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What is an Allied Healthcare Professional?

Whether it’s exercise, nutrition, or massage therapy you are seeking, finding the right person to do the job can be incredibly challenging. The area known as allied healthcare professionals can be a challenging one to navigate.

The professions that require a state or national licensures, such as physicians, nurses, or physical therapists, help to provide checks and balances on who should and should not be providing a service to any individual. However, there are many professions within our healthcare community that are poorly understood and many times misrepresented by individuals with minimal certifications or credentials.

Allied healthcare professionals are thought to make up roughly 60% of the healthcare workforce by providing a range of diagnstic, technical, therapeutic and direct patient care and support services that are critical to the other health professionals they work with and the patients they serve. All categories of allied healthcare require either registration by law to practice or post secondary degree or higher education. Click here for more information about allied healthcare professions.

Is it time to re-assess who you trust with your healthcare needs?

It is essential to know the credentials and education of anyone you are trusting for information or advice whether it be an accountant, lawyer, dentist or teacher. Healthcare is no different, but there are many misunderstood healthcare professions.

Distinct from nursing, dentistry or medicine, allied healthcare professionals make up approximately 60% of the health workforce. Examples include athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, paramedic, and massage therapist. Many times, these professionals are those you are referred to by your physicians to help manage your healthcare needs daily, weekly, and monthly. National and state licensures ensure that certain healthcare professionals uphold the standards and scope of pratice that is pertinent to their level of education.

senior man having a massage in a spa centerMultiple allied professions remain to establish this key aspect of standardized care which simply means that certain professions are more susceptible to individuals claiming a level of expertise or knowledge that can be misleading or confusing to the general population. For example, as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist, I clearly understand the difference between my skillset and that of a personal trainer; however, to the general public, both professions provide guidance with exercise. Due to lack of established licensure exams, it is unclear to many people that some Exercise Physiologists (like myself) have a Master’s Degree, while others may have earned a weekend certification. It is incredibly important for you to understand the roll of any healthcare professional from which you seek treatment and advice as well as their experience and background in relation to your particular healthcare needs. Accessing information about these resources from a knowledgeable professional can help to ensure proper connection to an individual that is appropriately educated to effectively meet your needs.

Jaclyn Chadbourne, MA, CES has worked within the allied health profession as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist for 15 years.  She is currently the Director of Research and Development at Universal Medical Technology, and serves as Adjunct Faculty at University of New England DPT Program

Health Coaching Support for Alzheimer’s Patients and Caregivers

Alzheimer Concept.The emotional journey of facing a diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be overwhelming for both the patient and their families. Feelings of fear, stress, anxiety and loss can overpower all individuals involved and the ability to have questions answered is essential to easing these emotions.

Although there are a multitude of support groups available through local community organizations, access, availability, and comfort level of participating in a group setting can all be barriers to participation. A health coach can be a crucial lifeline to supporting the needs of both the family and the patient.  Health coaching services can be made available either 1:1 with the patient, loved one or as a family in which everyone is able to process many common issues facing Alzheimer’s patients.

This can include but are not limited to:

  • Understanding and adjusting to the diagnosis
  • Future care plans/options
  • Medical options and support resources
  • Managing symptoms and keeping loved one’s safe
  • Caregiver balance and managing one’s own health needs
  • Financial planning for support and medical management

A health coach does not necessarily need to be an expert in Alzheimer’s disease per se, but rather, have the ability to connect their client to professional, expert resources in their area. Their common goal is to navigate the needs and connect families to trusted experts that can create a network of safety and security throughout the progression of the disease. The supportive ear of a trained health coach can be enough to provide assurance that help is available and neither the patient nor the caregiver(s) are alone in this journey. Often the health coach is available to meet in convenient settings (including in-home or telephonically) as they realize that transportation can be a barrier to accessing resources.

In addition to care navigation, the health coach can connect the family to therapeutic resources such as exercise facilities, memory classes, and social support systems that can contribute to overall quality of life and management of symptoms. Their expert advice can help to remove burdensome details and guide the process in a meaningful, manageable way whereby the caregiver and patient are able to focus on enjoying their time together.

Jaclyn Chadbourne, MA is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Principal, Director of Research and Development – ‎Universal Medical Technology, LLC and United Medical Gym, Inc in South Portland, ME. With a passion for sustainable healthy living and desire to advocate for patient-centered care, Jaclyn works to help support community resources for all special populations and to implement and oversee clinical protocols. 


Exercise and Endorphins

Feeling too grumpy or stressed out to exercise? Think again.

A little exercise can go a long way in reducing stress and making you feel good, along with its many other health benefits, like improving/maintaining physical fitness, preventing disease and treating symptoms.

