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 Pilates instructor were to meet with a client who has mobility issues – this client cannot do Pilates.
We can not just pull a skill out of thin air, meaning that we may not always be able to help someone. We may lack professional training in some areas but we do not proceed with coaching outside of our mastery.
A massage therapist would have a coach and client relationships to only serve their client with a massage. The moment this type of coach steps into helping a client change behaviors is the time at which the coach had better make sure they were prepared to offer more than a watered-down version of their basic coaching skills. 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.
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 determine 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 by 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 connected 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 one’s 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.
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 backaches 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 a 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.
The Art of Movement
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 an 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 a 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 Certified Holistic Life Coach’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 in time.”
To carry out the movements we want and need – to go forward or hold back – we bend or flex certain muscles and extend or straighten others. Other muscles will stabilize us. In fact, our 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 a postural imbalance, weakness, limited range of motion and quality of movement. Sometimes 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 goals, but we have to have a reference point to start from.
This is why we do as complete 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 (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 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. 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 themselves 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 Bodyways.
Whether they want just to 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
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 want effective training, so you can provide coaching for a healthy mind and body, the Mind-Body Fitness Coach program is for you. You’ll gain a broad knowledge of mind-body exercises and fitness strategies and methods.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.