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Wellness is a global concept with no borders or boundaries and is culturally expressed and experienced.

All international articles posted after April 2019 will be posted on our Wellness News You Can Use blog. Articles posted before April 2019 are archived here.

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Personal Touch Fitness holds ‘Build Your Resilience Lunch & Learn Workshop’ and a ‘Laughter Yoga class’ for a Corporate Client

Posted By Chris Andrews, Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2017

build resilience and guided meditationChris Andrews, MD and Associate Priya had 31 corporate employees join them for a Lunch & Learn talk to improve skills and knowledge of how to build resilience and take part in a guided mindfulness meditation.

Feedback from participants;
“Your caring nature is infectious, keep up your efforts.”

“Chris is an amazing ball of energy and authenticity which shows what mindfulness can do for you.”

“Well done again…it was a lovely presentation and will definitely get folk thinking and taking action!”

“I have taken a lot away from this session. Lots to think about and handy tips to improve my mindfulness.”

Boost your wellbeing with Laughter Yoga

laughter yogaEmployees of a corporate client laughed with Personal Touch Fitness’ Associate Elizabeth Saunders who taught the ‘Laughter Yoga class’. Before/after surveys completed by participants showed the benefits of Laughter Yoga with better mood, enthusiasm, energy, relaxed muscle and more awareness of breathing.

Feedback from participants;
“Feel totally energised and much more positive mood!!”

“Brilliant we should have it as part of our weekly offer and encourage more people to do.”

Chris AndrewsChris has been the MD of Personal Touch Fitness (PTF) for 16 years in the UK,  having completed her Wellness studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus. 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 22 years of experience, many leading PTF, she has learned what works and what does not. 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:  International Wellness  laughter yoga  lunch and learn  meditation  United Kingdom  yoga 

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Texting, Emails, Twitter, Facebook – Perhaps it is time to think about digitally detoxing?

Posted By Chris Andrews, Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Originally posted By NWI, Monday, November 7, 2016 By Chris Andrews
Managing Director, Personal Touch Fitness United Kingdom


Time for a Digital DetoxLet’s talk about electronic devices and social media. Have you encountered someone nearly bumping into you walking down the street because their head was looking at their mobile device and not concentrating on where they were going? Instead, their concentration is on a perceived important message that they ‘need’ to reply right then and there. It seems extraordinary if you think about it without even mentioning the strain on the muscles in the neck, eyes, and fingers. Give your body a break. Prevent an accident or incident by enjoying the surroundings and appreciate your environment.

Your health and wellbeing is more important and we should all consider where, when, and why you need to be on an electronic device for a majority of waking hours. Do you really want to be available 24/7? I wouldn’t recommend it. There is a time and place for their use. Are you overusing it? Before the mobile phone, people were able to connect. Yes, it took longer but was that a bad thing? The stress contributes to mental wellbeing problems due to over-use. Now, it is ruling our lives and eventually, it will take a toll on our health. The young generation is on electronic devices at an early age. Whilst we need to know how to use devices to keep up with the ever-changing world, we need to consider the impact on our health and wellbeing. It will affect us all. Eventually. One way or another. Issues can be emotional, physical or even financial by keeping up with the latest version.

We need to talk to one another face-to-face and engage in a conversation. Take note how many family gatherings everyone is glued to their electronic devices. You may have children over to play or for a sleep-over and they are all on their phones taking selfies, playing games, or searching the internet. If boundaries are given or devices taken away–you are a “mean” parent.

Have you taken time to understand how many hours you or your children spend on electronic devices and do you have a cut-off time each day when you turn-off? Do you lead by example? Is it time to take stock and digitally detox for your health and wellbeing?

  1. Time Apart: Put your devices out of sight instead of leaving it on the counter where you can see messages and notifications. Put them in a cupboard or drawer.
  2. Holidays: These are what they say. A holiday is to relax and recharge ourselves. Put the phone away.
  3. Buy an alarm clock: Don’t rely on a phone to wake you up otherwise it becomes the first thing you check morning and night.
  4. Have a cut-off time in the evening when you switch-off devices stick to it.

