The field of health coaching continues to grow. More and more studies are being conducted to try and understand how health coaching can benefit us. One area that I would like to highlight is the impact health coaching can have on looking after a long term condition, high blood pressure.
A group of investigators published their study in 2012, really early on in the growing field of health coaching (Margolius et al. Ann Fam Med 2012 May; 10(3): 199-205). They wanted to look at hypertension (high blood pressure) in the USA, where half of the patients have poorly controlled blood pressure. In fact, they note that 50% of patients leave their usual physician visit not understanding physician instructions.
The non-physician health coaches used in this study built trusting relationships with the patients. They could advise them on the importance of taking their medications and other blood pressure control issues.
There were 204 patients, and they all received health coaching, and by 6 months, they had an overall significant drop in their blood pressure. This improvement was greater than that seen in many studies that did not use a health coach to improve blood pressure control.
The value of health coaching will continue to be endorsed and supported as more studies emerge, and I will report on these here for you in time.