Newfield, Marlton health coaches rise to meet demand

Source: CourierPost Online
Since 2010, wellness coaching has been among the Top 20 fitness trends identified by the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual survey of worldwide fitness trends. Wellness coaches work with clients to achieve their personal health goals, whether it’s reducing stress or adopting healthy eating habits.
It’s the kind of work that feeds Kathy Dickson’s soul.
Since retiring from a career as an industrial engineer, the Newfield resident has worked to nudge her clients toward healthier lifestyles. She counsels people individually or in small groups. She also offers talks on healthy living, and has her sights set on helping corporations guide employees to better health.
“It’s really meaningful, and very powerful, work,” said Dickson, who became interested in health coaching several years ago after leading an employee wellness initiative for her company. Four years ago, she launched her own business, called Vital Body Wellness.
The tidal wave of change brought about by the Affordable Care Act has shifted the health care industry toward prevention, as medical costs rise.
Dickson explains, “You can eat really healthy food, but if you have other areas of your life that are out of balance, you’re never really going to obtain optimal wellness. You can exercise seven days a week, but if you’re eating junk food or if you’re really stressed, you’re not going to have optimal wellness.”
It’s hard for doctors to get that message across to people, explained Debby Schiffer, wellness coordinator for the Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland Counties Municipal Joint Insurance Fund. Dickson will hold a workshop at one of her 61 municipalities. “Wellness is a very personal thing,” said Schiffer, who works with public works employees, police and fire departments, and other municipal workers. “They want someone they can speak to on their level.”
Suzanne Taylor-King of Marlton offers certified holistic life coaching, reiki, and aromatherapy for her clients, who are mostly working mothers. She makes herself available by text for clients throughout the day, offering advice on diet and exercise.

Health coaches “help people be a little more accountable” for improving their overall health.”

After helping clients figure out how to carve out time for their health, she keeps them accountable. She has even dismissed clients who aren’t willing to put in the work. Her clients include patients referred to her by a cardiology practice.
“I can’t force anybody to do anything,” Taylor-King said. “When you’re paying somebody for their opinion, it seems to have more value. You have skin in the game that way.”

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