Challenge yourself on your behaviors and why you may spend a lot of time on devices and how does it make you feel? Things can be easily misconstrued and come across completely different on texts, email, and social media. If someone really is interested in you, they should speak to you.

If you start changing behaviors slowly you might be surprised the amount of time you originally spent on electronic devices. You may find that the time you save can amount to a few hours a day. This will enable valuable family and friends time actually talking to one another, playing ‘real’ games or going on a cycle ride. You may find you are able to fit in more exercise or mediate, read your favourite book or plan and prepare healthy meals. Takeaways and unhealthy diets are usually blamed on a lack of time. Think about the changes that you could make in your lifestyle for your health & wellbeing as you grow older and prevent that accident on the pavement or stresses and strains on the body! The answer isn’t always, "There is an app for that"!

Chris AndrewsChris has been the MD of Personal Touch Fitness (PTF) for 16 years in the UK,  having completed her Wellness studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus. 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 22 years of experience, many leading PTF, she has learned what works and what does not. 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:  communication  digital  email  International Wellness  social media  United Kingdom 

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Welcome to NWI International

Posted By NWI, Friday, November 3, 2017
Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2017

Wellness is a global concept culturally expressed and experienced. We have much to learn from one another, no matter where we call home.


As Chair of the recently constituted NWI International Standing Committee I welcome you to the newly launched  International web page.

The International Standing Committee has developed out of an informal meeting of International arranged by the then Conference Committee at a NWI conference many years ago. What has transpired since then to the current day is best seen in this reprint of an International Wellness Connections article I wrote for the NWI November 2015 Newsletter, titled Evolution of the NWI International Wellness Group (reproduced at the bottom of this post). The International Standing Committee will be the voice of the continuing to function informal NWI International Wellness Group network.



Cecilia NegriniCecilia Negrini

Cecilia Negrini (Brazil) is a business consultant, businesswoman, coach and speaker. She has more than 13 years of experience assisting health professionals to obtain better outcomes in their work. Founder and owner of the company Cecilia Negrini - Consulting and Consulting in the Health Area that operates throughout Brazil providing services in Financial Management, People Management, Operational Management, Marketing, Architectural Management and Strategic Planning. She offers lectures and trainings throughout the country fostering the personal and professional development of people working in the health area, assisting and guiding best practices for achieving wellness and success through actions directed towards progress and development through ethics, commitment, study, organization, and servant leadership concepts. It also assists individual health professionals by fostering best practices in their care and the consequent well-being of their patients, the entire work team and also their family. She is a member of the Harvard Institute of Coaching and a member of the National Wellness Institute - USA. She has an MBA in Business Management from FGV - Fundação Getúlio Varga, MBA in Marketing in the Health Area, Personal Coaching training from SLAC - Sociedade Latino America de Coaching and is a specialist in Linguistics from UNESP – Universidade Estaudal de São Paulo. She participated as facilitator of the training "The Monk and the Executive" inspired by the book "The Servant" of James Hunter for last three years.

E-Mail: cecilianegrini@outlook.com
Ph: 3014-0558/017 9 96482904


Alex LoboAlex Lobo

Wellness and Prevention Specialist
Social Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO, Empowering the Change-Makers
Speaker, Author, Researcher, Coach


My mission is to solve social problems through innovative business models.

Using research, coaching and education, we empower change-makers, high achievers, and motivated individuals and organizations to improve their lives, careers, businesses and social contributions.

My expertise encompasses social-emotional learning, wellness, prevention science, resiliency, coaching, leadership and entrepreneurship.

Problems addressed include obesity, addiction, depression, violence, and crime from a positive perspective.

My credentials, education and experience derive from three areas:

As a Business Owner and MBA from the most prestigious business school in Latin America, with over 20 years in top management positions in corporate, social and government sectors, and more than one million beneficiaries of my programs in private schools, companies and federal and local government.

As a Prevention Specialist, family therapist, addiction counselor, and life- performance and wellness coach. 

As a Flourishing, Productive Human Being, who overcame health, personal and family issues to create a meaningful life of contribution and become a loving husband and father, eternal student, and successful educator and businessman.

