Updated: Mar 28
There’s a burgeoning field of health coaches and veterinarians who apply a more integrated approach to taking care of animals, also known as holistic medicine. Holistic health is an integrated approach to wellness gaining traction for both humans and animals, to ensure that we are healthy from all perspectives—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Holistic health lies at the intersection of Western, or allopathic, medicine and Eastern medicine, and its goal is to identify the lifestyle, behavioral, and dietary changes one can make for themselves or for their pets to produce better health results overall, in addition to just seeking treatment for symptoms of specific diseases when they arise.
“Health is an asset if you choose to make it an asset,” Zannah Mass, a holistic health practitioner at Well Beings Unleashed, said on a recent episode of the Mella Moment Podcast.
“By taking a proactive approach, it can be an asset rather than a burden.”
So what does a holistic health practitioner do for your pet? What kinds of goals can you work towards with a health coach? We’ll take a closer look at some of them in this blog. If you want to hear more about Zannah's own perspective on her work, we encourage you to check out the “What is Holistic Health for Dogs?” episode on our podcast!
Holistic Health Treatments
First, there are several different kinds of treatments characteristic of holistic health, from acupuncture to chiropractic treatment to aromatherapy to herbal medicine, and pet parents are increasingly turning to them both for themselves and for their pet’s health when traditional medications have not been successful.
You’ve likely heard of acupuncture, a treatment characteristic of Eastern medicine with a history that’s thousands of years old. An acupuncturist inserts needles at specific points in the body to alleviate pressure and correct energy imbalances—something that has been seen to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation, among other benefits.
Aromatherapy and herbal remedies are often used to help alleviate anxiety in pets. For instance, the use of calming essential oils can have a significant impact on an animal due to their heightened sensitivity to scent, and vet-prescribed combinations of herbs can also help calm pets and increase their happiness.
Chiropractic treatments are used to realign bones in the spine. Gentle pressure is applied to various parts of the body to do so, and to help ease various joint and skeletal issues, as well as any pain caused by pinched nerves.
The Role of Health Coaches in Holistic Health
But in addition to holistic health treatments, how can we make healthier lifestyle choices consistently for our pets, to work towards long term chronic disease prevention and stress management? That’s where health coaches come in. By serving as accountability partners across several months to years, they’ll work with you to reexamine your lifestyle, as well as its impacts on your furry friend’s life, in order to identify personalized health goals and make sustainable shifts. Some doctors and vets have also seen that their patients have better outcomes if they work with a health coach.
Health coaches can suggest dietary changes, new pet care products to use, or relaxation techniques for your pet that can supplement more traditional medical treatments that they would get from a veterinarian.
For Zannah, pet health and wellness today means “harmony between mind, body, and spirit,” and it means “thriving with balance.” We all want to see our furry friends at their healthiest and happiest—holistic health care is another potential piece of the puzzle for helping manage care for chronic diseases, and for preventing them as much as possible.
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