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What’s All The Hype? It’s Just Water – Creating Memorable Spa Experiences Without A Wet Room

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It was possibly the most luxurious treatment on the planet, the smells, the sensation……As I lay there, swaying in my hammock reminiscing about my luxurious day at the spa, I couldn’t help but think about how it compared overall to spa treatments around the world and the spa menu promise of a tropical escape.

Elements of almond and honey polish those neglected areas. Harmony is induced with a cascading Vichy Shower, followed by a cooling mente de coco wrap. Cocooned in heated fragrant linens, your own personal sanctuary is created as your skin continues to absorb the cleansing and balancing effects of coconut and mint, finished with an exotic blend of oils smoothed over the skin. This is something to take home. Aside from using mind altering agents, this treatment was a close runner up in the search for total bliss.

I had just spent a great day in a tropical resort. A place where they specialized in creating a client “experience”with packages, indigenous rituals and native fruits and plants. From the Four Seasons, Papagayo, Costa Rica, to The Banyan Tree, Phuket, Thailand, they are going out of their way to include all the expected amenities of spas, including wet rooms. But is the wet element really necessary, and worth the expense?

Though spas were originally based on “taking the waters” for health and beauty, the modern day spa guests and spa developers have other considerations when it comes to spa concepts. In the extensive and growing area of spa development, owners need to decide what their floor plan will be, what equipment to include, and what technical requirements will be needed for that plan, some of which may include a wet room. With a realistic expectation of each wet room costing $20,000 – 30,000, or even more with
elaborate and palacial concepts, it could be a while before you break even on your investment. It has been of growing advisement from industry consultants and builders that a wet room is not needed, and in a lot of cases, should not be included as an anchor to grow a spa business. They are expensive to build out, to maintain, and more difficult to sell than other treatments. Especially away from the resort concept.

With a majority of day spas opting for a more intimate to moderate square footage, it’s not recommended a wet room be considered for this type of floorplan. In working with technicians, owners, operators and developers we see more development towards total wellness retreats, and a focus on inner health, with treatment menus listing anti aging facials and indigenous body treatments rather than water oriented therapies. Spa guests on the other hand are now looking for results based treatments, anti aging and unique culturally based indigenous experiences. Once again, a wet room is not a necessary element to give your market what they want. For the purposes of this topic, we’ve opted to evolve a fictitious practice without a wet room, and look at wet vs. dry and other unique elements you can take advantage of. We will utilize the many beneficial treatment options and add on’s for a memorable waterless spa treatment. You will no doubt find ways to apply this to your business, and relieve some of the stress of feeling you have to include a wet room in your concept, or follow suit in what your neighboring spas may be doing. If your market segmentation, feasibility and strict mission concept doesn’t show you will fail without a wet room, forge ahead with your own spa identity and apply some of the tips here.

Breaking into your “style career” with spa essentials

Think of your own practice or spa as a vital part of your “style career”. In other words a career with style. You can create this with any career, and in the spa and beauty industry we have the added benefit of working in a highly consciousness driven business. Treat it as if you were the choreographer of a motivational event, with lots of fans booked to see you, and you are the star of your own fiction or fantasy. Your spa essentials kit should include a high level of professionalism, knowledge of products, benefits, contraindications, an authentic design and the desire to succeed in everything you do. Receiving continuing education for specialty therapies can also make a big difference in your sales, treatment concept and booking abilities.

To put it into simple terms your spa should always be client – centric. Let refer to a quick overview of the top ten tips to client satisfaction.

Awareness in your actions with your client and your personal conduct

Deliver what you or your menu promises.

Having the appropriate training and qualifications for your client to be comfortable and satisfied.

Be efficient in your work and with the use of the products

Educate your client on your technique, products, professional knowledge

Practice diplomacy at all times

Value their time and the money they are spending

Deliver your treatment with a healing touch and from a place of honor

Have a purpose when selling client product purchases, not just the commission

Create a valuable treatment design for both your client and yourself

Now that we have a basic architecture of a client-centric attitude we can create a phenomenal spa experience in your dry room, massage room, or spa suite.

Adopt a creative opened minded perspective

Spas are highly experiential and clients are largely there for the what they can receive from you that they cannot get anywhere else. That puts a lot of pressure on you, but clients also understand minor imperfections, as long as the overall experience meets their needs. The full mind-body element that spas have long boasted is reflected in a close interaction of the psyche and soma. The “psychosomatic” element I’m talking about is not the one shrouded by mystics or doubt, it is simply the conscious expression of what the mind sees as a representation and what the body feels and remembers in relation to that. I talk about the connection element and body memory because those are just the types of markers we are creating in our spa. This includes our body treatments and our client relationship management. This is a pretty big deal when it comes to creating a winning and memorable technique that will keep clients
on the book.

We find that with spa therapies and techniques without the use of a wet room, be a little more work for clean up, but they are perfectly satisfactory to your clientèle.After all your not performing an invasive procedure, and your focus should be onskin & body benefit without the machines, bells or whistles.

Just as you can private label your spa products, and create prescriptive spa music for your location, you can create operational distinction with great hands on technique, style and authenticity during your training and treatments. Take that psychosomatic element to the next level with what ever will work in your market. Consider the growing sustainability movement in both personal and business aspects. Be sincere about including organic product, or supporting a worthwhile cause that support human sustainability.

Our body and minds, will relate, and create a more personal connection with something of authenticity.

With stiff competition and spas in almost every major city in the world, each one is looking to create something unique. We found a chocolate spa suite in the German Bavarian Alps, a turquoise wrap at Golden Door, Arizona, and a tequila wrap, champagne wrap, red wine and green tea souffle wrap, and an Asian bamboo scrub all in different parts of the Your boundaries are solely created by your own experiences.

We no longer have the restrictive, claustrophobic wraps from previous spa “health” resorts,but soothing, heated, loose wraps that allow us to take in the product benefits, nourish and hydrate the skin, along with the relaxing mind-body getaway of the whole process. This is especially true if you have a good therapist, one who doesn’t leave you to wonder what they are chatting and laughing about outside the door, while you lay confined in your wrap alone.

Though water can create a quick clean up, and a different sensation for the body, it may not be the choice for you, nor is it absolutely necessary to gain the effects you want. The focus of great spa technique, is the sweep of the brush, the follow through with the hand, the effluerage massage, and the product itself as the catalyst to success. You can be in any location in the world and be creative in the work you do. What you give to the client is the nourishing and hydrating benefit with each wrap, or the smoothing and ex foliation with each scrub. Maybe it’s more results oriented with a detox wrap or cellulite treatment. Whatever is on the menu, people who are patrons of body treatments, love the whole process that goes with it, and the beneficial after effects for the skin. Know your clientèle, and your will be able to address their needs.

