Health coach and herbalist Denise Worrell of Naturally Bahamian.
By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
Hiring a health coach is, in a lot of people’s minds, only something athletes and celebrities do to ensure they stay fighting fit and/or look for the camera.
But Denise Worrell feels “normal” people can benefit greatly from having a partner along on their journey towards a healthier lifestyle, or as they navigate living with a chronic illness.
As a health coach and herbalist herself, Mrs Worrell says professionals in this field can provide the knowledge, direction and support you need to make challenging changes to your everyday routine.
“A health coach is a supportive mentor who can guide you through behavioural changes, goal-setting, weight loss, food allergies, and much more,” she told Tribune Health.
Health coaching, as it is defined, encourages the individual, not the physician, to establish goals. Self-management and internal motivation are points of focus.
To educate Bahamians on the role of a health coach, Mrs Worrell will host a special online discussion at 6.30pm tonight on the topic.
“During this experience I will be sharing a health coach’s role in your wellness. I will also be discussing the importance of preventative care, holistic health, and how you can benefit from working with a health coach.”
As a child, Mrs Worrell cared for ailing relatives and often accompanied them on trips to medical facilities. She actively participated in their care and often asked the questions of the health care providers that no one else dared ask. This was the beginning of her journey.
“I simultaneously learned about the preparation of traditional herbal remedies that gave relief to those in my care. After some time I became the go-to person in my family. In order to increase my knowledge, I started herbal studies as well as health coaching until I qualified for certifications in each. At the time, my father was ailing and I wanted to provide the best possible care I that I could,” she said.
Health coaches are increasingly in demand to help fill the gaps in traditional medicine. Mrs Worrell said this is how the future of healthcare is slowly being reshaped, with the focus moving from treatment to prevention.
“While conventional medicine specialises in acute illnesses, chronic disease is now noted as being an epidemic today,” she said.
“Health coaches provide holistic care, not just symptomatic care. In this way, we come alongside the medical staff in caring for the whole person,” she said.
Worldwide, for health coaches and the job outlook is bright. The market reached $6 billion in 2017, a 15 percent increase from 2014, and it is now forecast to reach $7.85 billion by 2022, with 121,000 practicing coaches in the US alone.
But not everyone needs a health coach. Ms Worrell recommends those who struggle with goal-setting and understanding the best practices for their life and body to maybe consider seeking out a health coach.
“Prevention is always better than cure. However, both acute and chronic diseases means that people need help. Stroke victims often express confusion about medications and procedures prescribed by doctors, so they absolutely need help, but the pre-diabetic person also needs help to prevent further deterioration to type 2 diabetes. So a health coach is especially important in this case as well. Anytime an individual needs help in accomplishing health goals it is necessary to seek a coach,” she said.
Some health coaches offer client self-management and this can include providing educational resources and helping problem-solve. They can also provide emotional support.
Mrs Worrell is the proprietor of Naturally Bahamian, a local company which provides traditional Bahamian and other culinary products with a modern twist.