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Chiropractic and the Immune System: A Great Relationship

Posted By Dr. Anthony Odney, D.C., Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

A baseball team keeps nine players on the field when it is that team’s turn to pitch. If something happens to one of those players, an alternate player is sent to take that person’s place on the field. As a unit, the team works to accomplish the task of getting all of the batters out in one way or another.

The body’s immune system works in much the same manner as a team of baseball players. How is this so?

During a game, the initial goal of the pitching team is to keep as many batters from gaining access to the field as possible. However, it is expected that batters will eventually make it on base. Once a batter does make it on base, that does not mean that a complete run has been gained for the running team. The defensive team can still get the running batter out before he or she crosses the home plate.

The human body is equipped with multiple methods for keeping out infection, disease, and illness. As the outermost layer of the body, the skin is often considered the body’s first line of defense against disease and infection. Mucous membranes, airways, and the digestive tract are a few of the body’s other natural defense barriers. Life naturally brings us to easily ingest or acquire harmful bits of the world in which we live.

A pitcher and his teammates can do everything right, and a batter will still get a hit. When a ball is put into play by the batter, the nine players must work together to retrieve the ball and use it to get the player out. How the baseball team plays will depend on the skill and determination of the players, time spent in practice, and the ability of the team to communicate effectively.

The immune system also has more than one chance for recovery. The body’s power to protect itself is incredible, but not quite impenetrable. We do get injured and sick, requiring the body to invoke its natural ability to begin healing — often before we are even fully aware there may be an illness underway.

When this happens, our bodies must begin to fight each individual matter from the inside. How well this happens will depend very much on our immune system’s health and ability to send information efficiently through the body.

How Does Chiropractic Boost Your Immune System?


A team may have amazing players, but if they have not learned how to understand one another’s hand signals and verbal cues, enjoying and winning the game will be far more difficult. Players must be able to communicate if they wish to achieve the secondary goal of getting the batter out.

In much the same manner, it is imperative for even the tiniest portions of the body to communicate via their highly intricate methods. Slight misalignments in the body can cause an interruption to the natural communication signals in the body. Chiropractic care empowers the human immune system with one of the most powerful defense mechanisms available: the ability to send messages.

When the ability to send messages through synapses to the brain is hindered or lost, the effectiveness for which wellness in the body can be retained is altered. Chiropractic care techniques work to restore this natural power from within the body.

Chiropractic care fosters a cooperative defensive team within the body’s natural mechanisms for health. Preventative and recovery care overlap in their techniques. Yet, the results are similar in that once communications are retained, wellness is better retained within the tiniest hidden portions of the body.

A seasoned baseball player may seek to inform another player through hand signals that get jumbled or missed. Perhaps a player’s vision becomes blurred, causing him to misinterpret signals. This will affect the outcome of the next play in the game. Something must be done to improve communications in order for the team to improve their game.

Like improving the vision of a player, chiropractic improves the nervous system’s ability to "see" and interpret signals that are sent through the body. Care of the spine and nervous system helps to improve the effectiveness of the information superhighways that run through the spinal column. In turn, the body receives a higher level of properly functioning tiny parts that may assist in keeping it well.

Chiropractic and White Blood Cell Counts


illustration showing human vertebraeChiropractic adjustments serve as a series of gentle communication reminders for the body. These reminders help to reintroduce a sense of focus for nerves as they work to provide healing and wellness in the body. Manual adjustments to the spine and joints help to hone the focus of the joints as they work to help the brain and body communication efficiently.

Chiropractic adjustment(s) work to bring the vertebrae back into proper positioning, relieving pressure on the spine and restoring signals that are needed through the central nervous system. When this happens, white blood cells set about thwarting illness, ailments, and physical conditions that may cause pain and discomfort. In somewhat of a snowball effect, wellness can help us breed wellness within our bodies. When we are healthy enough to enjoy some exercise, we increase our ability to be well.

According to Kate Gilbert in Psychology Today, studies show the relationship that white blood cells have with chiropractic adjustments is positive. A study by the National College of Chiropractic in Illinois found that white blood cell counts are elevated following a spinal adjustment. Intentional care for the spine brings the immune system’s fighting power to an improved level of function benefiting the body throughout.

The relationship between the human immune system and chiropractic is clear. The immune system, as well as the rest of the body, loves the attention and care that chiropractic offers. Dr. Jonathan Verderame of the Digital Journal echoes this, noting the nervous system’s ability to control the immune system as shown by Musculoskeletal Science and Practice.

It is clear that the effects of chiropractic on the immune system are quite desirable. A team that operates with all of its powers and capabilities may bring a winning season, in part, due to good communication!

Doctors of chiropractic may be viewed as a collection of coaches silently bringing beneficial communications back into the immune system for the benefit of the patient.

Dr. Anthony Odney, D.C.Dr. Anthony Odney, D.C. is a graduate of Southern California University of Health Science where he earned his doctorate of chiropractic. In addition, he has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and kinesiology. Originally from Norway, Dr. Odney became a chiropractor because of his belief that the human body is a marvelous machine that can be “fixed” by chiropractic care. At Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, he continues to use a scientific-based chiropractic approach to help patients resolve their medical conditions.

Tags:  chiropractic  physical wellness 

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Mindfulness: The Focused Path to Spiritual Wellness

Posted By Wellsource, Monday, November 25, 2019

This is the sixth and final post in a six-part series focusing on the Six Dimensions of Wellness: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Each post has featured a different dimension of wellness. This post will discuss spiritual wellness and the importance of pondering life and your place in it, being mindful, and finding peace within.

Part 1: Using Gratitude to Improve Your Population’s Emotional Wellbeing
Part 2: 5 Ways to Highlight Occupational Wellness in Your Health Program
Part 3: How to Keep Your Workforce Population Moving
Part 4: Six Strategies to Promote Social Wellness
Part 5: Keep Your Workforce Sharp with These 4 Simple Strategies
Part 6: Mindfulness: The Focus Path to Spiritual Wellness

Crowds of onlookers with mouths agape stared toward the early morning sky. This was no ordinary morning in New York City because 24-year-old Philippe Petit had chosen this day—August 7, 1974—to walk a wire he had secretly strung between the Twin Towers. More than 1,300 feet above the ground, Petit took one step, and then another. He felt the building sway in the breeze as he stood on the 131-foot cable.

