Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Ask a Health Coach with Hope Knosher: Can You Help with a Chronic Illness?

Mar 01, 2024 06:00AM ● By Hope Knosher

Can a health and wellness coach help improve the health of someone with a chronic illness?

A health and wellness coach can play a significant role in helping improve the health of someone with a chronic illness. While they can’t replace medical professionals, coaches complement a person’s healthcare journey by focusing on lifestyle factors, behavior change and overall well-being to increase their capacity to self-manage chronic conditions.

Through partnering with the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF), I have worked with MS patients who are dealing with serious chronic illnesses, helping them develop coping skills and stress reduction techniques and empowering them to better manage their health and well-being. 

I call it “putting tools into their toolbox.” These are tools they can pull out any time they need to destress, find peace, and invite their bodies to release, relax and heal. It is so crucial for those living with chronic illness to have ways to take back some measure of control over their health. 

Monya, a participant in MSF’s Multiple Sclerosis program, put it this way, “We learned to rise above our disability and learn restorative techniques to increase mobility through gentle movements and to achieve mental awareness on how to direct our own mind’s ability to heal. In just three sessions, I’ve been able to unclamp my “claw” toes, which helps me to walk better. I look forward to continuing to participate and unlock even more healing to the damage that has been done.”

Here are some of the ways that a health and wellness coach can help improve the health of those with chronic illnesses:

Lifestyle Modification

Tailored Plans: Coaches help people create personalized wellness plans that consider the unique needs and challenges associated with their chronic condition.

Nutrition and Exercise: Information and guidance on nutrition and exercise, tailored to the person’s health status, are provided to help manage symptoms and improve overall health.

Behavioral Change

Identifying Barriers: Coaches help individuals identify their barriers to positive health behaviors and collaborate with them to develop strategies for overcoming those challenges.

Goal Setting: Through collaborative goal setting, coaches help individuals set realistic and achievable health goals, fostering motivation and commitment to change.

Motivation and Accountability

Motivational Support: A health coach is a person’s biggest fan; they are there to provide ongoing motivation, encouragement and emotional support so their clients stay engaged in their health improvement journey. 

Accountability: Regular check-ins and progress assessments create accountability, reinforcing commitment to healthy habits.

Stress Management

Stress Reduction Techniques: Coaches introduce stress management techniques, such as mindfulness and relaxation exercises, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with chronic conditions that may be exacerbated by stress.

Collaboration with the Healthcare Team

Communication with Healthcare Providers: Coaches collaborate with healthcare providers to ensure a holistic approach to health improvement. This includes sharing information about the individual’s progress and aligning wellness plans with medical recommendations.

Education and Empowerment

Health Education: Coaches help educate their clients on the impact of lifestyle choices on their chronic conditions, empowering them to make informed decisions.

Self-Efficacy: Through coaching, individuals develop a sense of self-efficacy, gaining confidence in their ability to manage their health and make sustainable lifestyle changes.

Holistic Approach

Addressing Multiple Dimensions: Coaches take a holistic approach, considering various aspects of well-being, including sleep, social connections and mental health, all of which can influence the health of those with a chronic illness.

Regular Assessments and Adjustments

Monitoring Progress: Coaches regularly assess progress, adjusting the individual’s wellness plan based on changes in health status, goals or circumstances.

Flexibility: Coaches adapt their approach as needed, recognizing that individuals with a chronic illness can experience fluctuations in health.

Long-Term Lifestyle Changes

Building Sustainable Habits: Coaches focus on developing long-term sustainable habits, promoting lasting lifestyle changes that contribute to ongoing health improvement.

Support for Self-Management

Empowering Self-Management: Coaches empower individuals to actively participate in their own health management and teach them self-monitoring and decision-making skills.

Crisis Planning: Coaches help individuals develop crisis plans and strategies for handling setbacks, fostering resilience, and maintaining progress.

Chronic conditions negatively impact the quality of life for those dealing with them. Health coaching is an intervention that can help those with chronic conditions adopt health-supportive behaviors to improve their quality of life and health.

The health coach’s focus on behavior change and lifestyle factors complements medical interventions and provides a comprehensive approach to managing chronic conditions and enhancing one’s overall quality of life. Their collaborative approach helps people manage their symptoms and supports their overall health and well-being. ❧
Based in Atlanta, Hope Knosher is the founder of Healthy Living with Hope, which offers health coaching, yoga classes and retreats. She is a national board-certified health and wellness coach, a certified yoga therapist and a certified E-RYT 500 yoga teacher. Contact her at 770-789-7782. 
Mailing List

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

* indicates required