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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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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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Global Wellness Day 2018

Posted By Charlie Learman-Wood, Friday, July 6, 2018
Updated: Monday, July 9, 2018
Charlie Learman-Wood BSc (Hons) International Spa Management, University of Derby, UK. 

The event took place in the university’s’ historical Devonshire Dome campus – adorned in the iconic magenta colour of the Global Wellness Day brandOn the 9th June, the 6th annual Global Wellness Day took place in over 100 different countries at over 5000 different locations. As the University of Derby Buxton is a forerunner in the provision of spa and wellness education, it was only fitting that we celebrate such a day, and so a fantastic event was organised by two 3rd year students from the International Spa Management degree course. The event took place in the university’s’ historical Devonshire Dome campus – adorned in the iconic magenta colour of the Global Wellness Day brand, the Dome was the perfect setting to host such an event. The aim of the day was to the statement “One day can change your whole life” by bringing awareness to a wellness lifestyle. The Global Wellness Day manifest for 2018 was comprised of 7 elements: walk for an hour each day, drink more water, don’t use plastic bottles, eat healthy food, do a good deed, have a family dinner and sleep at 10pm each night. 

Delivered by a professional doctor, guests were shown a presentation which introduced the concepts of healthy eating and mental techniques that can be used to switch cravings from junk food to vibrant, nutritious and healthy food. With this in mind, the event was organised to reflect these ideals and create awareness in an engaging manner. The day was filled with an ample amount of activities, some of which ran throughout the whole day, and some that were delivered in allocated time slots. This helped to create a fun atmosphere that was also structured enough so that no one got confused by the itinerary – this was a day centred on wellness after all! The team came up with a great idea to design passport-style itineraries so that guests could keep a visual record of which activities they had participated in throughout the day. With this, guests could collect stickers as an incentive to increase participation; each sticker was worth one entry to a prize draw. The event attracted guests of all ages – both adults and children – all of which appeared to enjoy the day in equal amounts. The event also fell on the same date as a university open day, so there were many additional guests that chose to join in the fun. 

The scheduled activities included the following:

  • Wellness Walk. Equipped with Global Wellness Day display paddles, a party of around 20 people took part in this activity. We were led on a route past the historic St Anne’s Well – where famous Buxton mineral water is pumped from the ground – and to the scenic Pavilion Gardens. Buxton is a bustling town during the summer months and the weather was perfect, so this was certainly a highlight of the day. The walk demonstrated that the aim of walking for one hour each day is an achievable step to a healthier lifestyle. 
  •  It can’t be said that everyone mastered the moves, but it was definitely great fun!Tai Chi workshop. There were two Tai Chi workshops on the day. The first one took place inside the Dome and introduced participants to a few simple movements, followed by a 5 minute demonstration from the instructor. After people had processed these simple moves, it was time to move onto something slightly more advanced, so later on in the day we gathered again, this time on the lawn outside of the building. It can’t be said that everyone mastered the moves, but it was definitely great fun!
  • Healthy Food workshop and Healthy Lunch. Delivered by a professional doctor, guests were shown a presentation which introduced the concepts of healthy eating and mental techniques that can be used to switch cravings from junk food to vibrant, nutritious and healthy food. This was the ideal precursor to the healthy lunch, which was presented in a social, ‘family style’ setting with two long tables rather than many separate ones. We were treated to a wonderful array of rainbow foods which left us feeling full and satisfied, and the general consensus was that the food actually beat quick fixes such as pizza or pasta (not to say treating yourself isn’t a part of wellness too!).
  • Mindfulness workshop. This pressure-free, informal workshop included an introduction into what mindfulness means, followed by a 10-minute guided mindfulness session. During this, we were taught to acknowledge our breathing and centre our thoughts to the present moment. The benefits of mindfulness for the mind, body and spirit were explained, leaving people eager to learn more. Feedback from the participants was very positive and there was a relaxed vibe in the room.

