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Functional Medicine Health Coaching: Key Benefits and Why You Need It

The field of health coaching is relatively new over the past few decades and is the result of a critical need for more personalized and holistic approaches to healthcare. As chronic diseases continue to rise, there is a growing recognition that traditional healthcare models may not be enough to address these complex health issues. Health coaching provides a more individualized approach to healthcare, empowering patients to take charge of their health and make sustainable lifestyle changes.

Tree showing it's roots
Functional Medicine Focuses On The Roots

Functional medicine, a field of medicine developed in the 1980s, focuses on the root cause of a disease or health issue. It looks beyond the symptoms and aims to understand the imbalance or dysfunction of our body’s systems. This enables an individual to better determine what personalized lifestyle changes can be made to bring their system back into balance and enable the body to heal. As this healing process occurs over time, having support and guidance can be a powerful amplifier of your motivation, dedication, and ability to heal. A health coach, specifically trained in the functional medicine model, can bring a lot of value to your journey toward a healthy and vibrant life.

Personalized Approach Because You’re Unique

Functional medicine health coaching takes a personalized approach to healthcare, recognizing that each person is unique and has individual health needs. The journey that one person is on is influenced by their life experiences and requires an understanding of their family history, their upbringing, the major events in their life, past health challenges current health challenges, and current lifestyle habits. While certain overarching programs can help make significant progress in someone’s well-being journey, it’s critically important to meet someone where they are at in their journey as that will ensure they feel the most support. A health coach then works with clients to clarify a customized healthcare plan tailored to their specific needs, goals, and lifestyle. This individualized approach allows for more targeted and effective care that addresses the unique root causes of health issues. The benefits of a personalized approach to healthcare include improved health outcomes, increased patient satisfaction, and better adherence to treatment plans.

Holistic Care For Your Whole Self

The model of functional medicine & the coach approach is wholly focused on holistic care, recognizing that health is influenced by many factors, including diet, movement, relationships, relaxation, sleep, stress, genetics, and environment – all of which influence your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing daily. Instead of taking ibuprofen to address constant headaches, we explore the potential causes like food sensitivities, stressful experiences, sleep quality, and hydration. Alternatively, when a client is trying to address high blood pressure, instead of medication, we look at dietary habits, movement routines, sources of stress, and family history. Rather than simply treating symptoms, health coaches work with clients to address the underlying causes of health issues so that an individual’s systems can become more in balance and harmonious. When these systems begin to heal and function together, the benefits can be a better overall sense of well-being, increased energy, and improved balance.

Preventative Care Gives You Peace

Kettlebell weight on a gym floor
Prevention Can Carry A Lot Of Weight

While the idiom ‘Better late than never’ is very relatable to many of life’s experiences, our health should be more closely represented by “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. When you can be proactive about your health and take small preventative steps today to avoid future potential health issues, it can create life-changing improvements in your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. A health coach provides a safe space to discuss your vision of a good, healthy, vibrant life. This enables you to create a very clear picture of what is important to you and then take steps to prevent obstacles from showing up – i.e. chronic disease. By identifying early warning signs of chronic diseases, health coaches can help clients make lifestyle changes that can prevent or slow the progression of these diseases. The benefits of preventative care include reduced healthcare costs, improved quality of life, and a lower risk of chronic diseases.

Lasting Lifestyle Change

Our lives are the sum of our actions and habits. When a client creates routines that serve their health for the long term, they realize the potential that exists for energy, resilience, and balance. Health coaches work with clients to develop healthy habits, including improving their diet, getting regular exercise, reducing stress, and improving sleep habits. The key to lasting lifestyle change is consistency and defining how you measure success. Here are a few examples of how some have measured success while working with them:

· Improving their heart rate variability and sleep quality.

· Looking at their emotional state from their journal entries a year prior.

· The number of nights they spend playing with their kids before they go to bed.

· A doctor’s recommendation to reduce their medication potency.

· Tracking how many types of food they eat daily across the color spectrum.

A health coach can enable someone to feel supported during the initial window of time when lifestyle changes are evolving. We help you recognize the positive benefits you are feeling from these changes and leverage this positivity to build momentum. By incorporating healthy habits into their daily life, clients begin to experience many benefits, including improved energy levels, better mood, and a lower risk of chronic diseases.

Client Empowerment

A health coach doesn’t have the answers. They possess a set of skills that enable a client to improve their self-awareness and discover their underlying motivations. In doing so, a client can take control of their health and well-being because they have a clearer, more intrinsic vision of what they are working towards. Health coaches work alongside clients to clarify their health goals and create a SMART plan for achieving those goals. We also hold the space for ongoing support and guidance to ensure a client realizes their potential to achieve the goals that they set. Rather than a client simply being told what to do, they take an active role in their health which leads to increased motivation, improved self-esteem, and greater autonomy over their future. Ultimately, this empowerment enables the client to continue on their journey with the tools and skills they uncovered while working with a health coach. My greatest joy is when a client ends health coaching because they now have the skills to successfully continue traversing their health journey on their own.

Mental Health Support

Health coaches are not trained or licensed to treat mental health issues.

A woman meditating in her home
Grow Your Mind-Body Connection

However, the functional medicine model understands that physical health and mental health are intimately intertwined with an overall sense of well-being. Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression are all common manifestations of an imbalance in our set of systems. All too often, we mistakenly believe that these mental states are just a part of life. A health coach is sensitive to the mind-body connection of these challenges and can work with a client to help them discover lifestyle changes that enable an environment for healing. Oftentimes, with a consistent coach approach, a client can begin to experience improved mood, better sleep, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

A Health Coach Can Help

Functional medicine health coaching offers many benefits for individuals seeking a personalized, holistic, and preventative approach to healthcare. By addressing the root causes of health issues and empowering clients to take control of their health and well-being, health coaching can help individuals achieve their health goals and improve their overall quality of life. Every person’s journey is unique and it’s important to not only understand it but appreciate it – as that journey is what made you who you are today. Imagine what is possible when you have someone trained to support you in your health and well-being journey. Even if you are simply curious or want a safe space to ask questions, I encourage you to set up a time with me here. The first step is always the hardest but can lead to the greatest discoveries.


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