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Welcome to the NWI International Blog
Wellness is a global concept with no borders or boundaries and is culturally expressed and experienced. Wellness pioneer and 2017 NWI Halbert L. Dunn Wellness Award recipient, Jack Travis, states that “My summation of 40 yrs work in 6 words is: "The currency of wellness is connection." We have much to learn from one another no matter where we call home. Please join us to share your wellness stories here so expanding your connection with all wellness seekers across the world.

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Resilience — What it Means to Me

Posted By Elisabeth Wightman, Friday, November 2, 2018
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2018

Meningioma. Ever hear of it? Know someone who has it?
I am a trained Life/Wellness Coach and also have this condition.

Build resiliency and support others with meningioma.Have you been diagnosed with a serious illness? I want to share ways to address the trauma, shock, and overwhelming anxiety involved with a serious diagnosis and ways to offer empowerment and support.

I am designing a coaching program for those people diagnosed with meningioma and am asking for input. The coaching program I am working on is a combination of numerous international empowering and catalytic resources incorporating the Six Dimensions of Wellness and the Wheel of Wellness. I'm interested in working with people around the globe in support groups that have meningioma and are challenged by the reality involved.

I have had 2 surgeries to remove my tumor and am currently recovering from facial palsy, double vision and changes that are requiring rehabilitation at a center twice a week. I have the greatest empathy beyond my training to be able to present ways to really reach deep — accessing an individual’s inner strength and facilitate the vulnerabilities into tools of resiliency.

There will be no charge for this program; with members meeting one to three times a month. At the beginning of the month, the topic of focus is sent out as are resources and transformation processes. There are worksheets and access to more tools and resources with each month’s focus.  

The monthly focuses I am contemplating and currently designing are stress management, resiliency, mindfulness, neuroplasticity, nutrition, heart congruence, the interconnection between the 3 brains, the heart, brain and the gut, becoming a witness, breathing, and holistic nourishment. I have many more ideas which I’m formulating into introductory information packets with accompanying coaching questions used in the group. My webinar plans are being designed and I will be ready to share what I’m doing in a follow-up article. I am also contacting global speakers to ask that they appear as a guest speaker periodically.

I am assembling all my training and life experiences, which have empowered me and built my resiliency to support others with the condition of meningioma. I plan to give access to other people as time goes on. I would appreciate any suggestions or direction to be better prepared.

Elisabeth Wightman is a Professional Life Coach in Australia with an accompanying Wellness Certificate and an International NWI member. She earned a New Zealand Bachelor of Health Science, is ICF credentialed, Heart Math trained, and a licensed coach. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Natural Medicine to support previous Naturopathy training. She can be reached via email, 

Tags:  Coaching  Meningioma  Resiliency 

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Coaching Leaders in Brazil for Improved Wellness Outcomes

Posted By Cecilia Negrini, Monday, October 29, 2018

Founder and CEO of the company: Cecilia Negrini — Consulting and Advice for the Health Area

runner in brazilWhen we think of wellness for a third world country we must first consider basic principles of human dignity such as security, food, education and health.

Brazil is currently going through a very serious crisis of trust of its political leaders. In a little more than a year President Dilma Roussef was impeached and a few months later we found out that the current president Michel Temer was also involved in serious acts of corruption. These facts have made worse the economic crisis, increased unemployment and especially aggravated the revolution against authority and violence in our country.

In 3 years, the number of unemployed people has more than doubled, rising to 13.7% in the first quarter of 2017, according to the data released on April 31, 2017 by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), through the PNAD survey. The latest data provided in August showed an improvement of this statistic of less than 1%, decreasing to 12.8% in the quarter ending July 2017. This improvement was due to informal work.That is, people who went about developing something on their own, empowering themselves with their personal skills and abilities and not waiting to be hired but becoming self-employed.

brazil neighborhoodThe economic crisis together with the crisis of a lack of trust in the government generates a sense of outrage in the population. The Brazilian population lack inspiring leaders and this has brought about bad consequences in several sectors of our society. We are in a chain effect that has had the consequence of creating great losses in personal wellness and quality of life. The economy is one of the main sectors affected and that brings consequences such as the increase of unemployment, insecurity and outrage, raising considerably the crime rate in Brazil.