“After a few steps, I knew I was in my element and I knew the wire was not well rigged… but it was safe enough for me to carry on,” Petit said in an interview with Ric Burns, producer of the PBS history series American Experience. “And then, very slowly as I walked, I was overwhelmed by a sense of easiness, a sense of simplicity.”

Petit felt alive! He danced and ran on the 5/8-inch thick wire. He sat down and took in the muffled cheers from the ant-sized crowd below. He fully and intentionally experienced each moment. He heard police officers yelling commands, and yet he chose to focus on the wind, the wire, and the joy of remaining balanced.

Spiritual Wellness, Like Balance, Takes Practice

Pictures show Petit smiling broadly, but looking back to that moment he recalls feeling disbelief that it was so easy “after all those years and months of ups and downs and detours, victories, and disasters.” The journey toward spiritual wellness is a lot like that high-wire walk. There may be moments of anxiety, distress, doubt, despair, and disruption, but there are also times of pure joy, happiness, and discovery of who you are, what you value, and how you fit into your world view. To find balance, a spiritually well person embarks on the same process as a tightrope walker: “He discards the movements space will not support,” Petit writes, “and gathers up the others into a group that he will polish, refine, lighten, and bring closer and closer to himself.”

Tightrope walker crossing between two huge waterfalls.

Finding balance—or as the National Wellness Institute says, harmony—between your inner “feelings and emotions and rugged stretches of your path” demands as much poise as walking near clouds. When asked how he copes with the 1992 death of his nine-year-old daughter, Petit replied, “Oh, I cope with joy….One has to find balance between joy and sorrow. I have immense sorrow over the loss of that child, but I also have immense joy when I think of her.” When faced with despair, a spiritually well person moves forward, step by step, exhibiting consistency and focus.

What would happen if your population engaged in a similar kind of balance and practiced focus?

Workforce Benefits of Mindfulness

Spiritual wellness follows these tenets:

  • It is better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and to be tolerant of the beliefs of others than to close our minds and become intolerant.
  • It is better to live each day in a way that is consistent with our values and beliefs than to do otherwise and feel untrue to ourselves.

Source: Hettler, B. The Six Dimensions of Wellness Model. National Wellness Institute.

The most common definition of mindfulness is “the state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present.” Being mindful requires a person to devote extra-focused attention on their thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment. This hyper-attention to the “now” forces you to block out worry and stress. And that simple act has tremendous benefits:

Mindfulness is increasingly being promoted as a way to improve well-being, boost performance, and enhance working relationships.

But Is Mindfulness Hard?

Practicing mindfulness can be challenging at first—just like high-wire walking. But with enough practice, it is also “the simplest, the most beautiful, and the easiest” thing to do. “I shouldn’t say that, but why not?” says Petit. “It’s very easy to walk on a wire if you spend a whole lifetime practicing it.” For Petit, a lifetime of practice has made performing on a tightrope both the most difficult and the easiest art form on the earth.

Mindfulness—the focused path to spiritual wellness—gets easier over time. And the benefits make it worth the effort.

Ready to get started? Download our health challenge “Practice Mindfulness” which includes:

  • A basic quiz for participants to see how much they know about mindfulness
  • An inspiring story of how mindfulness changed one man’s life
  • The benefits of mindfulness to both mind and body
  • Trips for practicing mindfulness
  • A calendar to track your progress as you practice mindfulness each day


About Wellsource

Wellsource, Inc. has been a premier provider of evidence-based Health Risk Assessments and Self-Management Tools for four decades, making us one of the longest-serving wellness companies in the industry. With a strong reputation for scientific research and validity, we offer an innovative family of products that empower wellness companies, health plans, ACOs, and healthcare providers to inspire healthy lifestyles, prevent disease, and reduce unnecessary healthcare costs. Our assessments connect lifestyle choices with healthy outcomes, measure readiness to change for maximum results, and drive informed decisions with actionable data.

Works Cited

Bartlett, Larissa, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of workplace mindfulness training randomized controlled trials. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 2019:24(1):108-126. doi:10.1037/ocp0000146

Brown, Kirk, and Ryan, Richard M. The Benefits of Being Present: Mindfulness and Its Role in Psychological Well-Being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2003;84(4): 882-848. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.4.822

Burns, Ric. Interview with Philippe Petit. “Philippe Petit, High Wire Artist.” American Experience. WGBH Educational Foundation. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Sept. 2003. Feature clip from the documentary film The Center of the World. From https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/newyork/

Dang, Jonathan M. The Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Depressive Symptoms and Quality of Life: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine, 2018;3(2): 011. doi:10.21926/obm.icm.1802011 Day, Elizabeth. “Philippe Petit interview: ‘There is a child inside me that wants to come out.’ The Guardian. June 21, 2004. From https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2014/jun/22/philippe-petit-man-on-wire-highwire-creativity-book

Good, Darren J., et al. Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review. Journal of Management, 2016;42(1): special collection. doi:10.1177/0149206315617003

Hart, Jane. School-Based Mindfulness Eases Stress and Improves Learning. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 2019;25(5): 266. doi:10.1089/act.2019.29237.pro

Hettler, Bill. The Six Dimensions of Wellness Model. National Wellness Institute. 1976. From https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.nationalwellness.org/resource/resmgr/pdfs/sixdimensionsfactsheet.pdf

Hülsheger, Ute R., et al. Benefits of Mindfulness at Work: The role of Mindfulness in Emotion Regulation, Emotional Exhaustion, and Job Satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2013;98(2):310-325. doi:10.1037/a0031313

Johnson, Jill R., et al. Resilience Training: A Pilot Study of a Mindfulness-Based Program with Depressed Healthcare Professionals. Explore, 2015;11(6):433-444. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2015.08.002

