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The Power of Health Counseling

July 2, 2008

Many people ask what it’s like to work with a Health Counselor. Here are a couple recent stories.

Karla did an initial Health History with a man experiencing a serious health concern: dry mouth syndrome. This incurable disease made speaking challenging and unpleasant. He had seen many doctors but alas, no one could help.

Karla asked the high mileage question “What would you do if I could clear this up for you?” Being a very successful developer, he replied, “I’d give you $100,000.”

They struck a deal and Karla soon recommended he drink more water, after all they live in the desert of Arizona. His symptoms soon disappeared and she requested he donate the money to educate children about healthy foods.

Last month, I spoke with a successful IT professional suffering from cluster headaches. Doctors were unable to help him. Pain killers were no longer effective. Frequency and intensity of the headaches worsened. Nobody could explain the cause to him. The pain was too much, and he considered suicide even though he had a young family.

I asked him, “What do you think is the cause?” He replied, “I don’t know.” I asked him, “If you were to take a guess, what would you speculate might be the cause?”

We began to piece together his story. He had a traumatic childhood in a war-torn country and his parents went through a painful divorce when he was very young. Since coming to America, he worked non-stop staring at computer screens, working overtime and weekends to provide for his family.

“Well,” I said, “Sounds like that could be the cause. If I had those pressures, I’d probably have cluster headaches too.”

I simply recommended neck and shoulder massage, reduce work hours, more fruits and vegetables and some Vitamin L, aka Love.

As I got off the phone, I wondered how he could spend years in the medical system without anyone helping him, despite the fact that he had the best insurance and the best doctors looking after him. I felt grateful to be of service to him.

Today, America spends over 2 trillion dollars annually on healthcare. That’s 2 trillion dollars! As the baby boom generation continues to age that amount will only increase. And yet, so little is spent on education and prevention. More than a healthcare system, people really need a self-care system and trained professionals who can listen.

Have you had a similar experience where seeing a doctor just wasn’t enough?

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.