Servant leadership has as a principle, the leader being an example of character, justice, and an inspiration for their population. "Be an example of a human being wherever you are, be it in your family, church, community or company. Develop yourself as a leader who has a sense of community and personal values that are fair and guided by what is right to do." Coaching is a tool to help people develop and pursue their goals with their own skills and abilities.

I believe that servant leadership, together with a coaching methodology can promote powerful actions for the promotion of wellness in countries like Brazil where it is common to find leaders with poor regard of person values.

This article aims to clarify how the combination of servant leadership and coaching can help develop Brazilian society by promoting wellness through better individual behaviors and, consequently, generate a more productive, peaceful, and happy society.

Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership was first proposed in a 1970 essay by Robert K. Greenleaf, "Servant as Leader" which was inspired by his experience with institutions and the short reading of Herman Hesse's novel, "Journey to the East." That story is told in the first person by H.H., a musician and member of a brotherhood, who decides to take a long journey. The group followed a servant, esteemed by all, called Leo who was wise, faithful, kind and handsome. At one point Leo disappears and the group falls quickly into a spirit of disorder and he leaves the group. Years later the narrator finds out that despite being seen as a servant, Leo was the chief and spiritual guide of the religious order they belonged to. It was through this reading that Greenleaf solidified that what makes the greatness of a leader is ‘the attitude of first serving others’.

"Caring for people who are more capable and less able to serve one another is the rock upon which a society is built"
– Greenleaf

But it was with James C. Hunter that the concept of servant leadership gained greater prominence in Brazil. Initially named "The Servant," the book "The Monk and the Executive" has already sold more than 3 million copies in Brazil alone and has been on the list of bestselling books for ten years. The author also published two more books about leadership.

While Greenleaf uses the servant Leo as the inspiration for the novel Journey to the East, Hunter quotes Jesus Christ as the greatest example of a servant leader in his book "The Servant". Hunter defines leadership in the book "How to become a servant leader" as: "The ability to influence people to work enthusiastically toward common goals, inspiring confidence through strength of character.”

James C. Hunter defends the thesis that leaders must have character, a very strong spiritual basis and the awareness that leadership is not power but authority, conquered with love, dedication and respect for people.

The author shows that it is necessary to practice every day the skills of the servant leadership so that they become a habit. Simply engage in a process of continuous improvement, accept feedback from subordinates, and be willing to take the risks to eliminate the gap between who you are and what you need to change to become a truly effective leader.

In the writings of servant leadership mentioned above, there is a prominence of some key words that define the characteristics of the servant leader. In analyzing them one by one, note the alignment of coaching posture with that of the servant leadership:

Character - In the process of coaching you do not have to convince, deceive, impress or please anyone. It is the time to be truetoyourself.

Very strong spiritual base - In a process of coaching, beliefs and values always appear as guides or saboteurs of success. Beliefs and structured values in favor of the goals make the expected results closer;

Continuous Improvement - The coaching process aims to help achieve the high performance of people willing to develop;

Accept feedback - Only accepts feedback those who are committed to their personal development and focused on themselves and not seeking justifications for failures in the external environment;

Leadership is not power but authority - Authority belongs to people who know how to listen attentively to the opinion, knowledge and experience of others. That they have respect differences and do not make judgment without knowing the facts in depth;

Love - If you want to become a better person, you have a clear goal and actions to follow, is because there is love for something or someone;

Dedication - In a coaching process the sessions must take place weekly and the actions developed must have an agreed day, time, place to start and finish. The results depend entirely on the coachee's dedication;

Respect - Not judging, questioning what is right or wrong, listening attentively to others are basic principles of coaching and they demonstrate respect for the history, experience, knowledge and learning of the other.

For you to become someone better you will have to use your own resources, because nobody gives what they do not have. The greatest expectation about a leader is not their technical knowledge, but their ability to inspire the team to use the knowledge that is in favor of a common goal. Coaching in this process can be highly effective as it leads to the necessary questioning for the leader to find their essence and inspire others. Is 10% the best you can get? What about the other 90%?

A lot of personal knowledge is stored waiting to be used, but on a day-to-day basis the lack of purpose and clear goals can lead to one’s own resources remaining stacked away. Coaching can help the person to seek within the unused 90%.