Identify body therapy techniques for the masses vs. tailored treatments

One client I spoke to who was accustomed to visiting the Four Season, St. Regis, and other high end spas, reiterated the fact that her overall satisfaction and praise of the treatment was due to the visceral reaction and overall feel of the treatment process. This is what her body remembered. Fitting in along the lines of the experiential factor. She has had every imaginable treatment, but whether it was the super, signature, ultimate deluxe wrap with gold flecks and a twenty head Vichy shower or the basic salt scrub, with table salt, she wanted the benefit to the skin and the psyche – soma (psychosomatic) connection.

When I was acting as Director of a tropical spa in Central America, we had some unique trials to overcome that induced a new level of creativity with spa treatments. We had adopted green practices of water conservation, not because the spa owner and developer wanted it that way but more because there was no other choice. In the aftermath of development he knew it had been wasteful to include a large infinity pool, a man made stream running through the back corridor, and lavish fountains. They sat as an empty reminder to adapt your development and expectations to the realities of your surrounding environment. With many days, where water would be scarce a trickle in the tap or sometimes not at all, we certainly were a proponent of spa techniques and body wraps in a dry room. Rather than risk a poorly developed spa treatment in a wet room, we became adept at selling massage & body wrap packages. We simply adapted heated towels, and layers of spa wrap, blankets, linens and a hydroculator to convert any room into a specialty spa suite. We were successful. However, water, or lack of was not our only challenge. We continued to have to locate and ship products from the capital 3 ½ hours away, or in some
lucky cases bring in a lot of additional “personal items” after a visit to a U.S. Trade show. Another seemingly permanent addition to our tropical spa was importing crates of products, including Javenese lulur, Balinese boreh, aryvedic items, equipment and boutique inventory from Indonesia. This was a long and tedious process, that added on sufficient operational costs and an uneven flow of supply and demand for treatment products and retail purchases.

These challenges at times could be an operational disaster. I had to intervene, and let the owner know, it was time to shift focus and get back to the readily available native indigenous plants, fruits, flowers and healing aspects based in the local culture.

The choice to embrace the local indigenous cultures of the Bri Bri and Maleku Indian tribes brought a new element to the spa, and we were able to blend it with the existing concept. Simultaneously in doing so we decreased our over head, and operation difficulties without sacrificing our quality or healing elements.

With the use of the local market, where everything was free and clear of chemicals, we were able to create a honey – almond scrub, a yogurt-spice wrap, carrot – milk mask, and volcanic detox wrap. In addition to that, with the local culture and history of native healers we were able to include a amapola, ginger flower, musa bucari and other dried herbs and flowers into further treatment elements. Clients loved them!

Without the benefit of a lot of water, and the self designed Vichy shower system as a non functional setback, we did these all without the use of a wet room. Each client was met with a “ritual” that was created with a corresponding story for each body treatment, including drink and food, welcome ceremony and gift. We also got creative with our hours, in offering an evening stream side body scrub by moonlight. We used the streams water to pump into a free standing outdoor shower with shower head heater. This worked perfectly in our tropical element, and added to the guest experience. Even when met with these
challenges in a remote area, we were able to use our experience and knowledge of the guests expectations to accomplish our goal.

There are spas around the world, some of which I’m sure run into similar challenges of geographic location, resources or available technician talent. Some recent news from spas trends in Singapore shows that Asian spa treatments are leaning towards the basics when it comes to designing spa experiences. This means using aryvedic influences, and going back to traditional Chinese medicine, organic/natural based elements, and a holistic client focus to bring them something unique. And these are all performed
without a wet room.

As mentioned earlier there has been a large population of spa owners, operators, and practitioner’s going for a more holistic and inner healing element with their own spa design and client treatment.

Melinda Taschetta-Millane, from Global Cosmetic Industry Magazine says, ……What’s hot in Singapore? Sinnathurai [manager of RafflesAmrita Spa, Singapore] is seeing a surge in body treatments using chocolate, tamaran scrub, papaya wrap, saffron and coffee as main ingredients.” She also experienced many treatments with a foundation in Thailand’s rich natural products and resources. Including sugar cane, rain forest honey, and jasmine rice. A trend that delivers what clients need, while creating local benefits.

All of this, along with the rise in natural products, confirms the same trend happening on the other side of the world in our Central America spa. It is best when designing your spa treatment to utilize available and natural elements, while promoting an authenticity of individual cultures. You can use this to create benefit, sensation, change, or the highly sought after lifestyle element needed in spas.

People from around the world visit exotic destination spas and tourism is on the rise in more remote locations. However you still have plenty of opportunity to capture your local market in and create an experience that would feel like a vacation, without being a resort, or having the capital of a large With a little research and creativity you can accomplish your own goals

Here’s a quick list of essentials for dry treatment body techniques. You won’t need every item for one treatment, but this is a comprehensive list of what you will need to provide an excellent body treatment, without the use of a hydro tub, Vichy shower, shower or, steam room.

Hot towel cabby

Large and small towels (dry & moist)

Large blanket (wool is preferred)

Plastic sheets (perforated) or cotton roll

Mylar sheets/foils

Waterproof sheets

Thermal sheets

Heated blanket

Mixing bowls

Spatula

Large body brush

Small facial brush

Hydroculator

Facial sponges

Steamer

Sheets (more extra sheets to cover floor)

Eye pillow or eye pads

Great branded product (or your own private label)

OR – Organic/Natural product with products from farmers market or health food store for your own

mix

Sea salt, Moor mud,Sugar,Seaweed, Honey, dried herbs, sea algae, clay

Refreshing drink and a straw for your client

Your own personal element

In weighing the difference between treatments for the masses vs. tailored treatments, you should lean towards something for the masses. By this I don’t mean to contradict our previous element of authenticity, but rather a treatment that doesn’t have to be custom made for each guest. Find a treatment and a protocol that is easily replicated with consistency in quality.

Valuation of Sales – Wet vs. Dry
We previously mentioned the costs of build out, and possible equipment concerns with wet rooms. Now let’s take a deeper look into what you will be facing with your choice of building a wet area or opting out.

Pre opening expense wet room – $30,000

Estimated Spa Occupancy 40 – 50%

Average Wet Room Treatment Price – $110

Treatments per day (one room) – 1- 2

Days per week of operation – 6

Weeks per year of operation – 52

Treatment per year @ 100% – 312 (based on one per day)

Treatment per year @ 50% – 156

Treatments per month @ 100% – 24 (based on one per day)

Treatment per month @ 50% – 12

Monthly Wet Room ROI – $1,320 (before cost of treatment is calculated and subtracted)

This is not quite what you had in mind when you thought of a soothing wet room inclusion in your spa concept. Even at 2 treatments per day, the ROI is still pretty meager compared to what other average service sells bring.

