by Patrick Pine, Jennifer Workman, Philip Incao, Tom Goode, Arlene Green, Ronda Del Boccio and the Complementary Healing eGuide
In the Year 2000, we will be challenged in many ways: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As we have seen in previous articles and will see in this issue, these challenges can effect our health. Our goal then, is to establish the maximum health state possible for ourselves and our loved ones, which is a state of wellness.
Wellness is a state of high-level health that requires a strong effort to reach and a continual effort to maintain. The result, however, is the best possibility of good health – now and throughout life. Wellness has four parts:
- Fitness – your body needs 20-30 minutes of exercise about 5 days per week. About 60% of US adults do not exercise enough and 25% not at all; for US youth, the numbers are 50% and 15%. See our Fitness articles below.
- Nutrition – what and how much you consume effects how you feel, how long you’ll live, and how you deal with illness and disease. It includes healthy foods, supplements and the all-important water. See our Nutrition articles below.
- Attitude – regular non-physical exercise of the mind and spirit effects your mental and emotional state. This integrates your Fitness and Nutrition efforts. See our Attitude articles below.
- Help – regular visits to healthcare professionals who assist you to a healthy state as well as customize your wellness plan. See our Professional Healthcare article below.
CompWellness Network is applying this four-part program using the full spectrum of healthcare modalities – Acupressure through Yoga, including conventional Western Medicine. The goal is for you and your healthcare practitioners to work together on your wellness plan, using the least-aggressive therapies available to treat injuries and illness, and to assist you with recovery and prevention.
In mid-1996, Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General brought together the scientific evidence that physical activity is good for your health and a sedentary lifestyle contributes to chronic disease and disability. One of the Report‘s major conclusions is that moderate activity helps to combat the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and various other diseases and conditions. Fitness by itself does not guarantee wellness, but healthcare without fitness will definitely fall short of wellness.
The Report also noted that more than 60% of US adults do not exercise regularly and 25% are not active at all. Somewhat surprising, too, is the large number of younger Americans who are inactive: 50% do not exercise regularly and about 15% are not physically active at all.
The 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans – the basis of the federal government’s nutrition-related programs – included physical activity guidance to maintain and improve weight: 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on all, or most, days of the week. Guidelines gives several examples of moderate physical activities for healthy US adults, including house cleaning, lawn mowing, painting, gardening, and many other normal, non-threatening activities.
This 30-minute-or-more, seven-day-a-week program is an excellent goal, but you can certainly improve your fitness by starting with 20 minutes, three days per week. In addition, you can accumulate the minutes throughout the day: two brisk 10-minute walks are equivalent to a 20 minute walk.
The Surgeon General Report’s Executive Summary states, “Underpinning Guidelines’ recommendations is a growing understanding of how physical activity affects physiologic function. The body responds to physical activity in ways that have important positive effects on musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and endocrine systems. These changes are consistent with a number of health benefits, effecting:
- Premature mortality
- Coronary heart disease
- Colon cancer
- Diabetes mellitus
- Depression and anxiety
- Mood swings
- Difficulty performing daily tasks throughout life
So, it’s off to the gym for all of us? Not necessarily. Walking is a great way to get your exercise – it costs nothing and is usually very enjoyable, with immediate non-physical benefits. A more aggressive fitness program, especially if your back, knees or legs need work, can be well aided by Fitness Professionals (included in the Help component of wellness)
Fitness Professionals by Patrick Pine, President, National Fitness Therapy Association
The Fitness Professional entering the next century must be prepared to answer some key questions:
- Is a Fitness Professional a personal trainer, a massage therapist, an aerobics instructor, a nutritionist, a yoga instructor, or anyone that works in the healthcare industry?
- What is the minimum educational requirement to be called a Fitness Professional – high school diploma or a two-year, four-year or a post graduate degree?
- What areas of study are recognized – Physical Education, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, Sports Medicine, Health, Corporate Wellness, Others?
- What type of a certification is required, if any, especially given that there are more than two hundred certification bodies for the health and fitness club industry alone?
- How does the Fitness Professional compare to other healthcare professionals?
All of the above questions have been answered for other healthcare professions, such as Physicians, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors and Nurses. The healthcare industry requires a college degree or specific certification, as well as usually licensure or accreditation. In short, it requires specific responsibility, accountability and it is usually regulated either by a government agency or an accrediting association. The fitness industry, however, is basically unregulated.
The challenge is three fold:
- The foremost challenge is to answer all of the above questions that would identify the professional requirements to be called a Fitness Professional.
- Establish credibility as true healthcare providers within the limits of their services.
- A Fitness Professional must be responsible and accountable.
