by Katherine Gordon
What is a health coach? Health coaching can be defined as helping patients gain the knowledge,
skills, tools, and confidence to become active participants in their own care. Often when you think of
“health coaching” you think of someone telling you to eat right and exercise and then all your problems will
go away. That could not be further from what we do. Health coaches usually specialize in a specific area
such as weight loss, pregnancy, or specific chronic illnesses, etc. It’s important to find a coach that
specializes in the area you need support.
Some of the ways a health coach specializing in POTS can help are:
1. Teach you to recognize and respond to worsening signs and symptoms- This could be as
simple as helping you establish an action plan for when you feel unwell, so that you feel
more in control of the situation or giving recommendations for medications you can ask
your doctor about.
2. Bridge the gap between patient and doctor- While the average visit to the doctor only
lasts eight minutes, the average health coaching session is 50 minutes. Health Coaches are
filling a vital gap between patients and doctors. The whole session is dedicated to fully
listening to you and taking your health concerns seriously.
3. Help you identify your POTS triggers- This is a big one. There’s lots of things such as food,
chemicals, stress, fatigue, and even viruses that can be triggers for our POTS. A health
coach can help you recognize what specific things trigger your symptoms and teach you
how to avoid and/or cope with them.
4. Teach you how to eat and exercise to better manage your POTS- There’s a big
misconception that we just need to eat healthy and exercise more to get rid of our POTS,
this is just not true. Food and exercise can absolutely help us better manage our POTS and
can be a great addition to your treatment plan. BUT certain things need addressed and
better controlled before you can start to exercise, or you can make yourself worse. A
health coach can here to help you with that and get you connected with the right health
care professionals to help you manage your POTS.
5. Offer emotional support and motivation- Assisting with the emotional impact of chronic
illness is extremely helpful when it comes to treating symptoms. Chronic illness can make
you feel very alone and isolated, a health coaching session helps you feel less alone.
You’ll get support and be able to vent your feelings. The right health coach can facilitate positive behavior change to keep you motivated and reach your goals.
6. Help you navigate the world of healthcare- Your health coach will teach you how to
prepare for your medical appointments and will be your professional patient advocate to
ensure that your voice is heard, and your concerns are not dismissed. Connecting you with
resources and referrals can be extremely helpful.
7. Give recommendations and education on your illness- POTS is a complicated
illness. There’s lots to dive into when it comes to the anatomy of our bodies and how
POTS works. There’s also always a root cause when it comes to POTS, and different
types of POTS that need managed differently as well. Teaching disease specific skills is one
of the many ways a health coach can be a very helpful addition to your team of healthcare
8. Help overcoming setbacks- You’ll receive one on one support navigating the things that
are setting you back and help you get back on track to feeling your best.
9. Teach coping skills- There are many different coping skills that a health coach can
guide you through such as: the importance of pacing yourself, how to improve the quality
of your sleep, how to support optimal functioning of the vagus nerve, and other helpful
therapies such as PEMF and Ozone.
10. Give you a personalized plan- Most of the time POTS patients are given a one-size-fits-all
approach to treatment. When you work with a health coach, you receive a completely
personalized plan to fit your specific health needs and goals.
Katherine Gordon became a board-certified holistic health coach after being diagnosed with POTS,
Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Lyme disease, and mold illness.