The servant leader invites the person to be better. To understand that to lead is to evolve continuously.

The principles of servant leadership can be learned and applied by those who have the will and intention to change, grow and improve. What most leaders seek is to find new knowledge to better perform their tasks. But if research indicates that one uses only 10% of what one learns, what about the other 90%? Accessing and utilizing some or all of that 90% can boost the potential to face the difficult challenges of today's leaders. Coaching methodology has the potential to empower the leader to achieve this.

It is possible and advisable to obtain knowledge about a subject by reading a book or by taking part in a course, but application and practice are fundamental. The exercise of leadership is what leads to development.

There should be willingness to review old behaviors, identifying and altering what is judged to be necessary to achieve good results. The crucial difference in applying the coaching methodology is that the person knows what it is they are looking for. Coaching methodology involves self setting a clear goal and always ends with a personal action plan. Knowledge is not filed; it is sought for the execution of something that brings the person closer to their goal.

Considering that information, the leader must answer these questions:

1. On a scale of 0 to 10 how much am I engaged in a process of continuous improvement and becoming a more inspiring leader?

2. What else can I do to become a better leader?

3. What would the best leader I have ever known say to me to do besides everything that has been mentioned above?

4. From the above list of key characteristics of a Servant leader, which of these actions will I carry out now to bring me closer to my goal?

5. How will I do them? When? (Date/time) Where? (Local / Environment) Who with?

These questions will cause the leader to seek the responsibility for their own development and thus find solutions to overcome the difficulties that exist in the current socio-political and economic scenario of Brazil. Moving from being a victim to be the main character of their life while developing a more just and transforming community. These actions will generate self-esteem, human dignity and inspire admiration and respect, infecting the environment in which they live with progress and continuous actions of personal and social development assisting in the construction of a society that Brazilians can be proud of — a society and culture depicting the rightness of character and growth by honest work.

The aforementioned process of coaching servant leaders has been implemented in hospitals, clinics and medical centers which are clients of our company and the results validate the effectiveness of the methodology. Both health professionals and their patients report that they have a higher quality of life. In a future article I will explain in detail the statistical results of the present program.

Cecelia NegriniCecilia Negrini is business Consultant, businesswoman, coach and speaker.

She is founder and owner of the company Cecilia Negrini – Consulting and Advice for the Health Area.  She had more than 10 years of experience in assisting health professionals. A personal coach by SLAC – Sociedade Latino Americana  deCoaching  and she is affiliated in Institute of Coaching by Harvard and affiliated in National Welness Institute – USA. She is specialist in Linguistics from UNESP – UniversidadeEstadualPaulista and she did MBA in Marketing for Health and  MBA in Business Management from FGV – FundaçãoGetúlio Vargas. She  works like facilitor in training about servant leadearshi by FórmulaTreinamentos and James Hunter – author  of the book The Servant and others.



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Workplace Wellness Ireland: Review of Our First Meet Up

Posted By Brian Crooke, Thursday, October 11, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Dublin, IrelandOn Tuesday September 4th we held the inaugural meet up of the Workplace Wellness Ireland community at the Bank of Ireland in Grand Canal Square in Dublin. I was blown away by the attendance and by the positive feedback following the event. The atmosphere and energy in the room was something I had hoped for so it was extremely pleasing to see my expectations not only met but exceeded on the night. Thanks to everyone that came along and contributed to the positivity.


Brian CrookeI kicked things off by discussing the buzz surrounding workplace wellness in Ireland. My aim with the Workplace Wellness Ireland group is to ensure that we are not looking back in 10 years time and remembering wellness as a ‘fad’ in Irish workplaces. What a missed opportunity that would be? By bringing people together to share experiences and lessons learned I believe we can improve all of our services, we can demonstrate real value for Irish businesses and for the people in those businesses and eliminate any future talk of a workplace wellness fad.

I also mentioned the fact that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to workplace wellness. The bad news is, it’s not an exact science. The good news is that there are simple strategies that can be followed to significantly increase the chances that wellness initiatives will be successful. This is the type of information I want to promote and share at our meetups and in the online community.