Additionally, there was a Children’s Reading Room, Plastic Awareness information stand and spa treatment demonstration stand that guests could visit throughout the day. There was also an Affirmation Board – people had the opportunity to write something that they were grateful for or happy about, and display it on a board for all to see. By the end of the day, the board was covered with over 40 affirmations, which conveyed a powerful, positive message that fittingly reflected the principles of wellness.  

“One day can change your life”The impacts the day had for me personally were profound in terms of insight – I went away from the day feeling super reflective. As for the “One day can change your life” claim? After being armed with knowledge surrounding the dangers of plastic, I have converted to bamboo cups, I haven’t bought a plastic bag in weeks, I am eating healthier and my water intake is certainly up (however, the recommendation to sleep at 10pm may take some time to implement!). But that’s the great thing about the wellness movement – it doesn’t demand a drastic overnight change, it encourages small, achievable lifestyle alterations that can have a subtle positive impact on overall wellness. With annual events set to follow, this is just the beginning!

Tags:  awareness  Global Wellness Day  United Kingdom  Wellness 

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Thank You for Your Service—Bob Boyd!

Posted By NWI, Thursday, June 7, 2018

Bob BoydAt the National Wellness Conference this year, Bob Boyd will be stepping down from the National Wellness Board of Directors after serving his limit of two full terms. NWI has cherished Bob’s vigorous engagement spanning over twenty years. For many years Bob would arrive from his home in Brisbane, Australia after an 18-20 hour plane ride and immediately plunge into work as a conference volunteer. A pioneer in his country’s wellness movement, a dedicated university instructor, and Founding President of the National Wellness Institute of Australia, Bob brought tremendous experience and continual passion for wellness to the NWI Board

Bob has spearheaded NWI’s International efforts, networking and recruiting wellness professionals from around the globe to become engaged in our organization. This has resulted in the formation of the NWI International Standing Committee furthering involvement by international members and developing ways to spread wellness globally. He will continue to be involved with the work of the committee as a member volunteer.

For more than forty years Bob has been contributed professionally across all areas of personal and corporate wellness. His involvement includes research, consulting and teaching.

A Ministerial appointment to the Queensland State Steering Committee on Health Promotion in the Workplace preceded his appointment as the inaugural Director of the Queensland University of Technology Wellness Matters Program. He is an accredited Workplace Wellness Director, Certified Wellness Practitioner, Certified Workplace Program manager, Wellness Culture Coach, and Wellness Coach Trainer (for Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc.).

While exiting the board, NWI and all of its members look forward to continuing to enjoy not only Bob’s professional contributions, but also his joyous embrace of life that we all love to experience.  Cheers mate!

Michael ArloskiMichael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC, CWP, National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc.
Fort Collins, Colorado

President, Board of Directors, National Wellness Institute

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Enhanced Recovery With Muscle Testing

Posted By Dr. John Brazier, Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Dr. John Brazier, TCM, MSc - United Kingdom

Wouldn’t it be amazing if…

  • We could spark a body into full recovery after years and years of pain.
  • We could show the brain where it needs to focus to cure its imbalance.
  • We could increase athlete’s power, speed and stamina instantly.
    We could test anything’s influence on our body like car seats, food, work positions, shoes, drugs, equipment etc.
  • We could quickly find imbalances in our organs, muscles, ligaments, movements, meridians, bones, spine, pelvis, cranial system, jaw, eyes, mechanics, energy, thoughts, lymph etc.
  • We could quickly find imbalances in our organs, muscles, ligaments, movements, meridians, bones, spine, pelvis, cranial system, jaw, eyes, mechanics, energy, thoughts, lymph etc.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if this was available to everyone not just the doctors, if mums could test for their children’s food intolerances, coaches could test their athletes are 100% ready, soldiers could test each others' equipment fits so it won’t cause an injury, therapists can test for the root cause to their clients' pain, Pilate instructors could test if each movement is good for everyone, Personal trainers could test for old injuries and imbalance before putting a client through a bad routine, councilors could test for how much a stressful situation is affecting their client's body, or how much a clients’ body is affecting a stressful situation.