Justh, Matthew. (Scott Rubin, Ed.) The effect of Mindfulness on Problem Solving Ability in High School Students. Proceedings of the Berkeley Carroll 8th Independent Research Conference, 2019: 74-79. From https://www.berkeleycarroll.org/uploaded/Publications/SRD_Journals/BC_SRD_2019_8th.pdf

Khoury, Bassam, et al. Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2015;78(6): 519-528. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.03.009

Luken, Michelle, and Sammons, Amanda. Systematic Review of Mindfulness Practice for Reducing Job Burnout. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2016;70(2): 7002250020p1–7002250020p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.016956

Petit, Philippe. “Philippe Petit Meditates on His Life Walking the High Wire: Glimpses of the Finite and Infinite.” On the High Wire. 1985. New Directions Publishing Corp: New York. Translated by Paul Auster. June 3, 2019. From https://lithub.com/philippe-petit-meditates-on-his-life-walking-the-high-wire/

Márquez, P.H. Ponte, et al. Benefits of mindfulness meditation in reducing blood pressure and stress in patients with arterial hypertension. Journal of Human Hypertension, 2018; 33(3): 237-247. doi:10.1038/s41371-018-0130-6

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Wellness Trends - November 2019

Posted By NWI, Thursday, November 14, 2019
Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2019

Eight simple steps to increase your intellectual wellness

  1. Read for fun
  2. Debate an issue with a friend, but choose the viewpoint opposite the one you hold.
  3. Improve your skills for studying and learning.
  4. Learn a foreign language.
  5. Play a board game.
  6. Play a musical instrument.
  7. Write down your thoughts or journal frequently.
  8. Do crossword or sudoku puzzles.

Learn more about each at:  https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2014/03/seven-simple-steps-increase-intellectual-wellness/

Just what is functional medicine?

If you’ve wondered about the specifics of functional medicine, you’re not alone. Read more on thedo.osteopathic.org


The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World

A plurality of experts say digital life will continue to expand people’s boundaries and opportunities in the coming decade and that the world to come will produce more help than harm in people’s lives. Still, nearly a third think that digital life will be mostly harmful to people’s health, mental fitness and happiness. Most say there are solutions. Read more on pewresearch.org

2019 PwC Financial Wellness Report

This year's survey results show more employees than ever admitting to being stressed about their finances. Cash flow and debt challenges continue to plague employees, inhibiting their ability to save sufficiently. Despite continued low unemployment and nominal wage growth, fewer employees feel their compensation is keeping up with the cost of living. We believe that employers will need to take a hard look at their programs to determine whether they effectively address the variety of financial challenges their employees are facing, while motivating employees to improve overall financial well-being and retirement readiness. Read more on pwc.com

When Science Meets Mindfulness

Researchers study how it seems to change the brain in depressed patients. Read more on news.harvard.edu

Health Coaches Approved for CTP Code

The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), a nonprofit affiliate of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), announces the American Medical Association's (AMA) approval of new Category III Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) Codes for health and well-being coaching effective January 1, 2020. Read more on 24-7pressrelease.com

7 Ways To Connect With Your Community And Embrace The New Season!

As the weather changes, the instinct for many of us is to go inside. We start to spend more time in our home, curling up with a good book or movie. And while that can provide some much-needed rest and relaxation, it’s important to resist the urge to isolate yourself, which can lead to loneliness and even anxiety and depression. Here are 7 ways to connect with your community and embrace the new season! Read more on givhero.com

Space Management and the Nitty Gritty of Inclusive Placemaking

Great public spaces are not simply made once. Even beyond the more tangible arts of public space design and programming, public spaces are made and remade again and again in the everyday management decisions made around maintenance, public safety, social services, programming, furnishings, and so much more. Read more on pps.org 

Gallup Creates Global Happiness Center

Gallup measures happiness in multiple ways on a global scale, partnering with the United Nations for the World Happiness Report and sharing insights on people's day-to-day emotional experiences through the Gallup Global Emotions report every year. Read more on news.gallup.com

Tags:  Intellectual Wellness  Wellness Trends 

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What Do You Want to Learn About a Career in Wellness?

Posted By Samantha Diedrich MS, CWP, CWHC, Thursday, November 14, 2019
Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2019

NWI's Emerging Wellness Professionals task force wants your input! Please leave a comment below about what issues you would like help with in your wellness career. Our EWP team is eager to hear from you so that it can incorporate your feedback into its new tools and resources. We're here for you!

Samantha Diedrich, MS, CWP, CWHC, 2020 Vice President of the National Wellness Institute's Emerging Wellness Professionals task forceSamantha Diedrich, MS, CWP, is a Certified Wellness Practitioner and Health Coach with Aspirus Business Health - Wellness. She is passionate about engaging business partners and clients to improve their lives through health and happiness. Samantha is the 2020 Vice President of the National Wellness Institute's Emerging Wellness Professionals Task Force and a winner of NWI's 2019 Circle of Leadership award.

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Dance of Happy, Healthy, Harmonious Friendships

Posted By Michelle J. Howe, Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Young asian woman smiling and petting an elephant friend.Our circle of friends is important.

Friendships bring us into unique dance with one together.

The stage is set by agreement, coincidence or sheer happenstance.
Friendships vary in closeness and role within our lives.
They begin as a casual introduction… sometimes blossoming into more.
It’s important to note that we’re all seeking the same things:

  • Someone reliable and trustworthy.
  • Someone who accepts and validates us.
  • Someone who supports us through struggles.
  • Someone who cares and loves in their own unique way.
  • Someone who brings vitality, stability, and balance into our life.

There are energy dynamics within any dance with another person. There are reasons for the dance. There is purpose, and there is meaning for each dance. Each person’s dance is an investment of time and attention. Each person’s dance creates bonds of reliance or attachment. Each unique dance is a mix of positive, negative or neutral dynamics.

“The concept of friendships is too often simplified.”

During the dance, there’s an exchange of energy. There are energy dynamics as shared in our previous blog, The Energetic Dance of Friendships. This energetic exchange creates imprints of thoughts and emotions within each person. Energetic exchanges are a relevant and important dynamic to note for those on the awakening path.

