By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensd Massage Therapists, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer
Today an article about Wellness Coaching caught my eye. There’s been a new study that shows that using wellness coaching has had a positive effect on people maintaining their health after completing their cancer treatments.
Read the excerpt below from the press release from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, “Wellness Coaching Study Finds Long Term Benefits for Cancer Survivors,” by Tim Kelly of the Office of Public Relations of Galloway Township, NJ to find out more.
New research published in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and conducted by The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, showed that wellness coaching, a relatively new type of health intervention, had significant, immediate, and lasting impact in reducing anxiety and depression, while simultaneously improving quality of life and increasing other healthy lifestyle behaviors.
The American Cancer Society recommends survivors maintain a healthy weight and engage in healthy lifestyle habits to reduce risk of recurrence, mortality, and other chronic diseases, yet the majority do not, according to recent research. This study looked at the initial and longitudinal benefits that wellness coaching might have with cancer survivors.
Principle Investigator, Dr. Mary Lou Galantino, PT, PhD, MSCE, professor at Stockton College and Adjunct Research Scholar at University of Pennsylvania, said that it is the first research published utilizing this methodology as a single intervention, which has promising results and potential application in other areas.
The idea to apply this methodology to cancer survivorship came in 2004, when wellness coach and fitness professional, Pam Schmid was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was a leader in the new field of wellness coaching and recognized the wide reaching benefits coaching might offer survivors, after struggling personally with the challenges treatment brought her way.
Pam Schmid said, “Being a professional, I knew what I needed to do to be healthy and feel my best, yet so many obstacles came my way. I watched others struggle and saw no real support for them. Some health behaviors can reduce risk of recurrence or dying of their cancer as much as 50 percent. It’s critical to support survivors to do the things they can do to not only improve their risks but to improve their quality of life.”
Read Pam’s blog, Priorities Simplified, here.
In this observational cohort study of 30 breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer survivors, participants received six coaching sessions over a three month period. They were followed for a year after the intervention to evaluate the sustainability of changes through the wellness coaching. Wellness coaches are credentialed professionals who are trained and certified as coaches.
How Wellness Coaching Helps Patients
In this study, a fitness professional certified as an ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Health Fitness Instructor and Wellness Coach (through Wellcoaches Corporation – in partnership with ACSM) served as the coach.
Wellness coaching moves people from point A to B says Schmid, “Instead of being stuck, they have a partner to start moving ahead to be their best. As one survivor told me, ‘This is not like anything I’ve experienced. It’s given me a pathway out … I need to move forward to do the things I know I need to do to be my best’.”
To read the entire press release, click here.
And, according to the actual study reported in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Wellness Coaching helped study patients improve their lifestyle habits using goal setting, increased food choice awareness and exercise. Working with a personal coach helped subjects by providing motivation and feedback. Patients reports that their consumption of fruits and vegetables increased, and their BMI and weight was reduced with the help of Wellness Coaching.
Link to the actual study abstract in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences here.
What is Wellness Coaching?
Coaching focuses on building self-efficacy and autonomy from a strength-based approach that encourages the individual to think about what is going well, where they have been successful in the past, and what will support success in the future and is delivered using a number of tools from evidence based domains/theories such as positive psychology, motivational interviewing, and appreciative inquiry.