Life is complicated. We are all busy with our own personal challenges and to-do lists. Not to mention the winter months, which can make even the hardiest New Englander want to curl up into a ball and stay in bed until spring finally arrives. But, as tempting as that sounds, it’s not likely to improve your mood at all. If you’re feeling down, resist the urge to mope and get moving.

Studies have shown that moderate to intense exercise can help…

  • Minimize stress or improve ability to handle stressful situations
  • Minimize anxiety and reduce of depression
  • Improve self-esteem and perception of self
  • Improve sleep patterns and hence energy during awake hours

For those interested in the science behind it, when your body is subjected to certain stimuli (including exercise) your hypothalamus calls for the release of endorphins, and the cells in your body that contain them respond. When endorphins lock into special receptor cells, they block the transmission of pain signals and also produce feelings of euphoria. But endorphins can’t do it alone…. exercise also raises levels of other mood-boosting chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. The combination of endorphins and these other neurotransmitters produces and effect often referred to as “the runners high”.

In reflecting back on my time as a distance runner, I remember saying many times that it wasn’t always the act of running that got me out there day after day – but rather, the tremendous feeling that I got after my run that had such a positive impact on my outlook. But you don’t have to be a runner to enjoy the benefit of the runners high….just 30 minutes of physical activity can elicit this effect on the body and improve our mood on a chemical level.

empower fitness event photoHow else can it affect us?

During a fast-paced tennis match or an intense kickboxing class, you’ll find that you concentrate more on your body’s movements than on the things that are irritating you or stressing you out. Redirecting your focus can help calm and clear your mind. This is referred to as “Active Relaxation” or the capacity to focus on rhythmic motion that can produce a relaxation response within the body.
By reducing our levels of stress, anxiety and depression, we can also sleep better at night, thus improving our energy during our awake hours and reducing irritability and depression often associated with inadequate sleep. How to get started? Consult your doctor or an exercise professional if you’re new to exercise or have health concerns. Safety first! Start with small, manageable goals and choose an activity that you enjoy. Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore. Then make room in your schedule! Make your health a priority and set aside time each day to focus on you. You’ll be glad you did.

Jaclyn Chadbourne, MA is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Principal, Director of Research and Development – ‎Universal Medical Technology, LLC and United Medical Gym, Inc in South Portland, ME. With a passion for sustainable healthy living and desire to advocate for patient-centered care, Jaclyn works to help support community resources for all special populations and to implement and oversee clinical protocols. 


Home care

From Couch to Coach: The Benefits of Health Coaching for Improving Physical Activity in Parkinson’s Disease Patients

The benefits of health coaching for managing chronic diseases has been growing in popularity for the past decade and contrary to popular belief, a health coach is not someone who is just providing guidance on weight loss. The concept of activation is a crucial component to managing healthy behaviors and for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or other neurological conditions, the ability to adhere to exercise programs can be a challenge.

According to Terry Ellis, assistant professor at Sargent College and Director of the Center for Neurorehabilitation, a virtual coach was effective in helping individuals diagnosed with PD adhere to a daily walking regimen. After one month of coaching, Ellis’ study demonstrated a 100 percent retention rate among participants due to the ability of the coach to build social and emotional relationships.

For those living with neurological conditions, both the availability and accessibility to exercise programs for this population can be a limiting factor. For those with advanced symptoms, driving themselves to an exercise class is not possible and can place an added strain on their caregiver to coordinate such processes. A health coach can be just what is needed to link the patient to the outside world by which they feel connected socially and emotionally. This can provide enough motivation for them to engage in the necessary level of exercise the can significantly reduce symptoms related to PD or other neurological conditions.

Health coaching for this population should focus primarily on:

  • Managing the severity and variability of symptoms through a day, week or month and counsel the patient on how to stay on track with healthy behaviors
  • Ensuring adequate social and emotional support and possibly connecting them to community resources such as respite programs, support groups, or educational classes
  • Connecting them to experts that can help them remain physically active while avoiding injury or falls
  • Support the needs of the caregiver through the progression of the disease and guide additional services that may be required should symptoms worsen
  • Health coaches are not expected to be experts in the disease itself, but rather an outlet for the patient to express their needs and ensure the highest quality of life possible.



Ellis, T. (2013). Feasibility of a virtual exercise coach to promote walking in community dwelling persons with Parkinson Disease. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Vol. 92, Issue 6, pp. 472-485. Doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31828cd466.


The Benefits of Health Coaching For Sustaining Patient Activation in Patients with Heart Disease

Heart disease, also referred to as Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) or Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), is the leading cause of death for both men and women and responsible for approximately 610,000 deaths annually. Someone has a heart attack every 43 seconds in the United States and of those, 1 in 4 will die. Although the rate of mortality (death) has declined over the past few decades as a result of improved medical therapies, a staggering 30% of heart attacks annually are in people that have already had a previous heart event and face increased risk of dying.