Too much negative dynamic will create instability, confusion, and struggle. Too much negative dynamic brings you up close and personal to dancing with negativity. You begin feeling unbalanced, anxious or toxic emotions in your life. It becomes important to notice these “friends” and the very real, negative impact they are having on your life.

To avoid the negative dynamic within turbulent friendships, we must learn to discern and make wiser choices. The wisdom comes when we seek guidance by asking questions and going deeper to become our own best friends. In this process, we must learn to embrace an understanding of healthy versus toxic, and recognize our wants, needs, and desires within that dance.

A Good Place to Start — Ask Yourself:

  • What kind of friend am I?
  • What do I bring to the table?
  • What qualities do I like in my friends?
  • What topics and things do I value in life?

A mutually beneficial connection begins with dancing skills — our ability to keep pace with our partner, our ability to follow, and our ability to lead. A beautiful dance allows each to shine their light while the other mirrors that beauty, heart, and soul back to us. This dance shows up as an elegant, playful and beautiful flow between two people.

A vibrant, healthy and harmonious friendship brings a special person to dance with you. This person shares similar energy and capacity to:

  • Uplift and understands you.
  • Match the energy you bring to the table.
  • Show respect and allows space between you.
  • Be independent, kind, honest and truthful.
  • Express love and acceptance of you.

My suggestion to Highly Sensitive Feelers, Healers and Empaths is to embrace energetic awareness, go deeper to ask questions and learn to trust yourself.

  • Notice your feelings, thoughts, or vibes.
  • Notice the energy exchanges between you.
  • Notice the quality and flavor of that connection.
  • Ask, "Is this person or friendship in my highest interest?"

Michelle J. HoweMichelle J. Howe is an Evolutionary Guide, an Awakening Speaker, and a Master Healer. She is the founder of Empath Evolution and the curator of The Empath Evolution Community for individuals who are Highly Sensitive Feelers, Healers and Empaths. Michelle is a powerful channel of high vibrational healing energies who is on a mission to awaken your sense of inner connection and to deepen the trust you have in your own natural gifts and intuition. She's passionate about helping you navigate beyond the negativity, trauma, mood swings and anxiety that often accompany the Empath’s journey.

Tags:  Emotional  emotional health  empath  health & wellness  Mental Health  relationships 

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High Tech or High Touch — What's Best for Employee Wellbeing Programs?

Posted By Ellen Kocher, Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Human hand shaking digital hand coming out of laptop screen.Today, approximately 80% of organizations claim employee well-being is a critical part of their business plans. For younger generations entering the workforce, wellness has become a way of life. Incorporating wellness into workplaces has been shown to improve morale, job satisfaction, overall mood, workplace culture, job performance and, by extension, lives spent outside work. Employees like the way they feel when they have healthy lifestyles and there is tremendous value in having healthy, happy employees. Moreover, studies show that organizations with explicit and well-defined wellness programs tend to both attract and retain better people.

Since most companies have bought into workplace wellness in one form or another, it is more important than ever that it be valuable, affordable and inclusive for all. Organizations are faced with the choice of how to deliver wellness: either "High-Touch" personified relationship-driven programs or "High-Tech" technology-driven programs. This article aims to compare both in order to guide stakeholders to their optimal choice.

Motivational keychain says "High-Touch Wellness"

is essentially delivery of live programs on or off-site through specific wellness coaches working with individuals or groups. Coaches educate, mentor and support people in cultivating positive health choices that assist in achieving health goals through lifestyle and behavior modification. Wellness coaches are health professionals who target not only the physical aspects of well-being but also mind, spirit, and overall lifestyle. On-site wellness coaches are one of the fastest-growing trends in workplace wellness today.

High-Touch Advantages:

  • A personalized approach according to specific needs without a "one size fits all" solution
  • The client has full control of the agenda - so if something didn't work out the plan can be changed
  • Studies have shown the power of interpersonal support in building courage to try new behaviors beyond education
  • It has been shown that maintaining engagement is more likely with a health coach
  • Extra support and guidance to help break through blocks or obstacles
  • Compassionate motivation and accountability
  • Somebody to listen when one wants or needs to be heard
  • A "no-judgment" zone and safe space where struggles can be shared with someone who can relate
  • Employees (and their relations) can learn strategies for changing lifestyle behaviors influencing personal long-term health and well-being
  • The coaching relationship has been shown to positively empower individuals to create permanent changes that possibly were difficult alone
  • Health coaching has been shown to produce better health outcomes than wellness programs without coaching
  • Evidence supports health coaching with 84% of 43 studies combined reporting improved health outcomes at multiple levels in employees regularly working with health coaches
  • In our "High-Tech" world, "High-Touch" coaching is a way to re-humanize our workplaces
  • Coaches are savvy at helping participants understand their data in a way that's meaningful and impactful

Person synching their phone to their fitness device."High-Tech Wellness"

is essentially technology used by individuals and organizations to manage health and wellness. Tech tools provide organizations with the infrastructure to efficiently identify health risk levels of employees in order to develop and deliver programs that motivate, engage and reward. For individuals - through smartphones, apps, computers, and wearables - technology can help track, measure and monitor body functions and actions with real-time feedback supporting informed decisions about specific health behaviors. Today, technology plays a key role in the development of the most cutting-edge wellness programs allowing companies to monitor employee enrollment, overall return on investment and to pinpoint top health issues. This can include employer-driven initiatives such as: wellness or activity challenges, mobile tech tracking food, activity or sleep, email communication, forum-style message boards, push notifications, social networking, video chat, gamification or online education.

High-Tech Advantages:

  • Cutting Edge
  • Individuals play an active role in their health
  • A 24/7 environment - social and other
  • Instant feedback enhancing engagement
  • Individual capacity to monitor goals and compare performances
  • Motivational alerts or rewards when users reach goals
  • Employers can track participation due to the data-driven nature of tech
  • Employers can adjust and customize programs
  • Employees (and their relations) can learn strategies for changing lifestyle behaviors influencing personal long-term health and well-being
  • Data driven
  • ROI and VOI can be measured by both employer and employee
  • Educational
  • Can be cost effective
  • Can be time efficient

The Best Employee Well-Being Programs...Use BOTH!