Here’s another look at the time it takes to reach break even on wet room vs. time it takes to reach break even on dry room.

Wet Room Ultimate 2 4 6 52 1,248 96 50% 48

Vichy Shower Wrap

With this enthusiastic calculation you will still need 12 months to make $63,360 – which

leaves you with $3,360 after paying for two wet rooms. This is all before calculating cost per

treatment, interest, tax, and fixed expenses. Which would take you into the red.

Dry room/ Body wrap/scrub 5 10 6 52 3120 240 50% 120

Massage room

With the same treatment price at $110 , utilizing your massage/dry rooms when a body treatment is needed, leaves you with $158,400 in 12 months, before calculating cost per treatment, interest, tax, and fixed expenses. Which would you rather have?

Be your own spokesperson
Whether you are already practicing, or are about to embark on a spa career, you will need to hone your skills in “selling” yourself. This means having the ability to have a social but professional attitude towards the client, network both in and out of your work boundaries, and above all, tell people what you do. No one will care more about what your doing than you, and if you can create enthusiasm in others about what you do in your profession, you’ve done a great job at selling.

Can you confidently be your own spokes person? This means are you ready to put your self out there for questions. Have you done your due diligence in knowing the spa trends, products and equipment options that can be used? Are you confident in your training and goals? These are all things to consider in your style career, and your growth.

Handling client Q & A

Having the savvy to address your clients questions intelligently and with enough knowledge that it gives you a step up from th steep competition, will ensure your on your way to a successful “style career” with spa techniques. Even better, taking the time to anticipate client questions about your spa training, techniques, products, and benefits will leave you and your staff with a preparedness that will simply become habit.

Bottom Line

It is up to you to decide which direction to pursue with new spa techniques, and with all of the information, trade shows, articles and training out there, it can be overwhelming to find what you need.

If you didn’t receive spa training in your formal licensing, you may be looking for more in depth training on spa therapies and techniques that can be added to your spa menu. I would suggest looking for specific classes that are spa related to obtain your continuing hands on credits. This can easily be located by doing a search onyahoo or Google for key words like “Spa Training” or “Spa therapist CEU’S”. You can check to see if your school offers a graduate refresher course, purchase an informative DVD training, see if they have a manual that they can include, attend seminars, manufacturer’s classes at expo’s, and participate in tele seminars. For the more ambitious you may even, receive licensing in two areas, like esthetic’s and massage, giving you a broader range of skills. There are many spa related schools and resources to include in your bag of tricks. Find one that fits your concept, lifestyle and most importantly one that excites you. After all knowledge is power, and that applies to spa techniques too. How you present yourself, your education, and your overall spa treatment is a reflection of who you are, and future opportunities. This is what client’s remember.

Does this mean that we are doomed to be read and judged by our visual appearance, and our surroundings? Well, to some degree yes. We subconsciously remember our first visual markers that defined a person or place for the first time. Our sight can render a situation relaxing, tense, or dangerous all in an instant, just as the body remembers emotional and physical markers that stay with us through the years. I once came across a quote that said,”Who you are speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what your saying.” This is exactly how we should think everyday as we approach our work, and our creativity
in our spa treatment and therapies.

Just as the mind unconsciously and automatically remembers each placement of stone or turn in the road on a path you’ve walked day after day, the body too, records the intensity, sensation and benefit of a brush stroke, aromatic smells, temperature and caring of the practitioner in each spa treatment. With or without water.

Whatever you do, incorporate the best body treatment design with an authentic and consistent experience. Elevate the expectations of your spa guests, and teach them to “take the waters” with creative visualization, while you take them on a beautiful escape for the day. An important element in our world, for us as practitioner’s and our guests as willing participants in our personal “style career”, is the bottom line. That meaning being able to own your own time, and be in control of your own destiny. Finding the
right place and the right spa treatment to do that, can be irreplaceable.

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An Interview With Grant Donovan on Varied Matters Relating to Wellness, REAL and Otherwise

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I recently asked Dr. Grant Donovan, one of the earliest promoters of corporate wellness and health promotion, questions about the early years. Here are over a dozen of the questions I put to Dr. Donovan:

1) In what ways was Australia unlike the U.S. for purposes of trying to establish a wellness movement?

2) If you had remained in the wellness business, how might you have expanded upon the wonderful concepts advanced in the early years (mid-80’s and 90’s) when you led Australian conferences, training sessions, wrote books, gave media interviews and engaged in all manner of promotional efforts?

3) Based on your memories of those not-quite-prosperous, golden or halcyon years, how would you describe the key terms of the movement or, if you prefer, the very nature, of a wellness lifestyle, REAL or otherwise as it is or should be today?

4) How much energy did you put into creating a wellness movement in Australia?

5) If you had remained in the wellness business, how might you have expanded upon the wonderful concepts advanced in the early years (mid-80’s and 90’s) when you led Australian conferences, training sessions, wrote books, gave media interviews and engaged in all manner of worksite promotions?

6) Based on your memories of those not-quite-prosperous, golden or halcyon years, how would you describe the key terms of the movement or, if you prefer, the very nature, of a wellness lifestyle, REAL or otherwise?

7) Was there any way the effort could have succeeded (by which I mean “proved profitable” and thus worth continuing)?

8) It seems that corporate and other forms of institutional wellness education has been led by medical doctors, nurses, health administrators, HRA types and maybe a few psychologists? Is there a profession not represented that should have been?

9) Is it possible that a REAL wellness focus, if it comes about, will have more success than the safe, medically based approach that continues to this day?

10) What are best and worst case scenarios for the wellness concept and movement, by any name, ten years or so down the road?

11) Do you believe most people have the capacity to shape and sustain healthy lifestyles?

12) You attended several National Wellness Conferences in the 80’s and 90’s. What is your take on this annual event?

13) Today and since the beginning in the 80’s, worksite wellness has been focused on disease prevention, risk reduction, exercise promotion, stress management, nutritional basics and the like? Is that what you were promoting under the wellness banner?

14) What are the prospects for worksite wellness?

15) When asked, “Grant, tell me please: What’s it all about,” what do you say?

16) What advice do you have for those with little time left, which I suppose is all of us?

I invited Grant to pick and choose as many or as few of these questions to address as he wished. Grant pondered and pondered and pondered. Weeks went by. Reports of pondering going on came in, week after week. Finally, about a month after sending the questions, Grant sent this commentary. In my opinion, his response addresses all the questions and a few that did not occur to me-and maybe one or two I was afraid to ask. Enjoy.

Grant Donovan’s Response

I have been looking at both sets of questions and decided to ignore them all and give you one short answer. Okay, not so much an answer as a wandering series of self-assembling thoughts.

