Did you think that occupational therapists can only work at hospitals? Think again!
Excited to re-kick off the OT Settings Series in order to share insight from OT practitioners that work across the gamut of places and settings.
Today, you all are privy to gain insight from an occupational therapist who is a jack-of-all trades kind of gal. Andrea Muncada, MS, OTR/L, CLVT, LEC, 500 YTT, has over 10 years of experience as an occupational therapist in both traditional and less traditional settings. Yep, you read that right. Those long credentials to be explained as we go forth!
- Graduated: 2009
- Inpatient Rehab – 10 years
- Low Vision – 2 years
- Holistic Health Coach & Women’s Health
- Founded Functional Health OT – May 2020
Shannen: Hi Andrea, can you describe yourself? Can you share more about what exactly you do as an occupational therapist (we will save talking about your low vision rehabilitation expertise in a future microblog)? What makes your heart happy outside of clinical life?
Andrea: Hi Shannen, thank you. I am a San Diego based Holistic Health Coach and Occupational Therapist. I enjoy spending time with my young daughter, husband. and two rescue dogs. In my spare time, I love cooking novice plant-based meals, staying active and walking along the beach shores.
I’m in my happy place when I’m squeezing in an early morning workout before work, mindfully moving on my yoga mat, or spending a Sunday afternoon at the Farmers Market. I am a Whole-Foods lifestyle enthusiast, matcha addict, lover of cookies, traveler and explorer of culture through foods!
Shannen: Love that answer so much! I love matcha, too. Always makes me feel healthy and happy. Although the extremely green color of it never ceases to surprise me. If you had a “mantra” what would it be and why?
Be Active. Be Healthy.
Be Happy. Be You.
This is my mantra because I am here to meet you where you are and support your unique journey to a healthier and happy lifestyle.
Shannen: That is beautiful. I have a bunch of mantras, too.
“Rise above like a Sunflower” or
“Encouraging your multidimensional paths” or
“Sharing stories makes us human...” I can go on and on!
Shannen: Okay can you please share what compelled you to pursue some or all of your credentials? At what point in your career did you take steps toward these credentials?
Andrea: I had anxiety due to overwhelming feelings and daily stress spiraling more than I’d like. A friend invited me to yoga and I was hooked everyday since. Yoga calmed the clutter in my mind because it gave me awareness, mindfulness and allowed me to connect mind and body.
During my IVF journey, I relied heavily on my yoga practice to help support my mental health well-being. When I received the news of pregnancy, I was reminded daily of the miraculous blessing and began to dive deeper to tuning into my body and growing belly. Advancing my yoga certification, I chose to specialize in prenatal yoga to learn more about the growing mom and baby dyad and prepare for birth. I attended prenatal yoga classes and began teaching other women how to connect with their body, their baby, their breath to prepare for birth.
Because of my yoga practice, understanding the birth process, and connecting with my breath, I was able to have a natural birth. I continued to use what I learned throughout 4th trimester/postpartum.Once my baby was born I felt my purpose was to support other women in their journey to preconception, pregnant and postpartum. My baby and I received many benefits from breastfeeding and my mission is that all women have success in breastfeeding, which unfortunately is not always the cause because they are not supported adequately. Thus, I wanted to broaden my holistic health coach practice and specialize in women’s health. I enrolled in a Lactation Educator Counselor certification course. In the near future, my next goal receive training in hormone balance and support.
Shannen: Well goodness. YOU. GO. GIRL!!!! insert all the hand clap emojis here!!!
Andrea: As a Holistic Health Coach and Lactation Educator Counselor, my private practice focuses on Wellness and Women’s Health. All of my work is done virtually. This in my opinion reduces some of the boundaries to receiving services and supports.
Shannen: Awesome! Wow, I love this. Just goes to show OTs are able to be outside of the box. Can you share specifically what you do as a health coach?
Andrea: As a Holistic Health Coach, I help people create healthier habits they can sustain to achieve their optimal health. My clients have a variety of goals from weight lose 5-100+ pounds, restore gut health, prenatal/postpartum support, physical activity, mindfulness, etc. A person can get referred to my services if they are feeling “stuck”, struggling to reach their health goals. They can contact me and I will schedule a free health assessment call to learn more about their health history, goals and if the program is a good match. There are many resources available I provide my health coach clients from local resources or virtual community peer support and accountability platforms depending on their needs. The duration of services last depending on the client’s goals – it can range from 30 days to 1 year plus.
Also, I should mention that my passion for health and helping others pursue their wellness has resulted in me taking the jump to enroll in the nutrition program Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Shannen: What guidelines do you use to help your clients meet your goals? Do you market yourself as an occupational therapist during these services or is this another entity you do on top of your full-time low vision* occupational therapy job?
Andrea: As an Occupational Therapist and Holistic Health Coach profressional, I am a personal advocate and address clients’ health concerns using a holistic approach. Through deep listening, encouragement, and educational support, I help my clients envision what they want in life, set priorities and make healthy choices to realize their vision. I teach them to take small positive steps, identify and eliminate negative thought patterns, and celebrate every success.
Shannen: What is a Lactation Educator Counselor? What are other professions that may pursue this certification? How do you get referrals?
As a Lactation Educator Counselor, I provide one-on-one breastfeeding education and focus on the needs and concerns of the breastfeeding mother-baby duo in order to prevent, recognize, and solve breastfeeding difficulties.
For example, difficulties with latch and position, tongue-tie, nipple pain, etc. A mother can receive services and inquire by contacting me if she has any questions or any difficulties with any aforementioned. If a mother-baby duo requires a specialist, I refer out. The duration of services various to support lactating mothers – typically a handful or less.
Shannen: Why are OT practitioners a good fit for women’s (womxn’s) health, specifically as a health coach and as a lactation consultant?
Andrea: I believe that OT practitioners are a perfect match for Wellness and Women’s Health because we use a client-centered and holistic approach. OT practitioners are trained to address the client’s needs of various levels of complexity, use our clinical reasoning and problem solving to develop a plan of care, establish short term and long term goals and facilitate treatment plan for the client to achieve their goals and improve their overall quality of life.
From a Health Coaching standpoint– A person’s physical, emotional and emotional health is the number one meaningful occupation which should be addressed so that the person can establish and participate in positive roles, routines, relationship with others.
From a Lactation Educator standpoint – the mother-baby duo is the most critical relationship for the well-being for the mother and baby. Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and baby. It is critical that each mother-baby receives the lactation education and support to be successful in achieving the meaningful occupation of breastfeeding.
In summary, my daughter and the way she entered this world inspired to pursue my passion for health and nutrition and become a Holistic Health Coach. With the background from my personal journey of hormonal imbalance and IVF journey in combination with my OT training, I specialize in Women’s Health and supporting them as a Lactation Educator Counselor and will complete training in hormone balance in the near future.
Want to connect with Andrea?
- IG @functional_health_ot
- Facebook: Functional Health OT
- Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-m-83260a9b
*Andrea’s experience in Low Vision to be discussed in a future post
Questions? Comments? Feedback!! Please consider posting below!! Follow the hashtag #OTSettingsSeries on Instagram to never miss a post:)!!
Finally, a big thank you to Andrea for sharing a glimpse of your OT world and demonstrating multidimensionality from your own occupational therapy lens!