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What is Integrative Health Coaching?


I have nearly completed an amazing Professional Training Course through Duke Integrative Medicine that has allowed me to become a Certified Integrated Health Coach. Although I am super passionate and excited about this field of health care, I am finding that so many people have no idea what integrative medicine is, let alone, an integrative health coach. I liken it to 25+ years ago when very few people understood what a Physician Assistant (P.A.) was, and now this profession provides many of our primary care givers in the medical field.

Let's start by just looking at the word "integrative", which is defined as "serving or intending to unify separate things" (Dictionary.com). The very word indicates that there are many parts, that when brought together, make something whole.

When "integrative" is used in conjunction with health, the World Health Organization defines it as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

Integrative health care looks at the person as several parts that make a whole. It acknowledges that physical, mental, social, spiritual, environment, community, and purpose are all intertwined when assessing the whole health of an individual. It looks at what is working, and what needs some concentrated help. Then, it personalizes a plan, using conventional and complementary approaches, to nurture healing, wellness, and long-term maintenance.

Integrative health care acknowledges connective patterns, such as:

  • When our physical environment is off, our rest can be, as well.

  • When our mind-body connection is not in tact, we miss important signs our body is giving us to stay healthy.

  • When our nutrition is off, inflammation and low energy can effect our productivity.

  • When we are not connecting spiritually or in community, our personal development can feel depleted.

  • When our personal or professional development is lacking, that may impact our exercise, sleep, relationships, etc.

  • Just because we are not sick, does not necessarily mean we are well.

We are the sum total of many different parts that make up our whole self.

Everything is woven together.

When one part is broken, neglected or unwell...all other parts are at risk.

And on top of that, we each have a very unique, individual idea of what optimal health looks like for us. But how do we get to that place where the gap between our real life and our optimal vision narrows?

This is where an Integrative Health Coach can empower you! It is our job to partner with you to allow your insights about your health to become action steps, and your action steps to propel you toward your ideal health for yourself.

Integrative Health Coaches are dedicated to helping you to:

  • Gain insight, self awareness and vision

  • Apply practical action steps that integrate with your lifestyle and values

  • Help you to work through obstacles and create back up plans

  • Acknowledge and celebrate your progress

  • Act as accountability and support as you strive toward your goals and experience the growth to thrive in your life!

While studying at Duke Integrative Medicine, our colleagues became our coaches. Part of our training is that we would put ourselves in the client position over and over again so that we would understand the process, the challenges, and the triumphs of working toward our own optimal health. Several of us are still coaching each other, as we now understand the enormous value that it adds to our personal and professional growth. We are passionate about being part of each other's growth and journeys!

Integrative Health Coaches are people who are passionate about serving you, practically equipping you,

and positively encouraging you on your journey to your best, whole and healthy self.

So don't let the term "integrative" confuse or intimidate you....it should excite you! Partnering with someone who sees all aspects of your health as valuable, important and unique is a wonderful experience. May we live to see a future where integrative health is the goal of our entire healthcare system! Until then, seek it out...take your health to the next level by collaborating with someone who will consider all aspects of your health and wellness, and help you with next steps to reach your optimal health goals!

Lisa Hagan  |  lisa@equippedforwellness.com  |  Gilbert, AZ

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