I then introduced the values I’ve created to the community. I would love if we can adopt these at our future events and in any online interactions. The Workplace Wellness Ireland values are:

  1. Share without expecting anything in return
  2. Have fun and respect everyone
  3. Make friends, not contacts *
    *Thank you to Startup Grind for inspiring me on the third value ;)

Jim KirwanJim Kirwan:

‘Workplace Wellbeing Lessons Learned’

The first speaker on the evening was best selling author, international speaker, and health and wellbeing coach Jim Kirwan. Jim started his talk linking saying goodbye to his daughter at Dublin airport, last Christmas, to the value of time and the importance of our health and wellbeing. He then explained why what he does is so important to him by telling us his dad's story; he died very suddenly at 47 of a massive heart attack when Jim was only 20. He described this as 43 lost years and said he does not want this to happen to you.

Jim then introduced us to the 6 Key Ingredients of Effective Strategic Wellbeing which he refers to as FIT-CEO.


F - First: CEO and all executives and managers have to walk the talk.

I - Involve: Increase employee involvement and engagement will follow.

T - Transform: Wellbeing is a great opportunity to transform your organisation with BHAG's (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

C - Culture: Wellbeing is at the top of your organisation values.

E - Excellent: There is no other way!

O - Outcome: Clear vision of results you want to achieve in short, medium and long term.

Lessons Learned

Jim also introduced his top four lessons based on his experience of working with Irish companies.

Lesson 1

In Company A only 25 people out of 150 employees showed up for his wellness week talk; everyone else was too busy. Company B (which was of a similar size to Company A) had to hold two separate sessions to accommodate the numbers that wanted to see and hear the talk.


What was the difference? The CEO, executives, and managers from Company B promoted and attended his talk(s)!

Lesson 2

Your wellbeing initiatives should focus on the majority of employees, not a minority.

Lesson 3

Most one-off wellbeing talks are not effective; think PROJECTS with a beginning, middle, and end which can measure results and change behaviour over time.

Lesson 4

Your wellbeing initiatives should be fun, enjoyable and sustainable. Sustainable means that employees can make changes that last!

Left to right: Robert Carley, Jim Kirwan, Brian Crooke, and Caroline McGuigan

Left to right: Robert Carley, Jim Kirwan, Brian Crooke, and Caroline McGuigan

Caroline McGuigan and Robert Carley: ‘Mental Health But Not As You Know It’ After a short break for some tea and chatting Caroline McGuigan and Robert Carley of Suicide or Survive (SOS) took centre stage. SOS works with individuals and businesses to educate, inform and inspire people to cultivate good mental health and reduce stigma.I’m fortunate enough in that this is not the first time I’ve heard Caroline and Robert speak and they never fail to inspire me and make me laugh.

A key message from their talk was that we all have mental health. Forget about the traditional statistics. Everyone has mental health issues at certain times according to Caroline and Robert.

Caroline discussed her own inspiring story and the obstacles she has overcome and continues to overcome. She introduced herself as a mum first and foremost. She also happens to be a psychotherapist, mental health advocate and the founder and CEO of Suicide or Survive.

Highs and Lows

We all have highs and lows. Robert gave a heartfelt example from his own life. This week in September is an emotional one for Robert and his family as they remember the sudden passing of his wife seven years ago. This September he also learned that he’s going to be a granddad again.

We can all relate to certain highs and lows in our own lives. Even from day to day and week to week there will be highs and lows that impact us. Caroline and Robert are on a mission to highlight the need to start conversations on mental health in Irish companies, to reduce the stigma and create work environments that are supportive of speaking up if you happen to be going through one of those lows.

Dublin, Ireland


It really was an inspiring and engaging talk and no exaggeration to say that those present were close to tears one minute then roaring with laughter the next. The audience played their part too, as we were first encouraged to turn to the person beside us to tell them they had mental health issues, then stretching our hands in the air as high as we could (and then a little higher….and a little higher….) to squeezing a fist together as tightly as we could then slowly releasing it and letting all the tension escape.

From Now On…

I didn’t expect Hugh Jackman to feature at our inaugural meet up, however Caroline and Robert had everyone standing together at the end of their talk to join in on the chorus of a song from The Greatest Showman movie: From Now On...From Now On.

Like you care about your dental health, care about your mental health — we all have it!