That is precisely why the National Fitness Therapy Association (NFTA) was formed. NFTA accreditation identifies the professional requirements, establishes credibility by adopting nationally recognized standards of operation and validates the services and programs provided by the individual Fitness Professionals within this industry.
Source: Patrick Pine, President, National Fitness Therapy Association (NFTA), 1141 Jersey Street, Denver CO 80220, (720)941-0492, (888)523-4545. Mr. Pine is the founder of NFTA. He has also served as the Executive Director for the Western Association of Clubs (WAC), a regional association of IHRSA, from 1993 to 1998. He has a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Colorado State University and more than 30 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. His experience includes teaching, coaching, recreational director, sales manager, wellness director, club owner/manager and consultant.
Start thinking about your body the same way you think about your car. What would happen if you never changed the oil in your car or put in the wrong gas. You wouldn’t be surprised if the car stopped running efficiently or you ended up calling a tow truck. Learn how to create a relationship with food that will maximize your energy, help you lose unwanted body fat and increase lean muscle.
The following tips should help whether you are a competitive athlete, a person battling a medical situation, or simply trying to increase energy, efficiency or manage weight. The goal is to help increase the efficiency of the system instead of clogging it up or depriving it of something critical. [See expanded tips in the article on her website.]
- Figure out your best ratio of protein, (good) fat and carbohydrates, based on your activity level and body type [see site for more on this subject].
- Go back to using real food. Go for quality instead of quantity. Go for tasty, as well. Americans may overeat because the food is too plain so we go searching for sweets or chips instead of having a warm, satisfying meal. Make sure all six of the following flavors are present:
- Sweet – sugar, milk, butter, rice, breads, pastas, wheat, sweet fruits, honey, sucanat
- Sour – yogurt, lemons, cheese, vinegar, blue cheese
- Salty – sea salt, olives, orsa salt, tamari, soy sauce
- Pungent – ginger, cumin, wasabe (Japanese horseradish), peppers, spicy foods
- Bitter – dark green leafy vegetables, spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, tumeric, eggplant
- Astringent – lentils, most beans, pomegranate, aloe vera juice
- Eat your main meal at lunch. Your digestive fire is strongest and the body is best set up to digest most efficiently between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM. Then have a snack or small meal again with a little protein, then a lighter dinner.
- Gas and bloating are not normal. There is an 85% digestive disorder rate in America. Indigestion is the only way your body can tell you that you are eating something that is not easily digested.
- Alternate your grains. Wheat and many of the other gluten grains – oats, rye, barley, spelt, kamut and corn – are high in B vitamins and fiber, but they can add mucous to the system and aggravate the digestive tract, causing gas and bloating. Using them once every four or five days is probably OK for most, but Americans are eating wheat five times a day or more. In most other cultures like Asia, Latin American and India, rice is the staple grain, which is much easier to digest and is less allergenic than wheat and gluten. Look for grains that are free of gluten and will digest easily – basmati rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, sweet potatoes and baked potatoes – in the form of cereal, breads, crackers, cookies and flours.
- Drink enough water. Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day – more if you are larger than average. This means eight 8-ounce glasses of water or two 1-quart”sippers” per day. Pop and beverages containing sodium or alcohol actually increase your need for water, not reduce it. Herbal Teas without artificial sweeteners are a good substitute.
Source: Jennifer is a consultant to the complementary medical industry, the whole/organic foods industry, and the spa and fitness industry. She has worked in the health and fitness field for 15 years, specializing in sports nutrition and Ayurveda. She owns and operates The Balanced ApproachTM which offers a program based on Ayurvedic principles, designed to help you understand your own body’s response to foods, stress your environment, and how the six tastes can help you manage stress, enhance digestion and maximize efficiency. Visit her website, www.TheBalancedApproach.com.
Nutritional Suggestions, by Philip Incao, MD
Dr. Incao, a highly-respected family practitioner, gives several nutritional recommendations to his patients. Most are very applicable to preparing for the uncertainties of the future to achieve and maintain wellness. These recommendations are very compatible with Jennifer Workman’s recommendations:
- Fresher, more organic and simpler is best for all foods. Avoid processed and sprayed foods, as well as those with many additives.
- Timing foods. Digestion and bodies work better by eating richer and heavier proteins and fat foods – meat, fish, eggs, butter, oils, beans, seeds and nuts – before 3 PM, and fruits and sweets after 3 PM. Vegetables and grains can be eaten most anytime.
- Enjoyment of food is a sign of health. When our body and soul are in balance, what we tastes good is good for us. [Fitness and nutrition help our bodies, attitude helps our soul – see next issue.]
