07 Aug SELF CARE IS THE NEW HEALTH CARE
Five years ago, Lisa Lam was working as a fashion buyer in Hong Kong. The hours were long and it was a stressful environment.
“I was getting a lot of digestive issues and other health conditions to the point I knew I had to do something about it,” she says.
As a start, Lisa cut back on anything processed. Instead, she began focusing on a diet of real food.
“I (also) incorporated Kombucha (a fermented drink) into my diet and it really helped with digestion (my life saver!). I then slowly cut down on meat and started following a plant-based diet. I am now proud to be a vegan.”
Lisa quickly realized these dietary changes had transformed her health.
Not long after that, Lisa decided she wanted to transform her work life as well, starting her own business with her sister, Patricia.
Now, Taboocha Tea (http://www.taboocha.com) – a portmanteau of Kambucha and the name of their beloved dog, Taboo – is sold in countless specialist stores across Hong Kong and Macau, as well as online.
This change has made a huge difference, not just to her health, but to her approach to life in general.
“My digestive problems are gone. I feel healthier and my immune system is definitely stronger. I am also committed to adopting a compassionate and conscious lifestyle. Making choices not just for myself, but for the environment and other sentient beings.”
Lisa, along with Patricia, was listed in a recent digital magazine as one of 5 game-changing entrepreneurs in the city.
For Lisa, being healthier with what she eats has also encouraged her to be more active.
“I never really exercised before, but now I do some outdoor activities, such as hiking with my dog. I plan to take on more challenges to get stronger!”
Finding your true calling by taking charge of one’s work life has long been an aspirational goal. Yet doing so in the wellness industry has become the concept for the 2000s – and beyond.
No longer do we simply want cures to inevitable ill health, we want to avoid being unwell in the first place. And the desire – and ability – to live this life is growing. Doctors and hospitals are stretched to the limit as it is. And whereby once, doctors were the last word on living well, the communication age has meant information abounds on all elements of health – exercise, diet, alterative therapies – allowing us to make decisions ourselves before health issues caused by exhaustion, lack of nutrition – or both – set in.
And while professional medical assistance is and always will be necessary, self-care and health care can now work synergistically.
So much so, that some of the most successful entrepreneurial spirits around the world are in the health and wellness industry, often finding their way there because of their own experience with being unwell (Dr. Andrew Weil, endless health bloggers/recipe queens, Joe Cross Tim Ferriss – if you don’t know about them, looks into it now!).
Health is the new wealth. It’s an indicator of success. Everyone from Forbes magazine to the Huffington Post has health or wellness influencers list.
Take the rising star that is Phoebe Lapine (phoebelapine.com), whose latest book, The Wellness Project. How I Learned To Do Right By My Body Without Giving Up My Life (Penguin Random House) has become a huge hit for its honesty and practicality.
Lapine was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in her early twenties. Feeling overwhelmed by her doctor’s strict protocols and confused when they directly conflicted with other information she garnered elsewhere.
After experiencing mixed results and a life of deprivation that seemed unsustainable at best, she adopted 12 of her own wellness directives — including eliminating sugar, switching to all-natural beauty products, and getting in touch with her spiritual side —to find out which lifestyle changes truly impacted her health for the better.
HOW I LEARNED TO DO RIGHT BY MY BODY, WITHOUT GIVING UP MY LIFE
Like Phoebe, Lisa has also taken a long-term approach.
“I don’t believe in temporary symptomatic relief and I focus on long-term health improvement,” says Lisa.
“I incorporate super foods such as turmeric and fermented foods in my daily diet and they help me stay healthy and strong. Essential oils are also important to help me relax and lift my mood.”
Phoebe and Lisa are riding the wave of change.
Corporates, too, are fully aware of how self-care can reduce massive financial outpouring.
In 2015, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the US wrote:
“Ten per cent of visits to the doctor’s office are unnecessary, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). Those appointments cost…employers billions of dollars in lost productivity and unnecessary health care costs.
“But what if employees knew how to recognize routine medical issues that they can treat themselves? And what if companies encouraged such self-treatment?”
The SHRM went on to say that the good news is that employers are in an ideal position to help employees change their behaviour.
“This is where self-care comes in. Self-care is defined by the World Health Organization as ‘personal health maintenance to improve or restore health and to treat preventative diseases’.”
Self-care comes in various forms, according to Scott Melville, CEO of a US-based industry trade group. Among those were:
- Healthy eating.
- Taking dietary supplements.
It’s not just dietary. In June this year, Science Daily reported that “a self-help approach to a graded exercise program, supervised by a specialist physiotherapist, is safe and may reduce fatigue for some people with chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a new trial of 200 people published in The Lancet”.
And with so many technological advancements allowing us to safely track our health, we can play an even bigger part in our own health care.
It’s only going to become more important. Earlier this year, Forbes reported that stress management, total wellbeing and mindfulness are among the top corporate wellness trends for 2017.
The good news is that – unlike a couple of decades ago – there are endless therapies, treatments, forms of exercise and spiritual centres, gyms, dietary experts and countless best-selling books that can be resourced by those wanting to avoid a life of pain or ill health as best they can.
They key is to make the choice, find what suits and open yourself up to making the change.
Flex offers a number of workshops designed for self-healing, including Feldenkrais, Yamuna Body Rolling, Detox Programs, Retreats and Pilates Sports Clinics.