Wellness is contagious. Employees talk to one another and share their successes. This momentum and "peer pressure" is one of the most powerful tools in creating a culture of wellness as explored above, both "high-touch" and "high- tech" have undeniable advantages.

An intelligent combination can offer a true population management solution that engages a broad number of employees, motivates them to make long-term behavioral change, and contributes to a stronger employer-employee partnership. Every company can make a difference by giving it some creative thought. Even on tight budgets, a little imagination can go a long way since in wellness, even small changes can compound over time and numbers of lives - and businesses improved.

7 Creative Solutions to Combining High-Touch & High-Tech!

  1. Apply a progressive approach, using people in a high-touch capacity to bolster and back up your high-tech tools
  2. Once a human connection is established, propose wellness coaching by telephone or via the internet
  3. Provide your high-touch coaches with the appropriate hi-tech tools they need to create, manage and communicate with participants
  4. Run regular live sessions - maybe monthly - and supplement with ongoing technology
  5. Provide wellness apps and educational platforms to help employees take charge of their health AND provide live coaching to motivate them to use it on a regular basis!
  6. Create a supportive environment for both high-touch and high tech options, involving stakeholders at every level
  7. It has been shown that despite technological tools, most employees appreciate a combination of high-tech and high-touch options, so ASK YOUR PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!
  8. Please reach out to brainstorm your organizations creative solutions!

    Ellen Kocher is an conomist and Certified Workplace Wellness Consultant, Master’s Degree in Health & Wellness Coaching, Accredited ICF, Health & Mindful Eating Coach. Educated in the US, she has lived in Switzerland for over 30 years. Following 10 years in the Finance Industry, Ellen understands the challenges of a busy working lifestyle. In 2003 she lost weight and found her new self through nutrition & lifestyle change. She has dedicated the past 15 years to nutrition & workplace wellness promoting a non-diet, mindfulness-based approach to eating, physical activity, holistic health, and self-care. She has coached hundreds of individuals and groups in dozens of organizations to make sustainable lifestyle changes. Ellen recently earned her Worksite Wellness Specialist Certificate through NWI.

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What does Employee Engagement mean to you?

Posted By Dr. Tyler Amell , Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2019

Employees working on a projectThe first thought that likely springs to mind might well be that heady period that follows a co-worker’s marriage proposal. Happy days. But unfortunately, from a workplace health, wellbeing, and productivity perspective, Employee Engagement has two distinct and potentially confusing interpretations.

I ran into this issue head-on during a conference presentation I gave last spring. The subject of my talk was Health, Productivity, and Engagement, and how these three concepts are interrelated and necessary to cultivate in high performing organizations — those that make up today’s top workplaces. And there is plenty of evidence to support their enthusiasm.

Just under half my audience took the concept of engagement to mean something different to my intended message regarding participation in employer-sponsored wellbeing initiatives. The other half interpreted the concept as I had intended: When people are enthusiastic about their work and workplace, they provide greater discretionary effort, resulting in higher productivity.

The latter concept is one that is frequently discussed among insightful corporate leaders, and is often high on the list of priorities for organizations striving to be employers of choice in a highly competitive global work environment, thus ensuring higher levels of productivity are attained.

Another very sizeable consideration is the fact that ill-health related productivity loss is estimated to cost the U.S. economy in excess of $530 Billion annually, based upon 2018 data from the Integrated Benefits Institute, a San Francisco-based leader in benchmarking in the health and productivity market. Similarly, the lost productivity in the U.S. amounts to over 1.4 Billion days of absence or impaired performance annually.

It’s obvious that people cannot be as productive if they are ill or injured. And people cannot be engaged if their discretionary effort is impacted by personal injury or illness. The logical conclusion is that productivity and engagement, for both the individual and the organization, rest on a platform of health.

The Gallup Organization has some very insightful data on employee engagement, but the numbers are not encouraging. According to the Gallup data, worldwide levels of employee engagement are at 15%, with variation by geographic region.

That’s not to say that 85% of companies haven’t attempted to improve their results. But the issue may lie in how those efforts have been interpreted by employees. Is the message “head” or “heart” driven? Is employee health and wellbeing the empathetic, primary objective, with productivity being the unstated rational dividend? Or is increased productivity the primary objective? If there is a sense that employee engagement efforts represent thinly veiled boardroom attempts to boost bottom-line results, the lack of enthusiasm on the “shop floor” will reflect that.

Health and wellness, at its core, is a personal issue. Whether an individual employee chooses to engage, or not, in a corporate wellness program may well be the result of how they interpret the motives behind this corporate offering. In supportive corporate environments, employee wellness programs promote engagement by creating and sustaining a sense of community in the workplace. They foster work-related relationships that reflect the supportive corporate culture. These individual relationships meld into groups and provide a fertile base that nurtures teamwork and collaboration, valuable elements of a contemporary corporate ethic.

Macey and Schneider published an interesting summary in the academic journal Industrial and Organizational Psychology where they differentiate between various types of employee engagement, all based in organizational psychology. The authors noted three types:

  • Psychological State Engagement,
  • Behavioral Engagement, and
  • Trait Engagement.

Close up of business man stacking small Engagement as a psychological state refers to employee involvement and commitment. Behavioral engagement is a demonstration of proactive, personal initiative. And trait engagement is demonstrated through positive views on life and work. As well, other factors, such as the nature of work, and the type of leadership have an obvious effect on these elements of employee engagement.

They strongly suggest that all types should be measured in engagement surveys and employee sentiment analysis. These surveys have seen a substantial increase in their use in the past few years as organizations struggle with assessing and improving employee engagement as they look to improve productivity.

Those organizations in the top quartile of Gallup’s global employee database are 21% more profitable, and 17% more productive than those in the bottom quartile. And these numbers don’t include other significant results in areas such as higher levels of quality, safety and perhaps most importantly, valuable staff retention. Other sources of information find similarly positive outcomes. But unfortunately, for some people leaders and the organizations they oversee, the concept of engagement is more important than the health of their workforce.