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7 Simple Steps to Becoming ‘The Biggest Winner’

You may have read Jaclyn’s recent post outlining her thoughts on the television show  The Biggest Loser. Here, she follows up and outlines simple steps you can take to become the ‘biggest winner’ the healthy way, not relying on short term rapid weight loss to reach your goals.

Research demonstrates that rapid weight loss programs are not recommended nor do they support any correlation to long-term success. Follow some of these simple steps to maximize your chances for success in achieving your “healthy lifestyle goals.”

STEP 1: Assess your Readiness for Change

Embarking on something that you are not ready to do could be harmful because an unsuccessful program could impair your self-esteem and dampen future efforts to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals. Before setting any short or long-term goals, it is recommended to take some time to reflect on your reasons for wanting to set these goals and initiate this journey.

senior-yoga-waterSTEP 2: Realize you are an individual

Just as with success, we define what “healthy” means to us. This is an individual aspiration and although our loved one’s can help to motivate us to want to make changes, we ultimately need to aspire to our own picture of “healthy” in order for us to stick with new lifestyle changes. Define what healthy means to you!

STEP 3: Eat real food

Evaluate where you can make minor changes in your dietary intake. Increase fruits, vegetables and water and decrease your intake of sugar and processed food. Eat close to the earth and prepare as much food as possible on your own. But be realistic – don’t expect perfection! You can start by making small nutritional changes that have a big impact on your health! And remember….FIBER is your FRIEND!

Copy of Mixed_Cut_Fruit_iStock_000003017352SmallSTEP 4: Don’t “DIET”

Always remember that a calorie is not just a calorie. Contrary to what we were taught in school many years ago, it is not just as simple as calories in, calories out. Many different factors make up the quality of the calories you take in (or expend). To determine what the best foods are for YOU, it is best to contact a Registered Dietitian or qualified healthcare professional.

STEP 5: Exercise

Choose an activity you enjoy and get some professional advice on the right activities for you and how to do them safely. It should challenge your muscles so you get stronger, but exercise should not hurt. No Pain No Gain does NOT pertain to YOU if exercise is done properly.

STEP 6: Focus on progress

Rid yourself of the All IN or All OUT mentality. Rather than telling yourself “I need to lose X pounds” set small goals toward better health and be proud of your accomplishments in the process. Many times if we set a goal and don’t achieve it, we can give up all together thinking that if we don’t make it to the summit of the mountain, than what’s the point. You still made progress – reward yourself for that and get up tomorrow and do it again. If you fall into old habits, don’t beat yourself up – tomorrow is another day.

STEP 7: Simple Strategies

Switch from drinking soda to seltzer water. Keep raw nuts, carrots and high fiber foods readily available for snacking. Take a therapeutic walk every day. When you’re stronger and ready for something new, challenge yourself a little more with things like roller skating, indoor rock climbing, or setting a goal for a summer hike. If you fall into old habits, don’t beat yourself up – tomorrow is another day.

Everyone has different health goals, and the way we approach them is not a one-size-fits-all process. It’s about more than just numbers on a scale. It’s also about your energy, how you feel, and so many other factors. Health is a journey, and we are all on it together, but in different places. When we understand that, and support ourselves and each other, we all win. And THAT is the message I want my son, and all of America, to hear.

Jaclyn Chadbourne, MA is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Co-Owner of the Medically Oriented Gym (M.O.G.) in South Portland, Maine. With a passion for sustainable healthy living and desire to advocate for patient-centered care, Jaclyn works to help the M.O.G. support community resources for all special populations and to implement and oversee clinical protocols. Read more from the MOG on their website, themoggroup.com/blog

Who Really Ends Up Being The Biggest Loser?

After watching some episodes of The Biggest Loser TV show in school recently, my 6th grade son has started talking about how cool it would be if HE could get on the show someday. My son is not obese, is healthy and athletic, and the fact that he thought this crying, screaming, extreme dieting, working-out-six-hours-a-day-until-you-collapse spectacle might be good for him renewed my long-time concerns about the messages this show is sending, not only to impressionable kids but to everyone who wants to lose weight as quickly as possible.

For anyone unfamiliar with the show, it gathers about 16 morbidly obese individuals, divides them into 2 competing teams led by well known personal trainers, then follows their weight loss efforts for 12 weeks. During the 12 weeks, which culminates in 1 winner receiving a large monetary prize, the contestants who lose the least amount of weight are at risk of getting “voted off” the show each week, Survivor style. While the premise of the show is motivating people to lose weight, it is no more than a reality game show at its core and needs to be balanced with some discussion about healthy ways to make positive, lasting lifestyle changes.