The eighties version of Australian workplace wellness morphed into high performance through self-management. Much more catchy for the bosses. Something they understood and wanted to pay for. Wellness was too esoteric. They wanted hard performance improvements, more dollars and less new age philosophy. They would pay small fortunes for critical thinking, self-management, teamwork, empowering leadership and a range of other wellness skills but little or nothing for programs called wellness.

So we moved on, made a smaller fortune out of real wellness and never used the term once. It was all in the language. The memes.

Which makes me think that wellness lacks a precise meme. When Halbert Dunn and your good self, respectively, coined and popularized the word, it mutated very quickly to become a generic term attached to everything from hand holding and swaying to disease avoidance to alternative medicine to spiritual enlightenment to whatever definition anyone wanted to apply. The genie was out of the bottle very early and it doesn’t appear to be going back any time soon.

Your personal efforts to reset the meme with REAL Wellness is heroic and may succeed but I have my doubts. Not because your efforts won’t be Herculean but because REAL Wellness may only be for the special few. For people like you and a few friends who have the time, money and inclination to dabble. My global observation suggests the rest still need God. Someone to lean on as they slave away at just staying alive. Working hard to exist, without time to contemplate the bigger questions. And this is probably a good thing because if they all stopped to recognize the complete meaninglessness of their lives, nobody would turn up.

By meaningless, I don’t mean life is not valuable or worth living because it clearly is for many people. I personally find it fun, challenging and quirky. By meaningless, I mean it is random and pointless. Totally irrelevant. From a wellness perspective, meaninglessness is extremely liberating. It allows for a freedom of thought and action that cannot be attained through the conforming rigidity of pre-determined purpose. It allows for a rational, critical thought process that renders emotive storytelling mute and lifts scientific logic to a special place, from where we can see the behavioral expression of meaninglessness very clearly.

Okay, so meaninglessness is the answer.

Now you know what Grant Donovan thinks about the issues I raised. I asked Grant for a few lines to go with his interview. He replied: “I’m following the opposite path to Charlie Sheen, with limited or no exposure to the outside world. Your readers will already know that I’m just a good Aussie friend, who doesn’t really have much to say.”

Well, I can respect that, but just the same, here is a brief, unauthorized mini-background bio update on Grant Donovan, Ph.D. A graduate of the University of Western Australia, he is the Managing Partner at Perception Mapping in Perth, Australia and a few other market research firms, including SevenSeventeen and Workplace Global Network. He and I co-authored “Live More of Your Life the Wellness Way” and “Die Healthy” decades ago. We co-presented many times in cities throughout Australia, the U.S., Canada and even Malaysia, but our most memorable performance was a workshop at the National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point, WI. in 1994 devoted to “The Wellness Orgasm.” It was quite a hit.

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Conventional, Versus Wellness Approach, To Health

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What we consider, the conventional approach, to health, in the United States, differs, in many ways, from the way, most of the rest of the world, considers, and approaches, this concept. Many seem to believe, a conventional approach, means, using allopathic medicine, which includes, a primary emphasis on chemically designed, prescriptions, and treatments, while, in most other nations, this approach, includes, both allopathy, as well as alternative remedies, and treatments. Which way, is best for you, depends, on your specific mindset, attitude, overall health, condition, beliefs, etc. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, the different approaches, and some of the different advantages, and disadvantages.

1. Conventional approach: The disadvantage of the so – called, conventional approach, is it pays more attention, often, to the symptoms, rather than all the possible causes, etc. It treats ailments, usually, by using a chemical – drug, to reduce and treat the ailment. It is important to recognize, illnesses, and ailments, should be divided into, chronic versus acute ones, and life – threatening, versus, more common illnesses. I strongly believe, there are many acute conditions, which are best treated with drugs, but there are also circumstances, when the side effects, and potential dangers, may make it less logical. Obviously, when the ailment is life – threatening, such as cancers, severe organ issues (such as pneumonia, liver problems, etc), they need immediate, dramatic treatment, while, at other times, it might make more sense, to use, an alternative approach.

2. Alternative approach: Many use methods, such as Reiki, acupuncture, Ayuverdic, homeopathy, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements, etc, as an essential part of taking care of their overall health. These often, enhance our immunity, and what we refer to, as resistance. However, one must take care, to do so, in consultation, with a qualified, open – minded, health professional, who is able to use, either approach. Don’t abandon prescribed medications, without thoroughly discussing with your doctor! Know the risks and benefits.

3. Wellness: An intelligent, seamless, merger of both, conventional, and alternative treatments, is, often, the wisest approach. In most of the rest of the world, non – chemical approaches, are used, before conventional ones, in order to minimize over – use, and dependence, and minimize side – effects, and attempt to enhance our body’s immunity and immune system. This is the essence of a wellness program, where we proceed, and take advantage of any modalities, which might enhance and improve our overall health.

Beware, you should do your research, and consult qualified, trained health professionals, in order to use the best combination. It’s up to you!

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Predictors of Healthy Aging – Adult Health and Wellness

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There seems to be a formula for healthy aging, suggested by the latest research on centenarians and the research comparing people in their 20’s – 40’s to those in their 60’s – 90’s. Some of the predictors of healthy aging include: physical, intellectual, emotional, relational, spiritual and sexual. Maintaining health and wellness in each of these areas may not prolong your life, but it will certainly improve the quality and enjoyment of your daily existence as you age. And, you may be surprised to find your are living longer than you ever imagined possible.

Physical Predictors of Healthy Aging

A supplement to the November/December 2006 Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior presented the new MyPyramid Food Guidance System, an updated replacement of the former Food Guide Pyramid, based upon research completed over several years.

According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), a healthy diet:

o emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grain and fat-free or low- fat milk and milk products
o includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
o is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars

Tufts University researchers have updated their Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults to correspond with the MyPyramid. This modified version of the MyPyramid continues to emphasize nutrient-dense food choices and the importance of fluid balance, but has added additional guidance about forms of foods that could best meet the unique needs of older adults. In addition, there is greater emphasis upon the importance of regular physical activity.

The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults was published in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. Added to the new pyramid is a foundation depicting physical activities characteristic of older adults, such as walking, yard work and swimming.

Government statistics indicate that obesity in adults 70 years and older has been increasing, physical activity is one way to avoid weight gain in later years and its adverse effects. Older adults tend to need fewer calories as they age because their metabolic rates tend to slow down. Even if they continue to exercise, they are often not quite as physically active as when they were younger. But their bodies still require the same or higher levels of nutrients to maintain optimal health. Regular physical activity is linked to reduced risk of chronic disease, lower body weight and improved quality of life for older adults.

The Tufts University recommendations for older adults include the following:

o Whole, enriched, and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice & 100% wheat bread
o Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli
o Deep-colored fruit such as berries and melon
o Low- and non-fat dairy products such as yogurt and low-lactose milk
o Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs
o Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat
o Fluid intake
o Physical activity such as walking, house work and yard work.