Enjoy your Wellness Lifestyle
Think, Feel and Act, always from your deepest Love.
SKYPE: alexlobomx 

United Kingdom

Chris AndrewsChris Andrews

MD of Personal Touch Fitness (PTF) 

Chris is a 1993 graduate in the Health Promotion & Wellness programme at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point (UWSP). Determined to spread her wings, grow, learn, and be challenged she set out to do her Internship abroad. She went to the UK in November 1993, did her Internship and stayed. Now, mother of two, wife, and MD. She is involved in many local events at the tennis& rowing club, church, and schools on different levels.

Personal Touch Fitness has grown organically over 18 years and have worked with all sectors to help with their Wellbeing programmes. Chris prides herself in her passion, enthusiasm and expertise in providing fitness services in environments which is extended through the company values, ethos and to the employees. 

Chris enjoys hosting UWSP interns to the UK and sharing her knowledge. She finds the students engaging and they find it a wonderful hands on learning experience. 

Health & Wellbeing is about sharing, learning, awareness, mindfulness, and always working towards making small adjustments to ones wellbeing for a healthier life. Chris truly believe this and wants to continually share and encourage others to share. After all that is what Health &Wellbeing is all about. Her energy inspires students and people of all ages. Chris loves making a ripple into a wave.

T: +44 (0)0844 344 0034
M: +44 (0) 7977 497 551
E: chris.andrews@personaltouchfitness.co.uk
Skype: personaltouchfitness

South Africa

Dr. Dicky ElsDr. Dicky Els

Managing Director
Be Well Program®

Dr Dicky Els is a registered Industrial Psychologist who specialises in employee wellness and disease management. Dr Els predominantly focuses on employee wellness strategy development, programme design, and the effective implementation and evaluation of outcome-based health promotion programmes. Dicky serves as a member of the International Standing Committee of the National Wellness Institute (NWI) of the United States of America that promotes international health and wellness practices. He is a member of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Technical Committee and Work Group that developed the SANS:16001 Wellness and Disease Management Standard Requirements (including HIV, TB and non-occupational diseases). Dicky is trained as a Neuro-Semantics Meta Coach and he is the project leader of the South African Wellness Programme Evaluation research initiative.

As an Employee Wellness Consultant, Dicky’s passion vests in the optimisation of human capital, productivity and business performance. During the last three decades he has gained extensive experience in executive coaching, human resources, change management and employee wellness and disease management. Dicky is a dynamic and innovative individual who was key to the successful development of several sustainable employee wellness programmes for prominent organisations in the banking, insurance, mining, agriculture and telecommunication sectors. He regularly trains and mentors successful employee wellness managers on local and global workplace wellness management practices and consults to various corporations. He completed his D. Phil (Leadership in Performance and Change) degree at the University of Johannesburg while his quantitative research focused on the development of a work wellness model that integrates motivational job characteristics, work engagement, burnout and wellness. This evidence-based workplace wellness model clearly explains the importance of employee wellness and its impact on human capital development. Dr Els regularly presents workplace wellness papers at conferences, publishes articles in scientific and other popular journals, and has appeared on several radio talk shows.

Cell: +27(82) 496 7960  
E-mail: dicky@bewell.org.za 
Websites: www.bewell.org.za | www.wellnessprogramevaluation.com 
SKYPE: dickyels9914

The Philippines

Conrado S. PerrerasCONRADO S. PERRERAS

An economist by training, a marketer by profession and an entrepreneur by choice, Conrad Perreras started his wellness advocacy at the turn of the century when the wellness revolution which started in the United States began to spread like wild fire to the rest of the world.  

He established a commercial venture to help people live a healthy lifestyle and organized an advocacy to build a well nation and live a life that matters.  He now conducts wellness education programs both in the public and the private sector through his seminar-workshops as part of the wellness awareness campaign, performs wellness assessments and recommends lifestyle interventions in nutrition, exercise and energy management.  

He is a member of various associations in different non-government organizations to promote happiness and wellbeing of individuals, families, companies and communities around the country.  He speaks on "Building a Well Nation and Living a Life That Matters" based on the life Filipinos want:  what they want to be, what they want to have,  what they want to do.  He is responsible for hosting the Philippine Wellness Congress which is now on its third year of implementation.  He represents the Philippines in major international spa and wellness events in the Asia Pacific Region.

