condition forces them to seek alternatives. This can mean interventions without orthodox treatment – or surgery and drugs – to get relief. In some cases, the result has simply made them dependent on medications. Practitioners report that frequently clients come to their doorsteps when they have nowhere else to go. In desperation and in exasperation, they finally try a Bodyway to deal with their arthritis, backaches, repetitive stress syndrome, or other occupational strains, to help heal old football or dance injuries, stress, or for recovery after childbirth or an automobile accident. While a client may come to use Bodyways as it being their last resort, it’s also the first step toward a new awareness of being in their body and thus a new relationship to their lives.
Recommending the appropriate Bodyway can be a challenge for a holistic life coach. Some coaches will know several different types of Bodyways, such as various types of massage, but the Bodyway(s) you choose for your client will depend on their specific needs. In other cases, they simply build a team of experts to refer back and forth. Other experts may include an acupuncturist or chiropractor. A Mind Body Fitness Coach is qualified to direct this part of holistic healthcare extremely well, due to the knowledge they have related to the many Bodyways and the details that lend them- selves perfectly for deciphering a clients’ needs.
Many of us, including our clients, have been conditioned to look to authorities and experts rather than to learn for ourselves. The more our client can develop an accurate picture of their body – from within and from without – and the more easily you can coach them to feel different parts, the more you will help them to know what they need in order to take care of themselves. In some cases, this will also help your client learn what they should share with any health care practitioners who are collaborating in their healing.
Other client motivators for turning to Bodyways comes from a more positive frame of mind, and a natural drive toward healthy or optimal functioning. Your client will want to feel good yet they will sense that they can expand beyond their present limitations. Or maybe your client will want to gain greater flexibility or to improve their posture. It doesn’t matter what the client’s reason is for needing to work with Body- ways. Whether they want to just feel better or function better in order to live better, persuading your client to use Bodyways will open a whole new world for them and may bring them not only the relief they long for but also more self-knowledge and power that they may not be aware they had. That’s what fulfilling your potential as a coach is really all about.
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