Dublin, IrelandOur People

The meet up was just as much about meeting new people as it was about hearing from the wonderful speakers. There was a great energy in the room before we kicked off on Tuesday and this was repeated during a short interval between speakers and again as we wrapped up for the evening with lots of people staying back to chat and ask questions.

Most people I’ve spoken with since have mentioned the really interesting people they met at the event, which is yet another expectation of mine which was exceeded on the night.

The energy and atmosphere was supported by our brilliant food exhibitors: Fiona’s Food For Life, Skinny Malinkys Juices and The Fruit People who kept everyone fuelled on the night.

One of the values I introduced was ‘Make Friends, Not Contacts’ and this certainly seems to have been the case on Tuesday.

Future Events

As I discussed on the evening, I want the group to tackle different areas and perspectives in workplace wellness. There’s a great mix of organisations and industry sectors represented in the community, and also companies of different sizes. Some are at different stages of the wellness journey, with some businesses quite experienced in this area and some only starting out.

At future meetups I want to hear from these differing perspectives. While there will be differences from company to company, there will also be similarities that we can all learn from. I’d also love to hear from you the community as to what topics you would like to see addressed in the future. Drop me a line and let me know.

Our next meet up is scheduled for November 13th, again at the Bank of Ireland at Grand Canal Square and again from 6 pm to 8 pm. Get the date in your diary!

Thanks, everyone and see you on November 13th!



Brian CrookeBrian Crooke is a wellness consultant, speaker and trainer specialising in the auditing, development and delivery of workplace wellness initiatives for Irish companies through his Office Worker Health business. He is the founder of the Workplace Wellness Ireland community and meet up. In his spare time Brian is trying to bring free resistance training to every county and community in Ireland with his parkHIIT project. Contact Brian to find out more:

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University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point Interns visit London & Ireland

Posted By Chris Andrews, Monday, October 8, 2018
Originally in NWI's International Wellness Connection blog on Friday, September 29, 2017
To access the current and 60 plus members only archived International Wellness Connection articles, become a member
 HERE >>

In November 2016, I received an email from Sallie Scovill, PhD, Associate Professor, UW – Stevens Point asking if I could host 13 students, as she had received confirmation that she had enough students to make a trip to London viable.

UWSP students visiting LondonI was excited. Why? I had previously hosted 12 UWSP Interns in 2015 and the experience of sharing my career journey in Wellness in the USA and in the UK at that time encouraged me to agree to this new request.

I am a 1993 graduate from UWSP in Health Promotion – Wellness, and I completed my Internship in the UK. This provided me with the opportunity to start my own business. In 2000, Personal Touch Fitness was launched and 17 years on, the business continues to offer various corporations Health & Wellbeing programmes to suit their business plans. So when asked to host and share my experiences again, I grabbed the opportunity.

I feel it is important to share and highlight accomplishments of meeting goals, and the highs and lows of running a successful business with the future practitioners of our profession. On June 6, 2017, thirteen Interns came to one of Personal Touch Fitness’ clients in London to observe, learn, participate, and engage with the business, all the while being encouraged to ask questions.

UWSP students visit Personal Touch Fitness in London, 2016

Personal Touch Fitness hosted the interns from 11am – 2:15 pm, and started with the group being split into two smaller groups. Group one, led by myself, was given a tour of the fitness centre, which included information about all services provided, operations, posters, marketing, subcontractors, employees, equipment, classes, etc... There were many questions, and it really highlighted to students how everything needs to work well operationally to be a success.

What can go wrong? How do you manage it? How do you learn? These were some of the questions students asked.

Group 2 was hosted by our Fitness Manager, Martina, and these students experienced the Health Assessment that is provided to fitness centre members.
After 30 minutes, the groups switched.

Afterwards, we made our way to a large meeting room on the top floor of the site. The students were pleased with the view into London City with Canary Wharf in the distance. It was time to have a healthy working lunch. This was a selection of freshly made sandwiches, wraps, fresh fruit, and water. I talked about the background to Personal Touch Fitness from 2000 – 2017. My goal was to give the students an understanding of how crucial it is for a business to always innovate, grow, learn, and offer different services whilst listening to clients’ needs. Each of these is necessary to tailor services, and to deliver what you set out to do.