Which brings us to the second interpretation of Employee Engagement. Many professionals engaged in workplace health and wellbeing limit the concept of engagement to the raw number of people participating in wellbeing programming, or interested in assessing and improving their personal health. This obviously leads to workplace health and wellbeing discussions that are limited in scope and not necessarily aligned with the priorities of people leaders in organizations — a group that tends to be more focused on the concept of enthusiasm for their work and workplace, discretionary effort, and of course, productivity.

I believe it would be beneficial, on a number of levels, for wellbeing services vendors, insurance carriers, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), and Third Party Administrators (TPAs) to rethink their approach to workplace health, wellbeing, and productivity. This would represent a pivot away from the idea that health costs (absenteeism, disability, pharmacy, medical, and health) should be the primary considerations for people leaders. It would be a move toward viewing employee engagement as a focus on the health of their workers, which then leads to positive results in increased engagement, discretionary effort, and productivity.

Research, surveys, and expert opinion are most often less-than-perfect interpretations of reality. Add in the increasingly complex trends in employment types such as freelancers, contractors and consultants, and the effect they have on the employee base, and obvious conclusions become less so. But all signs point to one, indisputable fact: a healthier workforce is also a happier, more cohesive, and ultimately, a more productive one.

Dr. Tyler AmellDr. Tyler Amell is an internationally recognized thought leader on the topic of workplace health and productivity, as well as a frequent speaker and writer. He is a trusted advisor on strategic and integrated workplace health and is the Chief Relationship Officer at CoreHealth Technologies, a corporate wellness technology company that powers well-being programs for global providers. He is on faculty at Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences and is on the Executive Board at the Work Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute and as well as the National Wellness Institute. In the past, he has served on the executive board of the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), and the Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health (CARWH). He has held senior executive positions in a variety of sectors including human resources technology, consulting and healthcare.

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Can Good Posture Help to Prevent Back Pain?

Posted By Dr. Nicholas McCarty, Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2019

Man stooped forward, holding his back in pain.Do you suffer from back pain? Are you trying to find ways to help alleviate it? If so, you might first want to look at your posture. Back pain is often caused by poor posture. This is because it causes strain around the spinal cord which results in pain. In many cases, it can also cause more extreme symptoms, like ruptured discs. Keep reading to learn how good posture could help your back pain. You’ll learn how back pain is often caused and how good posture can fix it.

What Causes Back Pain

Back pain is typically caused due to severe inflammation or strain around the spinal cord. This problem can be caused by numerous things. This includes:

  • Muscle or ligament strain
  • A ruptured disc
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Scoliosis

Woman holding her head on both sides, with a headache.Symptoms of Back Pain

Back pain comes with quite a few different symptoms. Many common symptoms include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Pain when you move around
  • Pain radiating down your leg
  • Stabbing pain in your back
  • Numbness in your back and legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headaches

The Benefits of Good Posture

While some back pain problems are due to a medical condition, most are caused by bad posture. Hence, the importance of good posture cannot be understated. Below are some benefits as to how it can help to eliminate your back pain.

It Keeps Your Bones and Joints in Correct Alignment
When you use incorrect posture, it can put strain on your bones and joints. This can eventually cause them to move out of alignment, when your spine’s strange position causes them to shift. Eventually, this can lead to back pain. Using good posture prevents this because it stops strain on your back’s bones and joints.

It Prevents Stress on Your Spinal Cord
Bad posture can also put stress on your spinal cord. Your spinal cord is surrounded by vertebrae, which protect it and enable both flexibility and support during movement. Bad posture can cause these bones to move or be pushed into awkward positions creating stress on your spinal cord as your vertebrae try to maintain their natural curve. Poor posture not only causes the vertebrae to move in different directions, but it can shift your body weight, putting even more stress on your spinal cord.

It Improves Circulation
Good posture can also help improve your circulation. When you slouch, it causes your blood to move away from your heart. When you use proper posture, circulation to your heart is increased. This also helps to lower blood pressure, as your body is optimally aligned for your blood to circulate as efficiently as possible.

It Reduces Muscle Tension
When you have poor posture, it can lead to muscle contractions which can lead to back pain and tension headaches. Good posture keeps your muscles relaxed which can reduce tension headaches, stiffness, back pain, and other soreness throughout the body. Reducing muscle tension also helps to prevent injury.

It Can Boost Your Energy Levels
You might be surprised to learn that good posture can help to boost your energy. This is because it reduces tension and strain around your spinal cord which can alter your mood. As mentioned above, it also improves your circulation which can encourage your body to feel happier and energetic.

Techniques for Using Good Posture

Woman stretching with an exercise partner

Below are some techniques you can keep in mind to help ensure you use good posture.

Stand Tall
One of the best ways to improve your posture is to stand as straight as you can. This will work to stretch your spine back into its natural curve. It can also help to provide relief to painful muscles around your spinal cord affected by your poor posture. While standing straight, make sure to also bring your shoulders back slightly. This will help to align your neck and spine.

Use a Lumbar Cushion When You Sit
One way to help your posture is to use a lumbar cushion when you sit. Your lumbar system consists of your spinal cord and the nerves surrounding it. This item will work to help keep your lumbar system aligned while preventing you from slouching.

A lumbar cushion is designed specifically to provide support to your spine when you sit. It helps to make you feel as if you’re floating rather than compressed against a seat which can cause tension in your tailbone that moves up into your spine.

Limit Your Screen Usage
Many people today suffer from what is called “text neck”. This is when your neck becomes sore and tense due to you lowering it down to look at your smart device. Because your neck is connected to your spine, tension in your neck can affect the spine as well. Due to this, it’s ideal to limit your time on your smart devices. You can also make sure to lift them up to eye level to prevent bending your neck down.