- Beverages. Vegetable juices are rich, alive, powerful and infinitely better than any supplement or vitamin in pill or powder form. Avoid additives – corn syrup, sugar, artificial sweeteners – as well as soft drinks, coffee, cocoa and alcohol.
- Breads. Rye is preferred to wheat, especially white flour products such as pastas, crackers and pastries. Also, sourdough is preferred to yeast. Refrigerate flour to avoid rancidity. Freeze rye breads that may be ordered in quantity.
- Cereals[grains]. Preferred: miller, oatmeal and oat groats, brown and wild rice, barley, unroasted buckwheat groats, spelt and bulghur wheat, or tabouli.
- Eggs. Eat sparingly before 3 PM. Avoid eggbeaters, as well as powdered and hard-boiled eggs.
- Fruits. Unsulpured dried fruits are better stewed or cooked. Avoid canned, sweetened or frozen.
- Sprouts. Sunflower, broccoli, fenugreek, radish, garlic, clover, buckwheat and wheat are good. [Follow safe sprouting procedures, such as thoroughly cleaning seeds before sprouting in a sanitized medium. For more on food safety, see Bacterial Food-Borne Illness by Colorado State University Extension]
- Meats. Fish, chicken or turkey – broiled or baked. Use sparingly. Avoid other meats and all shellfish, as well as fried, smoked, salted or processed meats, and those with nitrites, nitrates, antibiotics or hormones.
- Soy and Legumes. Soy is best fermented – miso and tempeh. Unfermented products – milk, cheese, butter and protein products – contain many toxins or antinutrients. Soy and other legumes – lentils, beans and peas – can replace animal protein. Use tofu sparingly.
- Oils. Butter and virgin olive oil. Avoid all others, especially rancid or continuously heated oils, margarine and shortening. Heat makes oils more rancid and more toxic. To fry or sauté, us a little butter or olive oil in the least heat possible.
- Nuts. Raw almonds and products, not peanuts or products, or any roasted or salted nuts.
- Seeds. Sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia and flax. Avoid roasted or salted seeds.
- Seasonings. Chives, garlic, parsley, bay, basil, sage, thyme, savory, kelp and vegetable seasonings. To warm the digestive fires – cayenne, ginger and horseradish.
- Sweets. Raw honey – not over 1/2 teaspoon daily – in desserts with healthy ingredients. Avoid chocolate, white sugar, sugar substitutes, commercial candies and pastries.
Source: Dr. Philip Incao established a busy general practice of Anthroposophic Medicine in rural Harlemville, New York. He also served as the Medical Director of Camphill Village in Copake, New York, a unique community residence with adult, mentally-handicapped persons. Dr. Incao moved to Denver in 1996 to help the growth of Anthroposophic Medicine in the western United States, and soon opened a holistic medical center. He lectures around the country, but can be reached at or through his center at (303)321-2100.
How’s Your Attitude?
by Tom Goode
The answer to this question not only determines your success in your world, it determines the health of your body. Latest studies in the mind-body science, PNI, have determined that the way we think – our outlook – is a strong indicator of how well our cells function in warding off disease. Optimists recover faster from surgery while living longer with serious diseases, including AIDS. A UCLA study clearly links optimism to increased immune response in healthy people.
So what if I’m a pessimist? In his book, Learned Optimism (Pocket Books) author Martin Seligman, Ph.D. teaches us to dispute the underlying beliefs that result in our negative thinking. Yes, even pessimists can improve their thinking and enjoy the same health benefits.
It’s all a matter of chemistry. Thoughts of a positive nature produce a relaxed mind-body state in which cells regenerate and heal themselves. Negative thinking produces tension which lowers the cells ability to respond and increases cortisol or stress hormone levels.
An immediate remedy is to consciously breath our way through our encounters with negative thoughts. Simply breathe deeply and continuously until the unwanted thoughts shift. If your breathing is shallow, take a course or find a coach to assist you to shift your habit. Breathing through negative thoughts doesn’t mean running away from them. Instead let them be and gently allow full deep breathing to take over. This will shift the internal chemistry while the thoughts pass.
A 7-Breath Series is simple, effective and easy – try it yourself. Breathe … now. Push your stomach out as you take a slow deep breath and feel the energy enter your belly and chest. Pull it up into your shoulders and head. Sigh as you let it go. Feel better? Do it once more. Breathe in and up, pull to the top and release. Go ahead, make the sound – Aaahhhhh – if not aloud, at least in your mind.
Continue to breath as described in the previous issue.