Intellectual Predictors of Healthy Aging

Healthy aging requires keeping our minds active before and especially after retirement, regularly learning something new and participating in new activities, maintaining an interest in and passion for reading and current events, and often reflecting on the good things in life.

Emotional Predictors of Healthy Aging

Emotionally healthy people are optimistic, generally happy with life, rarely hostile, recover quickly from angry episodes, and tend to live longer. They cope well with stress, maintaining a good sense of humor and a positive attitude, regardless of how the circumstances in their life unfold, and they continue to develop many outlets for recreation and relaxation.

Relational Predictors of Healthy Aging

Those who remain healthy as they age tend to feel supported by a large social network of family and friends. They tend to frequently help others, have many younger friends, remain in successful marriages or enjoy a full single life, attending social functions and sharing happy events with others.

Spiritual Predictors of Healthy Aging

Spiritually connected people tend to fare better as they age. Spiritual commitments and practices, such as daily prayer, meditation, or regular church attendance, help them to maintain a strong sense of personal purpose and meaning in life as well as ongoing appreciation of the beauty and power of nature and its natural rhythms and cycles.

Sexual Predictors of Healthy Aging

Those who age successfully continue to feel joyful and passionate about life. They tend to continue to derive sensual and sexual pleasure, within their own body, in physical and emotional contact with others, and in connection with the natural environment.

The Formula for Healthy Aging seems to include:

o A large supportive social network of family, friends, and neighbors
o A daily spiritual practice and faith in a higher power
o A healthy lifestyle including exercise, nutrition, rest, sleep and play
o An active imagination, intellectual stimulation, and a passion for learning
o Emotional well being, an optimistic outlook, and a good sense of humor
o Passion for life, sensual and sexual aliveness, and appreciation of nature

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A Nussentials Third Party Review – Just Another Health And Wellness MLM?

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If you are looking into the Nussentials MLM opportunity, here is some information that may prove helpful. Nussentials is a true MLM company, meaning it is not some sort of pyramid scheme or other scam. The president is Phil Mims. Mr. Mims has extensive Network Marketing industry experience, having built organizations of hundreds of thousands of people. If your passion is health and wellness, Nussentials is more than just another health and wellness MLM. It is worth a serious look.

It is still a fairly new company. It was started in Texas in 2006. If you are going to be in the health and wellness niche, you need medical credibility. Nussentials has this credibility. Their Medical Advisory Board has some serious credentials, and they are detailed on the website. This medical experience is an excellent marketing tool for Nussentials. You can’t just say your products are healthful. You have to be able to back it up.

Nussentials offers a wide range of products based on all-natural stabilized rice bran. Rice bran is the layer of the grain right under the husk. Most of the rice we eat doesn’t have the bran. 60% of the nutrients in rice are found in the bran. If you have eaten brown rice, it is easy to tell the difference between it and white rice. It’s light brown and has a nutty flavor; it is also chewier. In processing white rice, the bran is made into animal feed and other products. A great deal of natural nutrition is being used for other purposes. Antioxidants, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, Vitamin E with tocotrienols and tocopherols, and much more is lost in this processing. Nussentials makes it available in its products.

Their product line is not a traditional line of vitamins and minerals. With Nussentials everything is based on all natural rice bran. This could be a Unique Selling Proposition, something most MLM businesses lack. The product line includes an energy product called Alert!, a heart healthy cardiovascular fortifier called Cardio!, a weight management product called Less!, plus skin supplements, healthy coffee, a pomegranate drink, and more. The product line seems to be of high quality, and their website shows the science behind the products documented by third parties.

There are multiple income sources with Nussentials. There is upfront bonus income, and the other basic category is residual income. The compensation plan is a variation on the forced matrix. This one is a 3×8. This means that there are only 3 slots available directly under a distributor on the first level. Anyone else you sign up has to go in the organization of one of these three people. This is called “spillover” in MLM comp plan geekspeak. Because of this spillover, you can actually earn money from distributors that are placed below you by people above you. This is a good thing. The 8 in the 3×8 means that the matrix goes down to 8 levels. As with many MLM comp plans, the larger commission rates are down a few levels. With Nussentials you’ll make the highest commission rates in levels 4 and 5. If this puts you off, you probably don’t want to be in a Network Marketing company. Large income earners have organizations much deeper than 4 or 5 levels.

For someone looking at a health and wellness MLM, this all should sound pretty good. But it isn’t enough. A solid, reputable company is very important, but you’ll need more. Your level of success will depend on your ability to attract new reps to you and your business. How do you plan to generate leads when friends and family run out? Answer this question right and you’ll be on your way.

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Aging is Inevitable – Adult Health and Wellness

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Aging is Inevitable

Although aging is inevitable, how we look, feel and cope as we get older, is not. Aging affects each of us at different rates and in different ways. Even within the same individual, each organ and organ system ages differently, influenced by genetics, environment, lifestyle, attitudes, social networks, spiritual connections, and overall health and well being.

In infancy and childhood, we can be fairly accurate in predicting physical growth and development at different ages and stages. But as we age, there is no uniform timetable. Chronological age is notAging is Inevitable

How Do You Know When You Are Old?

Stereotypical Signs of Aging

• You get dizzy when you stand up or bend over

• Your joints and muscles ache all the time

• Your skin is itchy, spotty, wrinkled and dry

• Your body fluctuates between constipation and diarrhea

• You have poor muscle tone, tire easily, and often feel weak

• You are often irritable, grouchy, depressed and generally unhappy

• You can’t remember what you did an hour ago

• You’ve stopped learning or trying new things

The above symptoms are generally considered to be inevitable effects of aging, but these are actually signs of lifestyle deficiencies, injury, and disease.

Physiologic Changes and Aging

Past research about aging has focused on patients suffering from illness and disability, observed in doctors’ offices, clinics or hospital settings. What we have believed about aging, it seems, has been a reflection of the effects of disease process and unhealthy lifestyle. Studies are only beginning to focus on active seniors and the normal aging process.

• Aging is NOT Disease

Physiologic changes that occur with aging do not necessarily cause disability. Aging does not inevitably lead to declining levels of cardiac functioning, bone density, muscular strength, cognitive ability and memory, sexual desire and activity, physical and social functioning, nor does aging insure rising levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and anemia. But aging does decrease the body’s ability to withstand and respond to stress. As we age, we are less able to regulate pulse rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, blood glucose, serum sodium, and blood ph levels under stress. Aging leads to greater difficulty reacting to injury and the probability that the stress of injury will lead to acute or chronic illness over time.

• One Percent Rule

From age 30 onward, most organ systems lose roughly one percent of their functioning each year. The percent of loss does not increase as we age.