exercise-86200_640Of course, everyone’s diet/fitness level can always use improvements, and there’s no denying that America has a weight problem. Although The Biggest Loser can prompt some good discussions about diet and exercise, it promotes unhealthy, unrealistic methods of weight loss. The contestants’ diets are severely restricted to around 1,200 calories a day. Using this barely minimal caloric intake as fuel, they exercise for 4-6 hours a day until people frequently collapse or get physically sick. Then the trainers scream at them to shake it off, shaming them into believing they can – and should – push through the pain and exhaustion. As if they really wanted to lose weight badly enough, their will power would prevail over their body. Contestants are expected to lose several pounds each week, when a healthy rate is 1-2 pounds a week at the most. If this doesn’t encourage eating disorders, I don’t know what would. Off camera, it’s rumored that contestants will do anything to get the numbers on the scale lower, like dehydrating themselves or using laxatives or other methods to lose weight faster.

biggest-loserThe most recent Biggest Loser winner, Rachel Frederickson, ended the show dangerously thin. According to an article on CNN, Frederickson went from 260 pounds to 105 pounds, losing 59.62% of her body weight. At 5 feet, 5 inches tall, that puts her body mass index at 17.5. Anything under 18.5 is considered underweight and can have serious health repercussions.

Even if it was done for the sake of the cash prize, the damage it has done to her body is unmistakable. What’s more, the message this show sends season after season by rewarding someone for losing a lot weight in a very short time using unhealthy methods is disheartening. I’m not sure if The Biggest Loser is the “winner” of the show or the millions of people watching and thinking this represents the gold standard in health and physical fitness.

Jaclyn Chadbourne, MA is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Co-Owner of the Medically Oriented Gym (M.O.G.) in South Portland, Maine. With a passion for sustainable healthy living and desire to advocate for patient-centered care, Jaclyn works to help the M.O.G. support community resources for all special populations and to implement and oversee clinical protocols. Read more from the MOG on their website, themoggroup.com/blog


Clarity at Base Camp

Sunday morning 9 am…..My eyes are focused on the snow in my driveway as I step onto my treadmill that sits in my garage….my ears filled with the sounds of the song “Afterlife” by Switchfoot. I slowly move the treadmill from 4.0 to 6.0 mph – my feet move faster – my breathing begins to increase – and I focus….It was in this moment that I realized I’m beginning the ascent from base camp to my new summit.

chadbourne-basecampOver the past 15 years I have successfully summitted many mountains – metaphorical of course. Unlike MOG’s very own Bill McCormick, I have yet to actually climb a mountain like Everest or Rainier. But I have overcome many obstacles – I have felt the desire to quit – I have been challenged by unfavorable conditions – and I have persevered. At the age of 21, I successfully completed my first marathon – the Maine Marathon, all while completing my senior year of collegiate soccer. I was competitive, driven and trained like a madwoman. It was one of the most gratifying times in my life… second of course to marrying my husband and starting our family.

In my mind I have always felt that unless I get back to that place, than what is the point of my exercise? If I was not training for something, I lost my focus. Those of you that have had children know how that can affect your body in so many ways. It has been years since I have felt like myself physically – constantly challenged by the changes that have occurred from carrying my children.

treadmillAt this very moment, it is not envisioning crossing the finish line at the marathon that pushes me to continue running on the treadmill. It is the face of my 5 year old son who comes around the corner and smiles at me with his sneakers on and asks me “Mom! Are you almost done so I can exercise!?” It is the vision of all of our MOG members who inspire us in their daily dedication to walking through our doors and changing their lives. It is the passion that every one of my co-workers embodies in our daily quest to have a positive impact on one person’s life.

We all have mountains to climb within a day, a week or a year. Today I found clarity at my base camp as I stepped onto my treadmill and hit start. I could not be more excited about beginning one of the most important climbs of my life. Today, in this moment, I exercise for me and for my family. I am a better mom when I exercise. I am a better wife when I exercise. I am a happier person when I exercise. It is not easy. The days are filled with the endless pursuit to make it through my massive to do list – but alas, I realize that mountain I will never summit. But it does not matter for I am dedicated as I write this today that I will summit this mountain I call exercise one day at a time – and realize that each day I climb will get easier and more exciting. I will be invigorated to challenge myself in ways I never thought I could – and then peacefully descent into my life with confidence and a renewed sense of self because of the one thing that will always make me better……Exercise.

Jaclyn Chadbourne, MA is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Co-Owner of the Medically Oriented Gym (M.O.G.) in South Portland, Maine. With a passion for sustainable healthy living and desire to advocate for patient-centered care, Jaclyn works to help the M.O.G. support community resources for all special populations and to implement and oversee clinical protocols.

Prescription drugs

The Prescription You DON’T Fill at the Pharmacy

Why exactly is “Exercise” considered medicine? Exercise has a difficult task of competing with the 5 seconds it takes to consume a pill, versus the 30 minutes it takes to gain health benefits from exercise. However, since the development of the Exercise Is Medicine Organization, there has been great momentum in the area of implementing exercise prescription as the first line of treatment for patient’s when appropriate.