Martina also shared her experiences of being an employee of Personal Touch Fitness, and how she was developing her skills of presenting by being involved in hosting the group. She admitted that she needed to work on this, and the students loved the honesty. Seeing first-hand that we are always learning helped them to realize that they too will need to become life-long learners to excel professionally. That is wellness.

UWSP students learn from Chris Andrews in London

To end the time with the students, I wanted to close with a Q & A session. I had asked Sallie to have each student write down a question, then send them all to me prior to June. Martina and I answered each question. This process worked really well, as the students found it extremely interesting.

An example of questions:

  • What was the biggest mistake you have made within the field of health promotion and wellness?
  • What are some things you do that have been successful to inspire and motivate employees to want to start a healthier lifestyle at your clients' companies?
  • What is reflexology, and how does it relate to lowering your stress along with exercise?
  • What techniques do you use to convince large companies to get on board with your programs?
  • Do employers have the American 9-5 work hours, or do they let employees decide what hours they want to work?
  • How do you get the most current information, to stay up to date with trends and information?

Was it a great experience for the students? Yes, let me share what one student sent me:

Dear Chris,

 It was wonderful meeting you today. I am so grateful that you took the time out of your day to share your personal journey of building a business such as Personal Touch Fitness with UWSP Health Promotion Students like myself. It was such an amazing opportunity to learn about Personal Touch Fitness and all the hard work that was put into the company to create such a unique business.

 I think I speak for all the UWSP students when I say you are truly inspiring, and I could just feel your passion for the business and what it promotes when you speak. It is encouraging for us as students to hear about someone who has walked in our shoes and has been able to create something so beautiful from an immense amount of hard work and dedication. Thank you for Martina's information, I hope our paths cross again very soon. I've attached our photo together [see photo below] in this email as well. Thank you so much for everything.

Best wishes, Mallory Price

UWSP student Mallory Price visiting Personal Touch Fitness in London, 2016Health & Wellbeing is about sharing, learning, awareness, mindfulness, and always working towards making small adjustments to one's wellbeing for a healthier life. What are you doing to make a difference?

Good luck to all students around the world to reach out and learn, grow and achieve. You are the next generation to push wellness forward. Cultivate a culture that flourishes.

Chris Andrews

Chris is the MD of Personal Touch Fitness (PTF) for 17 years in the UK. Chris prides herself in her passion, enthusiasm and expertise in providing fitness services in the corporate environment which is extended through the company values, ethos and to the employees. With almost 23 years of experience, many leading PTF, she has learnt what works and what doesn’t. Her energy drives her tireless quest to improve her clients’ health and fitness. Chris has given PTF clients the confidence to harness her skills to lead Facilities and Service Provider workshops as well as formulate and promote client Wellbeing Strategies.

Tags:  Interns  Ireland  London  Stevens Point  University of Wisconsin Stevens Point  UWSP 

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The Banyans Health and Wellness: From Dream To the Reality Of Setting Up the Southern Hemisphere’s Most Comprehensive Integrated Wellness Retreat

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Updated: Monday, July 9, 2018
Originally Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 11, 2017
To access the current and 60 plus members only archived International Wellness Connection articles, become a member
 HERE >>

Ruth Limkin
Founding CEO – The Banyans Health and Wellness
Queensland, Australia

The BanyansIn Australia, the wellness market is still developing, and there are limited options for those seeking comprehensive, integrated wellness programs.

Whether the health concern is lifestyle stress for busy executives; depression or anxiety; or overuse of alcohol or other substances as self-medicating pain or distress; the main programs that have been available are traditional institutional hospital programs, therapeutic community programs, or outpatient programs.

While residential programs with a wellness focus are slowly becoming more popular, there has still been a need for a comprehensive program offering best in field practitioners and a truly integrated approach that provides privacy and individual therapy.

Over the last 18 months, I have been involved in the establishment of a new wellness centre. Called, The Banyans Health and Wellness, it was purpose-built to provide tailored programs for discerning individuals, and with the highest level of specialist practitioner support available within the Southern Hemisphere. Drawing guests from around Australia, from the USA, New Zealand and Singapore the results are a testament to the benefit of a model that is medically informed and integrated with biopsychosocial care.