• Body Organs Age Differently

The physiologic state for any organ in our body is affected by the rate of change that organ has experienced multiplied by the number of years that change has occurred. As we age, changes in one organ does not predict changes in other organs.

• Dementia is NOT Part of Normal Aging

Memory decline with age is common, but does not inevitably lead to dementia which is an illness. Dementia-type symptoms include hearing loss, confusion or disorientation, difficulty performing simple tasks and making every day decisions, as well as changes in mood and loss of interest in life activities.

* Remaining Healthy is Often a Lifestyle Choice

Scientists and wellness experts alike are discovering that we are more than our genetic makeup. We do actually influence our own aging processes through diet, exercise, stress management, rest, sleep, social activity, positive mental thought and spiritual connection. Remaining healthy is often just a lifestyle choice and the choice is yours.

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Wellness International Network (WIN) Home Business Review

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In October 1992, Wellness International Network, Ltd. (WIN) became a reality. WIN’s Founders, Ralph and Cathy Oats saw the potential for the health and wellness industry and knew they could make a positive mark by providing others with a vehicle to achieve total wellness: mentally, physically and financially.

WIN is headquartered in North Dallas’ prestigious Legacy Business Park campus, while its European affiliate, WIN Worldwide BV , is located in Hoofddorp, Netherlands and its South African affiliate, Wellness International Network S.A. (Pty) Limited, is located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Heading into the company’s 16th year of business, Ralph and Cathy’s vision is ever expanding as they build WIN into a billion-dollar business.

The product line includes new protein shake, an omega-3 supplement and a new hair-care collection. Diving into the latest trend, anti-aging, WIN unveiled a skin-care line using the technology to help wipe away the signs of aging.

You can use Wellness International Network’s products with confidence, the product line ranges from products geared to help increase energy, stamina, weight loss and enhance mental function and mood to a complete line of cellular nutritional products, plus skin- and hair-care products.

WIN’s complete nutritional line is listed in the PDR® for Nonprescription Drugs, Dietary Supplements and Herbs. The PDR is distributed to more than 300,000 physicians and healthcare professionals across the United States giving them a comprehensive overview on WIN’s nutritional products.

WIN seems to have some very solid products in their line and their marketing strategy is based on sampling with the Five Step Program. This approach is focused on using and sharing the products and opportunity. With this kind of marketing you have to consume a lot of different products yourself before you can share your experience with others. That’s why people invest a lot af money before they see some results. WIN’s compensation plan is somewhat confusing and hard to understand.

To sum it up, WIN appears to be a legitimate business opportunity. The executive team is experienced in their field and have come up with what appears to be products with mass appeal. As with any business, it takes hard work and dedication to succeed. If you like marketing many different products, maybe this could be something for you. Keep in mind the possible investments of all the different products.

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Create New Fashions and Set Trends in Hair Dressing

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Fashion is a way of life that brings changes and beautiful traditions with it. So much so, more people are fascinated with fashion than with food and cooking. To say that one is hungry is not as bad as saying one is out of style. Hairdressing is an important aspect of fashion. What is it that makes this so important?

Importance of hairstyling

First, one must acknowledge that one’s hair is the best thing about a person. If the hair is not well maintained, neatly trimmed, and oiled, the person will not look attractive. Hair that does not stay in place will make that person look like a hooligan. The unkempt look will draw dirty looks and he will soon be barred from his own social circle.

Due to this, there is a renewed interest among the job seekers of today to become a hairdresser. For one thing, there is no need to invest a huge sum of money to become a successful hairdresser. One only needs a small shop and one will be set for life. One can undergo one of the many Hair Dressing Courses in Delhi and learn the needed skills from the professionals.

Things to learn in hairdressing

By taking this course, you will learn things like the basics of blow drying and volume blow drying techniques. This is needed because it is an important part of hairdressing. The next thing is you learn hair tonging and hair ironing. It will teach you how to straighten hair and set curls in it. This will take barely one week. They also teach you the latest cuts doing fashion trends now. Skills included will be Natural Inversion, Forward Graduation, and Square Layers.

The advanced course will include classic cuts and it takes 10 days. You can do this to lay the best foundation for your hairdressing career. Here the skills taught will include Transient Mid Length and Transient Length Haircut, Graduated Bob, and Transient Bob. They also teach you how to make Short Round Layers. Along with this, you can take the color course that teaches you the root level application of color to hair. You also learn the Global Color Application. This is one of the Best Hairdressing Courses Delhi.

Learn hair styling methods

Students learn safety methods in haircutting and styling. They are taught how to choose a product as per the nature of a person’s hair. The practical experience in hair waving and chemical straightening will be of immense importance for them. With step by step instructions, the students learn through actual practice how to implement the latest methods and use the latest styles in hairdressing.

It is important to fast track your career in the hairdressing business. Learning how to create highlights in the hair and achieving color corrections help students make a new path for themselves. Your tutor will instruct you personally on how to make changes needed to make a person’s hair fall in line with the latest trend. Advanced techniques like thermal straightening, wet hairstyling, and thermal curling are also taught. This will help one become a master in this art.

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Stick to a Wellness Program by Developing Your Grit

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What is it that pushes us to achieve our wildest and most improbable goals? Grit, defined by Angela Duckworth and her colleagues, is the combination of perseverance and passion for important life goals. Leaders in art, medicine, law, journalism and other fields have it. More important than the diet, exercise plan or yoga class you choose, is staying with it. Developing your grit will help you stick to your wellness program, even in the face of setbacks.

Here are some suggestions for getting more gritty.

* Find your passion. Before picking a diet or exercise plan, read, study and experiment. Nutritionists, personal trainers and other experts are good sources of information. Like to work out with a buddy? Find one. Can’t live without pasta? There are diets out there that include it. You’ll have to try different approaches until you identify something you can enthusiastically embrace. Enjoying your plan will help you stick to it.

* Emulate successful models. Talk to people who maintain a healthy lifestyle. Their success can be inspiring. Try to learn not only what they do, but how they stick to it. Some swear by the first-thing-in-the-morning, get-a start-on-the-day workout. Others prefer the structure of a class. Use only those strategies that you can be positive about and that fit with your lifestyle and preferences.

* Dedicate yourself. Dedication to a goal involves a combination of unwavering commitment and persistence to the goal over time. If you decide you’re going to walk daily or three times a week, make it happen. If eating yoghurt and fruit for lunch every day and sleeping at least 8 hours a night works, keep doing it. If you’re a novelty freak, change it up, as long as you dedicate to the overarching goal.

* Learn from setbacks. There’s no need to dwell on possibilities for failure, but don’t be surprised by setbacks. Face problems squarely and use them productively to modify your approach. Injure yourself biking or find your meditation class cancelled? Rehab, rest or substitute other activities, but don’t give up the changes you’ve already made. Using your setbacks as opportunities for growth will keep you optimistic.