Watch Your Shoes
Sometimes the shoes you wear can cause strain to your spine. This is because your gait—the way in which you walk—involves the bones in your feet, and how they move will ultimately affect the alignment of the spine. If not properly supported, your feet can cause your spine to slouch which can lead to back pain. Take care to wear adequately supportive shoes to ensure they properly support your spine.

Gently Stretch Your Body
Back pain can be caused by your muscles tensing up because they aren’t being moved. You can help to prevent this by standing up, keeping your shoulders back, and gently stretching your body. This will keep your spine aligned while also releasing any tension you might have.

Keep Your Weight Evenly Distributed on Each Foot
Some people might lean more on one side of their body. This can cause strain to the side that is being pulled. To prevent spinal strain, work to keep your weight evenly distributed on both feet. This will also help to keep your spine aligned and prevent back pain.

In some cases—such as with scoliosis—you might need special medical treatment. If you suffer from back pain that persists, is intense, or comes with other symptoms (such as tingling in your extremities), it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Remembering to pay attention to your posture, however, can help to significantly reduce the symptoms of many causes of back pain, improve your circulation, boost your energy levels, and prevent injury. Good posture is one of the simplest and most important ways to start yourself off “on the right foot”.

Dr. Nicholas McCartyDr. Nicholas McCarty is a graduate of Logan University where he earned his degree in chiropractic medicine. After moving to Alaska, he became a chiropractor at Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage as well as a physiology lecturer at the local university. However, his true passion lies in chiropractic medicine. He found his calling as a chiropractor after being treated for post-surgical pains of his own. His primary mission is to treat and reduce unrelieved pain in patients, as well as stay abreast of new technological developments in chiropractic and physical medicine.

Tags:  back pain  physical wellness  posture 

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How Technology is Expanding the Wellness Industry

Posted By Romuald Antoine Jr., CPT, CHC, Friday, October 11, 2019

Couple using fitness apps on their phone while in the gymTechnology continues to change the way work is done and is reshaping the landscape of the wellness industry. As employers increasingly rely on technology better manage employees, engage them in wellness, and improve morale, they are looking for digital health solutions.

One of the key findings in the 2019 Workplace Wellness Trends Report by Shortlister of findings from 10 out of 12 largest employee benefits consultants in the US is that 66% of mid to large size employers are implementing or seeking for a wellness platform or mobile app to engage their employees.

With technology, the possibilities are endless because there are so many segments of wellness that a company can cover. For example, some companies only offer digital biometric solutions, while some offer apps to help employees with depression. Then there are some that are more comprehensive and offer modules covering each dimension of wellness.

Here are 3 ways wellness platforms are changing the industry for the better.

  1. Conduct Health Assessments & Biometric Screenings
    A health assessment is a great way to get a baseline of a population's lifestyle and health risks. When that data is then combined with biometric screening data it can allow a user be educated on their results, get a personalized action plan, or even schedule a visit with a health provider, all within minutes.
  2. Educate and Raise Awareness
    There are so many ways to educate employees about wellbeing, including the use of flyers and newsletters or hosting a lunch-n-learn. New wellness platforms now have customized content readily available through video, live-chats with experts, blog posts, and podcasts. These help employees understand the importance of behavior change and absorb the material in a fun way.
  3. Tracking Wellness Activities and Program Participation
    This is the fun part! With the use of wearable devices such as a Fitbit, Garmin or even a smartphone, employees can now track their health. Some devices track sleep, steps, and even offer guided meditations. This allows a user to not only continuously track their activity, but also set personal goals, earn rewards, and even have some friendly competition within the office. On the other side, this is another tool that HR can use to see if a program is being used, or if users are engaging with the content and if it's beneficial to the company.

Is this only relevant to HR Staff?

Woman on video chat with her wellness coachWhile all this information may sound impressive to an employer, how can this help an emerging wellness professional?

About six years ago, once you entered the wellness space, you most likely were going to work for a company that only offered health coaching, consulting, or corporate workshops. Now with technology, people with a wide range of experience and backgrounds can be a part of the wellness industry in a new way. For example, if you're a software engineer you might join a team that has a digital solution to help reduce chronic disease; if you're a health coach some companies now offer virtual coaching that can be done remotely; if you're a graphic designer you can create the content that is used in the portals of wellness programs. Even if you're still interested in interacting directly with employees, offering workshops, or creating content, there's still a need within digital health companies.

All in all, the addition of these solutions enables more professionals to find their space in the wellness industry. The power of technology can give employees fun wellness programs at work, and provide tools to scale wellness offerings, research, and knowledge to thousands. Looking ahead for 2020 and beyond, there will be even more ways to combine tech savviness with old-fashioned human interaction to move the wellness industry in the right direction and improve the employee experience.

Romuald Antoine Jr., CPT, CHCRomuald Antoine Jr., CPT, CHC is a millennial engagement expert and author of the Ultimate Guide to Engaging Millennials, is the founder and CEO of One Stop Wellness, a workplace wellness company that helps organizations empower their employees to improve their lifestyle.

Tags:  biometric screening  health assessment  technology  wellness programs  workplace wellness 

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Unlocking Wellness at the 2019 National Wellness Conference

Posted By Lisa Medley, Thursday, October 10, 2019
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2019

Dana Bender and Lisa Medley“This conference is life-changing,” was a popular refrain from the 2019 National Wellness Conference held the first week of October in Kissimmee, Florida. In its 44th year, this gathering brings together experts with decades of experience, those shifting gears to create more meaning in their lives and those they serve, as well as brand-new wellness professionals. 

The conference theme was The Key to Thriving: Six Dimensions of Wellness. Things kicked off Monday afternoon with a warm welcome from members of the board, staff, and Heart-to-Heart Committee along with a chance to unlock the Keys to Thriving Treasure Chest and win prizes donated by sponsors, exhibitors, and presenters. After registration, conferees enjoyed the Exhibit Hall Grand Opening that included a range of sponsors and exhibitors that supported all Six Dimensions of Wellness and more! There were opportunities to learn more about your genes, your brain, the brain in your heart, pain reduction remedies, innovative technological solutions, and financial wellness. Educational, coaching, wellness-based insurance companies, and healing centers were also present to offer missing pieces to traditional models and support the wellness movement. 