We all have the power to change, both ourselves and others. Change happens with the brains recognition of the fault or faults. By initiating a natural immune response on everybody to our imbalances and injuries we can only get stronger and stronger as the genetic blueprint of self-recovery kicks in and focuses on its real job.

When the system is alerted and focused to its own imbalances it can get on with repairing itself as it's been designed to do through the long process of evolution. In fact, the immune system in humans is one of the things that makes us very dominant in the animal world.Why not harness this and use it to our advantage? Imagine if we could give it better clarity, make it stronger and more focused.We could proactively decrease injuries, illness and poor performances globally.

Imagine the power of a system that knows what it has to repair or change before the system receives a massage, reflexology, acupuncture and even an operation. Could we increase the chance of recovery by eliciting the problem first? By making the brain more aware of the real root issue? I’m not talking of where the pain is because we all know and feel that, I’m talking ofWHY it is.

For example someone suffering from chronic back pain and their root cause to this is an imbalanced jaw (TMJ), if we made the immune system aware of the jaw fault through testing, then delivered a massage to the back and connective tissues and fascia, would this make for a better recovery?

Yes, with muscle testing.

It doesn’t matter what you do or who you are, what matters is that your body can recover.

Whether recovery from illness, injury, or fast reactions of a fighter pilot, your functional system must be balanced to allow you to be your best at it, at that exact moment in time. If you're not; it stands to reason you have a smaller chance of being successful and a bigger chance of underperformance or poor recovery. 

Who wants to take a chance when wanting to perform at their optimum? 

Who wants to accept defeat before they had even started? 

Lots of us do. When we accept the challenge and just hope that we are in a good enough state to do it. To recover you need to be in a good enough state to recover!

That means if you are trying to recover, get a treatment from someone, use someone’s skills and energy to help you recover - don’t just lay there and hope.

Everything can be tested & challenged, not only functional mechanics but also memory, relationships, positions, confidence, work stations etc. The only limits are with your imagination, not with the neurologic reaction of the person you're working with.

For example; my son told me his younger sister had been smoking at school, which she was instantly annoyed about but refused to admit that she had done anything wrong. So I asked her to be honest with me but she admitted nothing. I did a muscle test on her to feel her power, and then asked her if her name was Sophie? She replied with ‘yes’ and I tested her muscle strength again to gain a baseline of her power when telling the truth.

Then, I asked if she had been smoking, and she replied, ‘no’, so I retested the muscle power and it stayed consistent, she didn’t lie. I then asked her if she had bought any cigarettes and she replied, ‘no’, so I retested her power and it completely failed. It was a lie, and she knew it because she went bright red as she was tested and realized her weakness.

It’s simple, the nervous system reacts to all sorts of inputs, from telling lies to functional positions that are not suitable to full health and balance. The reaction is weakness in muscle power, which allows us to see and perceive faults or imbalances.

We can use natural information to our advantage, because it clarifies imbalances and effects on the body as a system. It makes the brain fully aware of what is wrong instead of it being overwhelmed by too much confusing information.

The moment we have a failed muscle test, in that second the brain is fully aware both consciously and sub-consciously of the fault and its root because it is often a shock to the system. 

Dr. John Brazier, TCM, MSc is the founder of the award winning KORE Therapy that is a highly acclaimed integrated medical system. John has spent over 30 years studying in both the Orient and West connecting East Asian medicine theories with Musculo-skeletal imbalances to find and prove the root of certain conditions and the best way to accelerate recovery. By utilizing functional muscle testing we can predict and prove various imbalances and problems in the flow and balance of the organs, lymph, blood, meridians, emotions and a wide range of illnesses. As an international speaker and training provider John has presented in China, Thailand, India, Kuwait and across Europe, and has upcoming spa projects in Saudi Arabia, Dubai & Rumania. In sports John has worked with international, national and premiership football teams, Olympic athletes, golfing champions and athletes of all levels. John also has a keen interest in executive burnout and corporate health working alongside government agencies, British Aerospace, Fiat, BP, British armed forces and other companies.

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