Another advantage of this form of breathing, is that it allows those who have been unable to meditate and relax to achieve the same brain wave state without struggle. Repeated and extended use of the exercise results in a state of relaxed alertness. Long term use supports immune response, provides increased oxygen to the brain for clearer thinking, and energizes the mind-body system.
See Tom Goode’s Biography in the previous issue.
Tomorrow’s Attitude: Only When We’re Ready
by Arlene M. Green
Current thinking in many healing circles is that if we go after what we want, we can achieve it. We want very much to believe this, and when that doesn’t happen, we often feel stuck, failed and useless, wondering why others seem to achieve what we are not.
Recently I read something that I liked and made me feel like I can do it anyway whether I succeed or not. I’ve heard this expressed many ways and this particular statement made a lot of sense. So, here it is…” You need to seize the moment, decide what you want out of life, … and pursue that…until something positive happens. Even if you fail to accomplish the objectives you set, you are infinitely better off in the seeking than you can possibly be in the waiting. ‘Tomorrow’ has finally arrived.” (Success for Dummies: A Reference for the Rest of Us, Zig Ziglar)
My heart is in being an artist. Among other careers, I’m an acrylic painter who isn’t painting. The usual reasons apply, scared of failure and success, too old to learn, what will others think, etc. It can be lonely, intense work that creates the most powerful energy I’ve ever known. Feelings can be so overwhelming I stop before I start.
I’m a believer in achieving my goals. Many of my dreams have been realized. In my artistic life, I’ve touched the heart of my art and run away. I keep telling myself, “just do it,” but I’m not listening. Never mind that my track record is good – sold paintings and received support for my work from many sources. Then I read that quote. I thought, yes, “tomorrow” is now and I can do it no matter what the result.
The quote made me feel that I didn’t even have to believe I could do it. I could relieve myself of the burden of accomplishment and simply do because I want to. Although I know this I think today I was ready to hear it, which is when an attitudinal change occurs.
This is the piece for all of us. We’re not always going to be out there doing. Sometimes we’re going to experience those barriers where a lot of “should’s” can get in the way. Believing in ourselves may seem like a dream for somebody else until something resonates.
So am I ready? I think so. Does my result matter? Of course it does. I’m human after all. But maybe this time I can let go of a few more of the impediments I place between my canvas and me. Step up, my brush dripping with its stream of colors, and nurture my heart once again.
Our wellness depends on understanding that we are always in process concerning our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. This road isn’t direct and can be confusing. The attitude, fitness, nutrition and professional caring that this newsletter discusses invite direction. We will each discover it our way – one new attitude at a time.
Arlene M. Green, LCSW, ASCW is a painter, psychotherapist and consultant. In her therapeutic work, she often focuses from a body-centered and creative process perspective. She works with life transitions, creativity enhancement, relationships, sexual trauma and depression, leads Artist Support Groups, and trains professionals on “Creative Process in Healing.” She is a founding member of the Women’s Arts Center and Gallery in Denver, Colorado, and believes that everyone can Imagine*Risk*Create.™
Let Your Attitude Help You Be Well
by Ronda J. Del Boccio
Take a brief journey with me. Imagine you get out of bed one morning and stub your toe. While trying to make your hot beverage of choice, you splash yourself and spill water all over. Then you trip on your dog’s rawhide and spill your morning brew on you and the floor and have to clean it up. Then you notice your shirt is stained ….
How do you react? Do you decide “Well, now I know the whole day is gonna be a mess”?
Or do you grumble, clean up the messes, and decide “Now the mishaps are over for today so it’s all downhill from here,” and just go on with life feeling it’s no big deal?
Whether you consider this chain of events to be prophetic of a rotten day or all part of life’s challenges, you are correct. Your attitude will determine how you shape the rest of your day.
Attitude is powerful. It can help us shape our lives into something wonderful if we so choose, or it can help us live up to our feelings of inadequacy. We can have the greatest body ever known, eat the best possible food, have good family relations, and have lots of other healthy pieces in place, but our attitude about life will demonstrate how well we truly are.
If you want to have wellness – a healthy, balanced life – the best place to start is attitude. Let your attitude be the compass you carry with you and check frequently to make sure you are on the right path.
The journey to wellness has many challenges, surprises, twists and turns. A bad attitude will leave you wandering in circles, never truly being well. A healthy attitude will guide you as you strive to make good lifestyle choices, learn, grow, and successfully travel your path through life.
Ronda J. Del Boccio, MS, CMT, CRMT teaches holistic health at the Metropolitan State College of Denver CO, sells self-care and nutritional products, as well as teaches stress management, time management, Reiki, opening to intuition, and other workshops. She offers classes and integrative bodywork at Sina Center. She sings and plays various instruments, and loves to craft, read, learn (often from her students), teach and experience nature.