* Run the marathon, not the sprint. When you start to fatigue, get bored or encounter obstacles, it’s not time to quit. If your schedule changes and you can’t get to the gym lunchtime, decide when you can get there. Don’t overdo it, but do keep it interesting. Challenge yourself by gradually raising the bar. Remember you’re in it for the long haul.

Once you reach your goals, use the grit you’ve developed to maintain your gains. A gritty approach to maintaining your program will give you a lifetime of wellness.

Copyright, 2010 Judith Tutin, Ph.D.

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Would You Dare Swallow a Hair Strand, Even in Your Favorite Soup?

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Sometimes you may find a strand of hair in your soup and just decide to overlook it and swallow it together with the soup. A single hair strand is not really dangerous as it is very small and the highest possibility is that it will just pass through the digestive tract. However, the hair poses a danger when it forms a clump, which would eventually form a giant hairball in your stomach necessitating the need to see a doctor. So, what happens when you swallow hair?

Some species of bacteria may try acting on the hair, leading to stomach upsets and/or diarrhea. This scenario is, however, very unlikely.

Hair is densely packed with a protein called keratin which has a very fibrous structure. Keratin requires long exposure to extreme acidic or alkaline conditions and temperatures way above 100 degree Celsius in order to break down. The human digestive system, however, cannot contain such conditions, making it impossible for humans to break keratin down. Most hair just passes through the digestive tract alongside other materials that cannot be digested and they are eliminated in the feces. You can therefore take chances if it is only a single hair strand. However, keep in mind that too many hair strands may eventually clump up and get stuck in the stomach.

Swallowing hair is a scenario that is also very common in cats. Like humans, cats also cannot digest hair, which is fur in their case. The hair that does not make it out of their digestive system builds up in their stomach forming a firm dense hair ball, also known as a trichobezoar. Most cats eventually get to vomit the hair balls before situation gets too bad.

Humans also begin developing hair balls when they eat a lot of hair. This sometimes happens to people suffering from trichophagia, a unique disorder of eating hair. Unlike cats, humans do not vomit their hair balls. Instead, the hair just sits in the stomach, obstructing the normal functioning of the digestive system. Eating hair can greatly alter the functioning of the liver and pancreas.

Some symptoms of trichobezoars in humans include:

Vomiting

Nausea

Appearance of hair and/or blood in the stool

Poor appetite

Foul breath

Constipation

Bowel obstruction

Excessive gas

Bowel perforation

Excessive weight loss.

In extreme cases, a strand of hair ball can reach down the small intestines, a condition commonly known as Rapunzel Syndrome. The doctor can feel the hair ball by gently pushing the in the left upper and mid parts of the patients abdomen.

The hair balls can also be diagnosed using gastrointestinal X-rays, using ultrasound or looking into the patient’s stomach using an endoscope. Removal of this hair necessitates a major surgery where the doctor opens up the digestive track then pulls out the hair.

Considering all these things, you eventually realize it is not worth overlooking that single hair strand because as harmless as it may seem, it may cost you a lot. It is therefore important to avoid mistakes that can be very costly. As they say; ”to be safe is better than to be sorry.”

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The Planet Pluto, the Human Body, the NWI and Understanding the REAL Dimensions of Wellness

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Introduction

The initial title of this essay was, What Is the Relevance of the Planet Pluto, Carl Linnaeus, the Human Body, and the National Wellness Institute (NWI) Six Dimension Wellness Model for the Fate of the Wellness Movement? I was prepared to address this riveting question that puzzled no one on which I believe the movement hovers between eventual ruin and immediate acclaim.

My editor, however, would have none of it. Thus, the shorter title.

Pluto, the Human Body and NWI’s Six Dimensions

Pluto was recognized as the outermost planet in our solar system for a century before the International Astronomical Union (IAU) demoted it a few years ago. Astronomers decided Pluto does not dominate the neighborhood around its orbit, one of the three criteria that must be met for a planet to be considered as such. Now it’s officially a dwarf planet.

Bye bye planet Pluto.

The human body has three main parts (head, trunk and limbs), 12 systems (cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal and urinary) and 78 organs. (I’m not going to list the latter – it would consume too much space and besides, this is a family wellness report.)

It may be that the human body has other parts, yet to be discovered. We should keep an open mind. Who knew Pluto would get the kibosh, in time, back in the day when Percival Lowell was acclaimed for spotting this icy dwarf rock in 1905. There it was, way the hell out there, perhaps struggling mightily to dominate the neighborhood of its orbit. Yet, a revision of the planet’s status did occur. New discoveries are always been made; the human body might be next. Why should we think that all 12 systems and 78 organs are all we’ve got? Maybe there’s another part of us that has been overlooked, besides the head, trunk and limbs.

Once again, we are reminded: Keep an open mind.

Which brings me to the six dimension model of the NWI.

Criteria for Dimensions of Wellness

A dimension of wellness should identify and illuminate the broad elements, principles or requirements of a consistent philosophy or concept of living (i.e., lifestyle).

A dimension of wellness should draw a picture of what is entailed by this unique positive mindset that promotes wellbeing.

Used as a noun, a dimension in the English language refers to the property of a thing, as in the concept of wellness as a philosophy or lifestyle having x number of characteristics. The generalization of this property as having dimensions would apply to elements that it entails, such as exercise, nutrition or management of stress or emotions. Used as a verb with an object, a dimension can shape an idea or mode of functioning to fit and contain the elements pursuing specific outcomes, such as high levels of physical and mental wellbeing.

The six dimensions that NWI claims as expressive dimensions of the wellness concept do not serve such purposes. They are not dimensions. They are generic terms for sectors of life. I refer to the misnamed sectors NWI calls occupational and intellectual dimensions of wellness.

The other four (physical, social, intellectual and spiritual), as employed by NWI, also lack descriptive elements distinguishing wellness mindsets from the norm of just slogging along in these four areas. The NWI provides no standards or descriptive language that associates lifestyle behaviors or levels of functioning that enable optimal functioning in any of the separate categories (i.e., faux dimensions).

The NWI model has been widely adopted by institutions, organizations and practitioners who employ the term wellness. Some have added two other categories as dimensions – environmental and financial. These have the same deficiencies noted above in the NWI model. Sometimes, gobbledegook is tossed into the mix, as in the NWI declaration that the six dimensions derive their resources and services from this model. (No, I don’t know what that means.)

The value of any model depends upon how wellness is defined. NWI goes with this: Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.

Even someone with a dreadful lifestyle could claim wellness as the active process by which he/she has created a successful existence. Nothing in this definition or the six/eight model of the concept addresses the nature of a successful existence. Lots of overweight, sedentary, stressed out people with dreadful addictions think they have a successful existence, especially if they’re rich and powerful enough to lord it over others. Absent clear standards of a wellness lifestyle, people can delude themselves into thinking their choices are healthful and optimal. Yet, few observers would consider them healthy, or thriving in any positive sense of the word.