He lives in Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, Philippines with his wife of 38 years and two children who are both professionals.  He plays golf regularly on weekends with friends and goes to the gym every other day to stay fit and trim.  

He is a Rotarian, a Toastmaster and an Advocate of Good Governance both in the public and the private sector.

249 Langka Drive, Ayala Alabang Village
Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Mobile:  +63915-113-8245  
Email:  csperreras@gmail.com
SKYPE: conrado.s.perreras


Ferroudja MeghenemFerroudja Meghenem


Engineer of the highly reputed “EcoleNationaleSupérieure des Mines” based in Nancy (France), Ferroudja Meghenem started her career in audit and strategy & organizational consulting within Mazars group. For several years, she advised important and medium size groups.

Ferroudja Meghenem is also a passionated Woman who actively supports the values related to health and beauty of body and mind. She founded theF@ME Days®concept, a new approach of Wellness taking inspiration from fashion codes then she founded the company WELLNESS VALUES, a strategic consulting firm specialized in Wellness which helps companies and brands integrate a Wellness strategy within their organization and rethink their customers and employee experience. 

+33 (6) | ferroudja@wellnessvalues.com 
91 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré 75008 Paris. 
www.wellnessvalues.com | Inspire your brand strategy

Czech Republic

Jana StaraJana Stara 

Jana Stara is a PhD. candidate at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, where she developed and delivers the first experiential wellness course for Czech and international students. She dedicated her research and lecturing practice to promoting the concept of wellness in her country with respect to different cultural environment and traditions in Europe. During her professional, she has studied wellness practices and philosophies in Denmark, Turkey and USA. She is a certified Wellness Inventory Coach.

Jana founded an NGO Dobroti, which organizes educational seminars and public wellness-oriented events for local community. Another of their man activities is organizing training courses for European youth workers under the Erasmus+ program. One of their pilot trainings was “Game of Wellness” which combined the wellness ideas and strategies with gamification as principle that makes wellness more engaging and fun than necessary daily routine. The training has already had two editions in Czech Republic, in December 2016 and July 2017, and currently we work on other editions in Scotland, Romania and Iran. 

The positive feedback from students, youth workers and other trainers support Jana’s belief that better times for European wellness are yet to come. So far it is mostly related to the strong spa tradition in Europe.

email: stara.jana@gmail.com
tel: +420 776614121
skype: mladicee
linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/janastara/


Preeti RaoPreeti Rao

Founder & CEO, Welljii
ICHWC Mentor Coach

Preeti Rao's vision is to facilitate sustainable lifestyle behavioral changes that lead to better health outcomes and wellbeing. Preeti’s career path spanning a decade in executive management roles across several countries has provided her an understanding of the global health care system crisis and the importance of preventive strategies in health promotion. She is the Founder and CEO of Weljii. Welljii, is the recipient of "50 Best Wellness Companies Listings- Global Listing" by the World Health and Wellness Congress and it comprises of India's only Health and Wellness Coaching Centre and Institute.

She completed her MA in Integrated Health Studies from California Institute of Integral Studies, USA in 2013 and holds several fitness, yoga and health related certificates. Her expertise lies in exercise physiology, nutrition, health & wellness coaching, stress management, and corporate wellness programs to name a few. Her previous professional work includes UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Atena Wellness Coaching Program, and Charlotte Maxwell Complimentary Clinic in California, USA, Max Healthcare, India and Reebok India as their Fitness Brand Ambassador. Her authored articles regularly get featured in leading newspapers and magazines.

She is the leading internationally certified health and wellness coach and consultant in India. She is also India’s only ICHWC (International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaches, USA) Mentor Coach nominee to mentor others in the profession of Health and Wellness Coaching. Her mission is to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them make lifestyle behavioral changes that last a lifetime.

Phone: 91-8800885482
SKYPE: preetiraok



Professor, Laboratory of Wellness& Sports Education, Meiji University, Tokyo
Shinji is a long time NWI member and attendee and presenter at the National Wellness Conference. He is currently Professor at the Laboratory of Wellness & Sports Education, School of Arts and Letters, Meiji University, Tokyo (2011 -)  From 1994 to 2011 he rose from Assistant Professor to Professor at Laboratory of Health Science and Physical Education, School of Arts and Letters, Meiji His Doctoral studies were through the University of Tokyo, Department of Life Sciences, Graduate school of Arts and Sciences University. 