A holistic approach to healing.We have drawn on the Dimensions of Wellness from The National Wellness Institute, and trained our foundation staff in this model. This has meant that we take an integrated and holistic approach to wellness which informs every part of our program, and the shared language of staff helps our guests to understand the breadth of wellness.

For instance, with a Nutritionist on board, our team understands that proper nutrition and hydration are key to help restore physical and mental health and improve the chance of recovery. They understand that macro- and micronutrient deficiencies can lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low energy, all of which can lead someone to start bad habits or learn maladaptive coping mechanisms in an attempt to soothe, comfort or distract themselves from the pain of their condition or symptoms of disease.

This integrated approach provides the best of both worlds, with robust medical care as needed and allied health providers working to provide more broad approaches to health and well-being. This means that medication is not feared nor is it seen as the only way to assist emotional and mental well-being.

As the Founding CEO, it has been a privilege to work with a large team to create wellness experiences for guests who have measurable, demonstrated results. It has been a joy to see the multi-modality of therapies being delivered successfully.

Time for reflection.Our Clinical Director Peter Hayton explains the benefits of integrated residential programs in comparison to consultations in an out-patient mode. He says, “Many Psychologists in less frequent models of delivery, such as occasional appointments, need to rely on a client’s own motivation to address areas of physical well-being. This can be a difficult scenario, as the reason a client is seeing a therapist often means they have reduced motivation. Therefore, a psychologist may need a number of consultation sessions just to address this motivation and need to improve physical health concerns. However, in a residential wellness program, the aspects of diet, nutrition, exercise, and sleep are not only coordinated with the support of other professionals in the program, but are also scheduled into the daily program, freeing the counselling and psychological therapy time to address other concerns.To be successful, counselling and psychological treatment also require that clients allow ample time for contemplation, adjustment, and implementation. Less frequent therapy programs offer this space in between the weekly or monthly consultations and while therapists may set homework, the busy schedule of life can get in the way. This can make it difficult for clients to follow up or even take the time to practice new skills and learnings. In a residential program, while the program can be busy, there is also time specifically allocated for reflection, without the trappings and distraction of normal schedules and responsibilities. Thus the impact of transformation can be enhanced. Moreover, activities like yoga, music, and artwork often work hand in hand with the therapy components, adding power and emphasis to the change process.

This is supported by research, with a broad study by Sheffield Hallam University Horse Therapyshowing that there was strong and consistent evidence for residential programs including:

  • Residential programs provided benefits in physical and mental health and reductions in substance use.
  • A study of females showed a clear benefit from residential treatment programmes in the area of psychological health.
  • Greater overall improvement in physical health was related to residential programs than other forms of treatment.
  • Long-term outcomes provide a strong endorsement of residential treatment and the longevity of its positive effects.
  • Residential programs were significantly implicated in positive health outcomes, especially for those with alcohol, in the Australian Patient Pathways study.
  • Residential programs are generally dealing with complex health needs, yet generally achieve equivalent or better results to other modalities of treatment.
A holistic approach to wellness.

For many people who have significant professional or personal responsibilities, investing one month in an intensive therapy program followed up supportive aftercare is much more attractive than eight months of trying to fit therapy in amidst the rest of life. Many guests also value the confidentiality that comes with one on one therapy rather than having to disclose personal details in group therapy.

Perhaps the most unexpected lesson over the last 18 months of operation is how discreetly people seek wellness programs like ours. With most guests finding us online, they are preferring to research options themselves online rather than talking to health providers. This has meant we have continued to refine our online communication and will do so on an ongoing basis.

A focus on wellness today provides greater quality of life for many years to come—it’s an investment with healthy returns.

Wellness practitioners who would like to see case examples are welcome to contact me at for these or further information.

Ruth Limkin is a leader and communicator. Ruth is passionate about creating a better tomorrow and this has led her into all sorts of interesting spaces and experiences in media, politics, charity and business. Recent professional roles have included CEO of a charity, Chief of Staff to the Speaker of Queensland Parliament and currently, the CEO of The Banyans Health and Wellness (, running a Wellness Residence. Born in Japan, Ruth has lived most of her life in Brisbane, and has enjoyed travels around Southeast Asia, the Pacific, UK, Europe, and the U.S.

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