One way I’ve been unsuccessful (besides not amassing riches or having anyone I can (or want to) lord it over is in having failed to get out ahead of the pack with an easily understood explanation of wellness and, perhaps, the suggested nature of a successful existence. Of course, I offered definitions of wellness and success in High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease in 1977 and other books since, as well as speeches, newsletters and so on, but evidently I didn’t nail it sufficiently for the majority who adopted the NWI list of six dimensions.

Maybe this wasn’t possible — I’m not sure.

However, the fact that the NWI model of sector dimensions is still out there doesn’t mean I and others interested in promoting wellbeing should not promote clearer, more functional frameworks.

It’s time for all good men and women to come to the aide of the wellness concept. It’s time to challenge an archaic, dysfunctional 1980-era model. There are many possibilities for dimensions of wellness that could inform the ingredients contained within the wellness concept. Try to remember that wellness is not a product, nor is it a service. It’s a positive lifestyle that can be abetted by products or services, but wellness is always a process of functioning that individuals shape, control and manage for themselves. Each person must be the sovereign of his or her own wellbeing.

REAL wellness is a philosophy, a mindset, a set of ideas and principles consistent with embracing life in a positive manner. This is not complicated.

REAL wellness should encourage and guide people to think and function rationally, to live exuberantly, to maintain physical fitness, to dine wisely consistent with factual nutritional knowledge and to live as freely as possible. The latter means becoming liberated from cultural or circumstantial elements such as superstitions, irrational dogmas and other mental and social limitations that add constraints on personal liberties.

The four dimensions of REAL wellness are reason, exuberance, athleticism (exercise and nutrition) and liberty. Thus, the acronym R-E-A-L.

A rendition of a continuum for each dimensions illustrates the characteristics of each of the four dimensions, and the characteristics that obtain when these qualities are totally absent. (If interested, please send a request to the author and an attachment containing this morel will be electronically sent to you.)

Not to Overlook Carl Linnaeus

You might recall that Carl Linnaeus was initially included in the original long–form title of this essay, positioned between Pluto and the human body. However, due to the wordy nature of that preliminary title for this essay, the polymath Swedish botanist, zoologist and physician, the father of modern taxonomy, was cruelly edited out by my lovely editor (AKA my wife Carol).

Nevertheless, I’ll end this by giving the Great Man his due. Long long ago, way back in the 18th century, Linnaeus published a system for classifying living things. He commenced this historic undertaking by introducing just two classes of things, which he called kingdoms. The two classes were animals and plants. If he lived today, he probably would have called his classification the Dimensions of Living Things.

I do not believe he would be offended or surprised to discover that, in the modern world, there are eight levels of hierarchical classification — Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. Instead, he would probably delight and take pride in the evolution of knowledge which he inspired.

And so it is, I hope, with NWI and others who started out with good intentions and sparked new models over time. At least, I hope that will be the case.

Bonne chance, everyone.

Postscript

Experts on wellness models were asked to comment on this essay. Their remarks follow.

Bill Hettler, Minneapolis, MN

Just as in any healthy living ecology, diversity is a positive.

I am OK with your reductionistic four dimensions. But, as you know, I have always been a Y guy and thus am also OK with the YMCA’s Body, Mind and Spirit.

And, I always remember our friend and colleague Robert F. Allen who reminded us that the best wellness model is the one you actually use.

The six dimensions, which I originally wrote, were based on the written materials of many. I was mainly focusing on how people allocated their time. My selection of six dimensions (as an optimal number) was heavily influenced by my desire to have an easy way to show these dimensions in a two-dimensional drawing. You might remember that damn Ardell guy had five dimensions at one point, and I could not for the life of me easily draw pentagons. I actually played around with a three-dimensional model (I am talking drawing type here, not a mere three wellness dimensions) that was an equilateral tetrahedron.

As you recall, my original social dimension included environmental issues. Each dimension is easily expanded or contracted as best suits the purpose of the users.

Each dimension was focused on how much time people spent on activities related to that particular topic. I had an unproven bias that the more balanced one was in the allocation of their time (and therefore their life), the more likely their chances for a long and enjoyable existence.

From a programming standpoint, as pointed out by Rod Lees (below), we noticed that we might be able to interest people in activities in one area more easily than another. By intention, we also tried to promote cross referrals from one area of participation to another.

Be well Don — and keep up the good work of making people think. (That could be part of the Intellectual dimension, if one believed in that sort of thing.)

John Travis, Novato, CA

Yeah, I agree – -they ain’t really dimensions, but categories. And there’s no real philosophy. However, I can’t get very excited about it because the very word wellness has been too dumbed down, with little hope of reversing it. I admire your diligence to keep hammering away at it tho.

Your pessimistic curmudgeon friend.

Rod Lees, Noosa, Australia

I remember hearing a discussion from the academics at university here in Queensland about the differences between wellbeing and wellness. Someone even wrote an academic paper on the topic. I told them that I didn’t care what they called it. It was all about the thought process, the application and the doing.

In my presentation days, I would talk about REAL wellness and also teach the 6-8 dimensions. I did find that for those who were wanting to develop programs for staff, the multiple dimensions seemed to fit well. They could plan activities around each dimension.

So, in the end, I don’t have an opinion as to which is better. Both have value and I think that both should be used and individuals can pick up on the one that speaks to them the most. Or, as I’m guessing you might say, use REAL wellness dimensions when addressing personal lifestyles, and the NWI-like sector models for corporate or other programming.

Derek Bell, Stevens Point, WI

Ha! Love it. I think it’s a good time to assess the value of traditional wellness models. I respect those who have moved away from models like NWI’s, as well as dated pie charts which suggest equal dimensions wherein balance is the key.

I like the position you’ve taken. We need to frame wellness more by human needs and values-based thinking, less by seeking a perfect balance. Your continuum for lifestyle dimensions makes much more sense to me. Keep up the good work! The establishment needs some rattling.

Judd Allen, Burlington, VT

Thank you for sharing your concern that wellness is frequently used without adequate definition. I agree that a good definition would recognize that personal wellness requires optimizing the benefits of a multi-dimensional life.

You have your list of four dimensions and the National Wellness Institute has adopted Bill Hettler’s six dimensions. The YMCA goes with mind, body and spirit. We all define dimensions of wellness in accord with our visions, language and settings. Wellness is a full-potentials movement with multi-dimensional life perspectives. All the models recognize that a healthy, satisfying lifestyle requires so much more than fitness, such as traits of mental wellbeing, the presence of good works and time spent with good friends. Wellness is only possible when we have many such great resources in abundance.

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