Shinji is the current Vice-president of the Japan Wellness Society. He is also a Member of Board of Directors of Japan Wellness Walking Association, President of Japan University Sport Climbing Association, Chairman of Sport Climbing Section of Tokyo Mountaineering Federation, a Member of Japanese University Sports Board, on the Strengthening Staff of Japanese Olympic Committee and Coach of Speed Climbing for the Japan National Sport Climbing team. His academic publications and research interests revolve around Japanese Student Wellness Education, Sport Climbing, Sports Injury Prevention, Sports Performance Improvement, Motor Control and Life Long Sports.

水村信二 [mizumuras2@gmail.com]
Cell phone:+81-80-4070-9025
Skype: mizumuras2


Dr. John MunsonDr. John W. Munson

Professor Emeritus of Health Promotion -School of Health Promotion and Human Development, College of Professional Studies, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Current Roles
Past - President – Board of Directors, National Wellness Institute
Senior Consultant, Academic Accreditation – National Wellness Institute
Board of Advisors, Distinguished Ambassador – Medical Wellness Association
Board of Directors – Vesuvius Press Inc. Phoenix, AZ.
Trainer – Personality Resources Inc., New York, Toronto
Owner – Triple L Associates LLC, Wellness Consulting, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Ph.D.  The Ohio State University 1979
M.S. & C.A.G.S.  Springfield College 1970
B.S.  The Ohio State University 1967

Head Coaching, 18 years - Responsible for recruiting, budgeting, counseling, marketing, organizing and teaching in a variety of varsity programs at five universities, 1967-1985  (Lifetime record 212-82-4). NCAA Division I Head Coach in Wrestling and Lacrosse.

Acting Head, School of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics, 1983-84 and 1985-86.  Associate Dean, College of Professional Studies 1986-96.

Created the first academic wellness program in the United States working with colleagues, Dr. Anne Abbott and Dr. Joan North, UW-Stevens Point, 1989.

Professor of Health Promotion, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point 

Associate Dean, College of Professional Studies, Head, School of Health Promotion and Human Development, July 1, 1996 to 2002.

Professional Recognition and Awards

Board of Trustees – National Wellness Association, appointed 1990

Fellow, Association for Fitness in Business, inducted 1994.

Elected to National Wellness Institute, Circle of Leadership 1995

Vice President for Education – National Board, Association for Worksite Health Promotion 1994-96.

Past President – Association for Worksite Health Promotion Region IV (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky) 1997

Chair – Association for Worksite Health Promotion Undergraduate National Standards Taskforce 1996-2001.

Founding Member, Board of Advisors  –  Medical Wellness Association, 2002. 

Taskforce chair charged with starting nationwide student chapters in the National Wellness Institute, 2002-2004.

Taskforce chair National Accreditation of Undergraduate Health Promotion/Wellness Programs, 2004-2008.

Board of Directors  –  National Wellness Institute 2011-2017

Distinguished Medical Wellness Association Ambasador, March 2014

Co-President – National Wellness Institute Board of Directors June 2014-2016

Board of Directors – Vesuvius Press Incorporated 2014-2018

Triple L Associates, LLC
1101 Brawley Street
Stevens Point, Wisconsin 54481
715-340-4855 Cell
john.walter.munson SKYPE


Bob BoydBob Boyd

Wellness Consultant, Educator, Mentor, Coach
Founder Wellness Communication Solutions and Wellness Constructs 

Bob brings 40 years’ experience 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 QUT Wellness Matters Program. Founding President of the National Wellness Institute of Australia he has also chaired a number of State and National professional association. He currently sits on the National Wellness Institute (USA) Board of Directors and is the Chair of the International Committee. He is an accredited Workplace Wellness Director, Certified Workplace Wellness Specialist, Wellness Culture Coach, Certified Facilitator Identity Mapping & The Four Ways System, and Wellness Coach Trainer who has delivered conference presentations, workshops, and training programs and consulted to businesses, associations, governments, and community groups internationally and nationally.

