What is Holistic Medicine and Coaching?
If you’ve ever had an interest in holism, you have probably heard the expression “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” which is a great way to summarize holism, but what does that mean to you as a coach, or more importantly, what does this mean to your client?
Principles of Holism
The basic principles of holism are not new, having been around at least since the time of Hippocrates in the West, 2500 years ago, and even earlier in the Eastern healing traditions of Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. As you might suspect, the healers and physicians who practiced the art and science of holistic medicine all treated the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.
This common-sense holistic focus has been largely ignored by most physicians during the past few hundred years. This has led to our current conventional system of disease care, which for all of its miraculous discoveries and highly effective treatments of acute and life-threatening illnesses and injuries, has become increasingly mechanistic and overly focused on the treatment of symptoms. As a result, the factors contributing to causing disease have not been adequately addressed, while more than 100 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic illness.
Treatments that focus on the whole person have shifted to become one of fixing the “broken parts”. This approach can work well for mitigating or eliminating symptoms but has resulted in our inability to prevent, cure or heal diseases.
The Problem With Our Modern Health Care System
Instead of meeting the needs of our diseased population, we have created an overburdened health care system that cost the USA more than $2.4 trillion in 2009 alone.
The United States, in particular, is seeing the consequences of high health care costs with health care spending increased 3.9 percent to reach $3.5 trillion, or $10,739 per person in 2017, continuing a trend that leaves us little doubt that we will always have a possible glut of clients who need valuable coaching from a Certified Holistic Life Coach.
The increasing awareness of the general public about alternative methods of care shows where the state of health and holistic wellness is, relative to our times. According to the most recent surveys, public frustration with physicians’ inability to prevent or eliminate their suffering (or to save their lives) from a variety of ailments – from cancer, AIDS, and heart disease, to sinusitis, arthritis, and back pain – has led more than two-thirds of our population to seek alternative medical treatment, for which they spent $27 billion in one year alone. Most of this expense was paid for out-of-pocket since the majority of these treatments are not covered by health insurance.
The Birth of “Holistic Medicine”
This powerful demonstration of interest in alternatives has helped to create the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, with its current research budget of $150 million. It has also spawned new terminology as we search for the best word to describe the new medicines we seek.
Beginning with alternatives, we progressed to complementary, and now integrative medicine seems to be the most popular term used. But the term that best describes this rapidly expanding field that extends beyond the scope of drugs and surgery is holistic medicine. This art and science of healing combine both conventional and complementary therapies to prevent and treat disease – but its primary objective is to help create the experience of optimal, or holistic health.
Practicing Holistic Medicine
Most physicians have been highly successful in the academic arena, but to practice holistic medicine, one must focus on expanding their heart’s capacity to exceed that of the intellect. This is where an HLC can be part of the complementary relationships seen in holism – by directly working with medical practitioners to develop strategies to coach people into optimal holistic health. Holistic medicine and Holistic Life Coaches, engaged in the business of caring, typically guide their clients in a process of healing to include nurturing themselves physically, environmentally, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.
Today’s consumer (your client) wants alternatives to their health maintenance plan and also wants to be treated as a whole person, not just a subject with a disease. We are so much more than blood, chemistry, bones and cellular tissue. We are beings of energy and spirit as well. We are complex, multi-systemic beings, and the symptoms of illness have meaning only within this larger context, not in isolation. The primary differences of Holistic Life Coaching are significant, in that it is multidimensional, and is characterized by the coach who is required to focus on all of the aspects of the client’s life.
Why Holistic Coaching?
In general, coaching is about getting the very best out of someone and enabling them to make decisions that will improve their life. Coaches are hired and used for very many different reasons, and your ability to influence your clients is powerful. This could include concerns at work, or to improve relationships with family and partners; to learn parenting skills that benefit both the child and parent or to gain a spiritual meaning to life, or a desire to “get things sorted out”.
As a profession, coaching is growing and is becoming widely acknowledged, but this is also positively reinforced over time because more and more people understand the effectiveness of good, effective coaching. But again, coaching is a relatively new and different profession – different from psychology, counseling, or therapy. The big difference between coaching and these professions is that coaching doesn’t claim to have the answers. A coach’s job is not to go over old ground, be past-orientated, or to force-feed information, but to work with clients to help them find the answers themselves.
Also, when a person experiences being coached, their motivation comes from working with a coach who is him/herself an upbeat, positive role model. In this way coaching is a unique way of developing people. Coaches agree that helping clients to reach their full potential through this approach produces great satisfaction. Whatever the reasons for people deciding to work with coaches, whatever the type of coaching given, and whatever results clients seek from coaching, a common feature in all coaching relationships is that coaching is a two-way process.
This two-way partnership is the main attraction for people toward the coaching process. Both coach and client benefit. Personal development for the coach is a huge aspect of learning coaching – and all coaches find that they themselves must grow, before starting to help others to do the same. A distinguished and competent coach finds out new things about themselves and is on a continuous learning journey. Becoming a coach means a lifelong quest for personal excellence.
For many, this quest is the motivation to become a coach in the first place. Helping clients discover where they want to go and then helping them to get there is now a realistic methodology, which is fueling the increasing popularity of professional coaching.
Good coaches are never motivated entirely by money. The very nature of coaching means that it’s a profession that is centered on ‘making a difference’ and helping people. Focusing mainly on making money generally leads to a lack of concern for the client. Not surprisingly, this results in the client exiting the relationship. Coaches who enter the profession mainly for financial gain leave coaching quickly, which helps to maintain the integrity of the coaching professional reputation. With this in mind, more coaches find that offering holistic life coaching is a means of enhancing current coaching services already offered by a working coach
How You Can Help
Become a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Holistic health and well-being are essential to overall life success. Now you can earn a credential and gain the skills to help your clients achieve this success.
If you focus your work in the “holistic” areas of health, fitness and wellness, the Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach course is your next step. Without this knowledge and certification, you won’t have everything you need to help all your clients.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.