She is also mostly blind, but has an extremely active life, rich with work she loves, great friends, music, learning, animals, and lots of laughter and play. She chooses to live her life, adapt and grow. She does believe that her choice to pursue her interests is as brave or “wonderful” as she has often been told. She simply chooses to live fully, saying, “It is much more interesting and rewarding to have an attitude that lets me actively participate in life.”
Professional Healthcare, adapted from the Complementary Healing eGuide TM
You are in charge of your own health, and Complementary Healthcare practitioners are available to help you. The body is a self-healing, self-maintaining mechanism as long as there are no interferences in its ability to function normally. We’ve all been admonished to eat right, exercise regularly and maintain a good mental and spiritual attitude – very important to any health program. However, we often do not know what the rightfoods are, what is optimum exercise for us, or how to gain a better attitude. Complementary Healthcare modalities help in all these areas.
Complementary means acting as a complement to, or completing, one another. Complementary Healthcare is an inclusive term that recognizes the interaction of many modalities in assisting an individual to wellness. It implies a holistic approach that encourages a cooperative spirit among healthcare practitioners and is preferred to the term alternative, which creates a separation among healthcare modalities.
Western allopathic medicine – conventional medicine – is associated with therapies that frequently require prescriptions for drugs and sometimes surgery. Conventional medicine holds a valuable place in the total spectrum of healthcare, especially for emergency situations and catastrophic illnesses.
Most of the modalities in Complementary Healthcare use a holistic approach to healthcare which integrate with conventional medicine, and do not replace it. Holistic means treating the whole person – body, mind, emotion, energy and spirit. Treating only the physical body allows many of the unhealthy patterns to continue. Therefore, many more conventional practitioners are learning and practicing holistic methods.
The goal is for all healthcare practitioners to work together, assisting you with recovery and prevention and using the least-aggressive therapies available to treat injuries, illness and other conditions. This will lead to a complete Wellness plan.
Complementary Healthcare Movement
There is a strong Complementary Healthcare movement in the United States. The media, companies, unions, associations and insurance companies are beginning to understand that Complementary Healthcare is as equally effective as exclusively conventional medicine for the majority of our health conditions, with the bonus that Complementary Healthcare is usually less expensive. Doors are opening, information is becoming more public, and activity is increasing to accelerate this Movement.
For instance, in March of 1997, the Colorado Legislature passed the milestone Alternative Medicine bill. It allows Medical Doctors, under certain conditions, to practice non-conventional healthcare modalities without having to worry about disciplinary actions by the Colorado Medical Board, solely on the grounds that an MD practices “alternative” modalities. Historically, Medical Boards in all states have taken aggressive action against MDs practicing outside conventional standards of practice. Ask your Medical Board or legislature what the progress is in your state.
With that legal worry lessened for Colorado MDs, they can not only practice the full spectrum of Complementary Healthcare, but feel more comfortable discussing and recommending other modalities to their patients. It will take some time to see a major change in the attitudes and practices of MDs, but now the door is open. This creates several opportunities on which we can all capitalize:
- More cooperation between the conventional medical community – MDs, nurses, physical therapists, clinics, hospitals and journals – and other healthcare modalities.
- More Wellness Programs implemented in small, medium and large organizations – corporations, unions, associations, school districts and family businesses – which use the full spectrum of healthcare modalities for prevention and cure.
- Reduced healthcare costs.
- More insurance coverage for Complementary modalities
- Creative insurance plans covering conventional medicine at much lower rates – initially with higher deductibles and co-payments – leaving 50%-60% of normal insurance outlay available for using of other healthcare modalities.
This will not come easily, but it will come naturally as both the public, the media and our health infrastructures discover – first hand – that Complementary Healthcare works, and works well(ness).
Please join the CompWellness Network in this movement. Show others the Complementary Healing eGuide and encourage them to learn more about and the use of Complementary Healthcare modalities for themselves, their families and their organizations.
There are many Complementary Healthcare modalities and practitioners to help you in your quest for wellness. Many modalities are discussed in Complementary Healing eGuidechapters, in which highly-recommended practitioners are featured. These practitioners adhere to the same strict standards that you should apply to any other healthcare practitioner:
- Highly recommended by a trusted source
- Properly educated in their modality
- Registered or licensed in their locality, as available
- Housed in suitable office space
CompWellness Network Members have contributed time, money and energy to carry the Complementary Healthcare concept to other practitioners, business and professionals, influencing our health information and delivery systems.
With these resources, you will find the modalities and the practitioners that work best for you. Use these practitioners regularly.