36 Jackson St | Indooroopilly
Brisbane | Australia | 4068
Mobile: +61(0)414.645.837
E-Mail: bobboyd4@bigpond.com
SKYPE: robertlawsonboyd 

I trust that all members will take the opportunity presented to share Wellness information from around the globe and reach out and connect with members of the NWI International Wellness network group who reside in many countries around the world. If you also wish to be part of the NWI International Wellness network group please email me your contact details (bobboyd4@bigpond.com) and I will add you to our contact list.   


Bob Boyd
Chair International Standing Committee
Member NWI Board of Directors
President National Wellness Institute of Australia

Evolution of the NWI International Wellness Group

Reproduced from November 2015 post on the International Wellness Connection blog

President of the National Wellness Institute of Australia
Lecturer for the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, School of Health Sciences

If you have been an ardent or even perhaps an occasional reader of this segment of the monthly NWI member newsletter, you may have been wondering, “How did this come about?” Or then again, perhaps not. If you have been wondering, then I know you will probably at least start to read a little further. If you have not been wondering, or are a first time visitor to this space, then all I can say is please be my guest as you may find my spiel on the historical origins of this group interesting—no guarantee provided.

Despite being a National Wellness Institute member for many years previously, my initial attendance at the annual National Wellness Conference (NWC) was not until 2004. I had joined NWI after attending the first Australian Wellness Conference in Perth in 1990, organised by Australian wellness researcher and author Grant Donovan. There I met and spent time with NWI stalwarts such as Bill Hettler, Don Ardell, Sandy Queen, and others.

Distance, cost and academic timetabling had prevented attendance in Stevens Point before 2004. The weird thing was, I had by 2004 encouraged a few of my QUT Human Movement Studies students, who had shown in-depth interest in the Wellness courses we taught, to attend the conference as part of their ‘tour the world’ post-graduation vacation. That Australian Wellness Conference was not the first time that significant NWI members had visited Australia. A number had done so previously by being invited to work with a number of health professionals in various states. My attendance at the NWI conference in 2004 was not the first by an Australian either. Grant and others had been presenter attendees as early as the 1980s.

After attending NWC in 2005 as a presenter, in 2006 I attended as a volunteer worker. This enabled me to meet with and spend more time with other internationals in attendance. I found that we had common issues in getting to attend the conference. The following year the Conference Programming Committee scheduled a number of special interest focus groups during the conference aimed at involving more attending members in the feedback and recommendations for future NWI and NWC actions.

The majority of International attendees at that conference met with the NWI facilitator, Don Ardell, and discussed the pros and cons of attending the conference—travel distance, costs, lack of institution or company support, English as a second language, etc. The two largest contingents were from Brazil and Japan, some members of which had been attending for a number of years. We agreed to keep in contact with each other via email and Skype over the next 12 months, and this took place to a degree.

The following year International attendees met again over a lunch and similar topics were raised. It was decided to make a request to the NWI Board of Directors to provide a system on the NWI site whereby special interest groups such as ourselves could interact and support one another to share resources and ideas. For our group that was to improve the status of wellness in our respective countries as well as create a conversation with the Board of Directors to discuss ways to encourage more International presenters and attendees to the conference.

The NWI website at the time was unable to accommodate the presence of special interest groups. With the assistance of Michaela Conley a website for Internationals was developed on an outside server and that was partly instrumental in ensuring that beside a few English speaking Internationals (a good number from my part of the world due in part to the formation of the National Wellness Institute of Australia the previous year) there was the next year a presentation by co-presenters from Brazil for whom English was a second language. This was well attended and well supported by many American attendees including a number of NWI Board of Directors members.

Setting the scene for future Conferences, the continuing discussion of issues around International attendance at the Conference was conducted at a BBQ for Internationals hosted by long time NWI stalwart John Munson and his wife Barbara at their home. This encouraged others of our group to provide short presentations the following year as part of a scheduled half day International Forum. With the assistance of John Munson this took the form of a number of ‘Wellness in my country’ presentations by International Conference attendees interspersed by Skyped-in virtual presentations (managed by Michaela Conley from afar) by speakers in a number of countries around the world (Philippines, Chile, Venezuela, Germany, Australia). The International group was complemented by the Board of Directors for their involvement in the conference.