After an evening of making new connections and reconnecting with treasured friends, Tuesday morning began with hugs—lots of them! Ken Nwadike of the Free Hugs Project shared stories of de-escalating intense confrontations on the frontlines of riots and protests. His efforts in “Restoring Civility in America” show the vital importance to be more supportive and respectful toward one another and celebrate the hope that peacekeeping is possible, even amidst uprisings. In addition to his powerful stories, he invited us to hug a neighbor, cheer on four conferees in a race to win Free Hugs T-shirts and, at the conclusion of his presentation, receive hugs from Ken himself. The line was long, lasted nearly an hour, and embodied the whole-person approach of the National Wellness Institute.

Then there were rabbits. Wednesday’s keynote was delivered by Dr. Kelli Harding, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, who shared “The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness.” (The presentation shares the name of her recently released book.) She explored the science of surprising hidden factors, such as kindness and connection in our day-to-day lives, that can have profound impacts on our overall health beyond visits to the doctor’s office. The Rabbit Effect was referring to a study that showed the significant growth and development of a group of rabbits who were not only fed, also but held in the arms of a researcher. Shortly after setting the stage for her stories and research discoveries, she invited us to greet one another with kindness and remarked that “this group doesn’t need to be told twice.”

Arkansas Dept. of Health employees completed Certificate of Worksite Wellness Specialist

On Thursday morning, we were treated to a robust panel discussion: Thriving in Today’s Environment. Moderated by Jane Ellery of Ball State University, the panel included: DeAnne Aussem, Managing Director & U.S. Leadership Coaching Center Center CoE Leader at Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC); Colin Bullen, Founder and Director of BRATLAB Limited; and Curtis Watkins, Owner of Watkins & Associates Executive and Team Development. These three inspiring professionals come from different avenues of wellness and have a shared vision: helping others to thrive in their everyday place. 

The panelists offered ingredients for successful thriving and addressed myths that limit progress. One key to thriving is integration, so that wellness practices are applied by all, including leadership, and woven in throughout the day. Examples include nap pods, prayer rooms, 1-minute meditations at the beginning of meetings, rooms for teaming and collaborating, and walking meetings. The overarching theme was redefining the way work gets done. 

Another key that was echoed by the panelists was the importance of a clear vision of what it means to thrive. Aspiration is worthy and it needs to be connected to the underlying rationale both on the professional and personal level. When it comes to day-to-day practice, patience is required, as well as the acceptance that thriving is a journey of continuous steps. 

What happens when even though there is vision, something is still amiss? The panelists gave voice to many myths that may impede progress. The myth that education is enough was debunked. This is the case for rewards and incentives as well. Although changes may occur initially, they will not stick in the long-term. Sometimes it is a matter of not circling back to programs to see what is working and what is not; more often there is lack of intrinsic motivation. 

A remedy offered is ensuring the internal and external environments are supportive for ongoing success. For example, is someone’s inner landscape being driven by a belief of, “I can’t” regarding the change they would like to make or are presented with? In this case, asking questions, sometimes many, provides an opportunity for people to share their stories rather than being stopped by assumptions. In addition, it is important that the focus is on “Who are you?” not just what you do. To humanize workplaces and communities, it is necessary to honor that we are one human being; not someone at work and someone else at home.  

Intrinsic motivation is ultimately strengthened by increased self-awareness. All the panelists offered a variety of tools and practices to support this process. These include: meditation; emotional literacy, including befriending those emotions that may be in the “shadows”; somatic awareness (paying attention to what you are sensing below the neck); engaging in practices to feed all of you—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; and being willing to be vulnerable.

Recognizing the impact of the external environment is also key. Internal shifts will be more sustainable if the outer world is supportive. For example, if there is encouragement to move/exercise, is there actually time to do it? When people are having breaks, to what extent are they using it to restore themselves or are they getting lost in technological overstimulation? Are those in leadership being active role models? Is there nonjudgment for ideas and emotions? In other words, is it safe enough to let your guard down and be authentic? Is there a focus on the collective and collaboration or is the myth of separation or a “lone ranger” mentality present?  

Parting thoughts included celebrating that every single person has value and is part of the whole to create a world of contributors, not just consumers. In addition, getting to know your inner landscape with simple queries like, “What is important to me?” is essential. The wisdom of Victor Frankl was also shared who taught that in between a stimulus and response we all have the power to choose. When we create the time and space to practice being in that space, we can expand our choices to be well while being efficient with our energy. This is a powerful recipe for greater liberation, which can truly make the world a better place to live and thrive!

When we weren’t being inspired by this amazing group of keynotes and panelists, the wellness horizon was being expanded by a plethora of presentations. One of the cornerstones of the National Wellness Conference is an opportunity to engage both the personal and the professional. There were a variety of continuing education credits to be earned, and a rich selection of strategies, tools, and techniques. Conferees could explore their spirituality and body wisdom, increase their emotional repertoire, become more mindful, map their heart, and get to know the brain in the gut. The Coaching Academy, Worksite Academy, and Multicultural Competency Academy all offered immersions in their respective areas. A range of populations were represented, from engaging with youth to retirement as well as worksites, schools, diversity and inclusion, integrative health, and international representation from ten different countries. There was also delicious food, a kazoo band, waving to alligators from a distance, and social time to eat, drink, and be merry.   

It is an exciting time to be in the wonderful world of wellness! To celebrate the continued evolution of this field, next year’s conference theme is: Reimagine Wellness. Save the dates for July 20-22, 2020, and join us at Orlando World Center Marriott. In the meantime, dive into the rich resources that the National Wellness Institute provides all year long to reinforce the powerful currency of connection.

Lisa MedleyLisa Medley, MA, CMT serves as a Wellbeing and Body Intelligence Expert. She supports her clients to cultivate positive relationships with their body for sustainable inside-out wellbeing. Lisa believes in reintegrating the body and its wisdom to support the evolution of our divine human potential. Learn more at SoulisticArts.com. Check out her new Instagram page as well: @soulisticarts.

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