Two 1.5 hour scheduled workshop sessions featuring 4 international speakers, including one for whom English was a second language for the first time, with a scheduled 30 min forum was the group’s conference input the next year. The Board of Directors had implemented a scheme to support International attendees that year with a small reduction in Conference fees. That year was also the first year a formal dinner for International attendees was held at a local restaurant. The friendship between John Munson and Jim Miller (former Stevens Point community member lecturing in Austria) was instrumental in the initiation of the International Wellness Connection Segment in the NWI monthly newsletter which continues to this month with this article.

Authors are requested to provide to me an article between 1000 and 1500 words, centred around the theme “Wellness, generally in your country, or a specific Wellness issue /service/program in your country or a Wellness Issue of International interest.” Since the first article appeared in the NWI January 2012 newsletter (Jim Miller - Austria) there have been 43 articles published up to last month (missing Jan 2014, June 2014, July 2015). Readers have been treated to twenty-eight articles specific to wellness in 15 different countries – Australia (6), Austria (1), Canada (1), Chile (2), Czech Republic (1), Germany (1), India (2), Italy (1), Japan (1), Philippines (2), South Africa (4), Taiwan (1), Thailand (1), Trinidad/Tobago (2), United Kingdom (2).

There have also been eleven articles written by eight different authors on a wide range of wellness topics. These topics covered areas such as mental health, wellness benefits of outdoor experiences, core Workplace Wellness Program issues, Wellness and the aged, origins of Wellness, modern-world Wellness, and more. There have also been articles from Wellness Pioneers Don Ardell (“In the Beginning: Reflections of a Visiting Pioneer”), Sandy Queen (“In the beginning…My Genesis of Wellness”) and Jack Travis (“Wellness in Australia Compared to the US”). Altogether there have been 38 contributors with one person providing 3 articles (2 co-authored) and 5 providing two articles each. Countries from which more than a single author had contributed are Australia 10, South Africa 5, USA 3, Germany 2, Canada 2, Trinidad/Tobago 2. All these articles are archived in full and available to NWI members in the International Wellness Connection web page on the NWI website (Publications, NWI Professional Publications, International Connection).

Over the last few years the group’s conference involvement each year has been 3 scheduled International workshops involving a total of six 30-min presentations, two 45-min International forums involving two 5-min/3-slide “poster” presentations, mostly by those for whom English is a second language, and audience discussions of international wellness topics. Both these types of sessions have been very well attended and appreciated by conference attendees from all over the globe. A very pleasing outcome of these “wet-the-toe” presentations is that often the speakers become full workshop presenters the following year, or move up to 30-min presenters from the poster talk ranks.

Group members each conference attempt to meet and greet any first time International attendee, provide them with an International conference badge tag, invite them to become part of the group and attend the group’s activities at the conference and to stay connected post conference. Unfortunately, due to the ever present issue of cost of travel to attend, a number of the group members find it impossible to attend the conference annually, and it may be a number of years in between physical connection. However, the revamp of the NWI website a number of years ago included a provision of a connection and support portal for International members and other interested members through the My Groups function. The Board of Directors also continue to discuss ways and means to attract International presenters and attendees to the conference.

Next time at the conference remember to check the program for the International sessions and come along, experience the group’s culture and broaden your International Wellness Horizons and connections.

Bob BoydBob is an on-line Workplace Wellness Lecturer for the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, School of Health Sciences. Co-Founder and Director of the inaugural wellness-aligned Health Centre in Queensland in 1976, he is the founding and current President of the National Wellness Institute of Australia. Inducted into the NWI Service and Leadership Circle in 2008, Bob is a member of the NWI Board of Directors and the facilitator of the International Wellness Group at NWI. His academic wellness career commenced in 1990, being involved in the development and introduction of wellness courses in a number of Australian universities while also managing the staff wellness program at one. His personal goal is to work closely with international wellness practitioners and organizations to progress wellness around the globe.

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