Holistic Alternative Medicine

The Spa Industry Looks Well and Good

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by

ispaAfter attending the 2013 International Spa Association (ISPA) annual conference, it certainly was apparent to me that all is well and good in the wellness industry.  From my observations, the $14+ billion U.S. market looks to be growing at a steady and healthy pace. “Things certainly are looking up.” Said Roberto Arjona, General Manager of the legendary Rancho La Puerta Resort and Spa. “We have not seen reservation bookings for our resort like this since before 2008 and we are now over one hundred percent capacity going into next year.”  Rancho La Puerta is not the exception. According to ISPA’s 2013 research, people visiting day spas, hotel and resort spas, and destination spas are all on the rise from 156 million in 2012 to 160 million in 2013 and spending has increased to an average of $87 per visit ; almost a two percent increase over the previous year. ISPA organizers said conference attendance was also back to pre-2008 numbers with packed educations sessions, and a busy expo floor showcasing interesting new products and services. I have been coming to this show for several years and here are some of the major observations I see trending in the wellness space:

Going deeper

It appears that spa product companies are becoming more intelligent and in touch with ingredients that promote healthy-aging rather than anti-aging. In previous years it was sometimes difficult to find truly natural and organic brands that were not greenwashing.  Labeling is a tricky thing and not many brands carry certifications such as USDA organic, Ecocert, or Natrue to verify their claims of being organic. This is because many are small boutique brands and find certification expensive. I did see a lot of companies claiming to be eco-friendly or natural and when questioned further most had intelligent responses and provided a deeper back story on sourcing and manufacturing.  

Evidence and Earth Based

I saw a lot of brands promoting benefits of natural ingredients such as seaweed, oils, stem cells and anti-oxidants. Although these ingredients have been used in spas for years if not decades, it seemed that there are more or perhaps I am just now beginning to recognize them. The science and evidence based elements of research as it relates to natural and organic based skincare regimes is more apparent and bringing about a new products that are very interesting including brands like OSEA, Dr. Hauschka, and Pino. However, with the FTC green guidelines recently released it is important that brands be aware that any eco claims that cannot be backed are subject to fines.

Bathing popularity

Kniepp claimed their sales of salt bath products have doubled in the past year due to the growing awareness of the ability to re-mineralizing the body through salt mineral bathing.  Salt products harvested from salt mines of the Himalayas or from European seas such as Kerstin Florian seemed to be more prevalent. I love salt baths and think they are a great component of a healthy regiment. But hearing that salt demand is on the rise globally is concerning. I hope the purity is maintained while the mining of this is also environmentally conscious.

Oil overflowing

It seemed like every other vendor was promoting essential oils which I think is a good thing.  For years many aromatherapists have claimed the healing benefits of essential oils.  I ran into an old friend Michelle Roark, the founder of Phia Lab, who was a professional skier, engineer, and now perfumer. She is doing energetic measurements of essential oils in kilojoules. She claims she has scientific proof of the calming or energizing qualities of oil frequencies. Here reports should be public soon and will demonstrate scientific proof of health benefits in using essential oils which is quite exciting and I am sure will be welcomed by the aroma therapy community.

Wellness Tourism on the Rise

My favorite session was on the growth and expansion of Wellness tourism presented by Suzie Ellis of SpaFinder. She spoke on “Why You Should Care About Wellness Tourism: Latest Research on the Global Wellness Tourism Market - And How Spas Can Benefit.” She covered the distinctions of medical tourism vs. wellness tourism. Susie said medial tourism focuses on reactive, symptom based medicine that people travel to another state or country to fix and heal. This includes cosmetic surgery, cancer treatments and organ transplants. Wellness tourism promotes a more proactive and less invasive approach that promotes a healthy lifestyle focusing on physical activity, diet and personal development or mind body experiences.  This has become a $439 billion dollar global market with major potential. It encompasses not only spa but alternative medicine, active lifestyles, yoga and mind body fitness which are all overlap the LOHAS market.

I was very impressed at how far the industry has not only grown but also how LOHAS values on wellness have become more integrated.  It appears that spa goers have become more conscious of how they surround themselves in spa settings and what type of ingredients they are putting on their skin and the spa companies are responding.  The recession has made brands and properties smarter in their decisions as it relates to communicating their mission to consumers and property greening as it relates to dollars and cents.  Although work still needs to be done, I look forward to what the industry has in store in the coming years.


When it comes to LOHAS brands & marketing; the ocean is an expansive as creativity.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 by


I just returned from several sun and sea-soaked days in the LA area and realized once again how a change of scene can quite literally change you. As a creative director and brand strategist, I make my living with words. Ideas. Concepts. And perspective.

Since my agency is virtual, I can (and do) work from any and everywhere on the planet. And I've found that nothing recharges creativity and leads to more expansive thinking than travel. It's impossible not to be profoundly opened and altered by new experiences, people—and especially the dazzling sun as it reflects light on the Pacific Ocean.

My green and wellness-centric marketing agency specializes in social and environmental change. My clients are mostly sustainable businesses and organizations that are passionate about creating a better world  through organic food, yoga, alternative medicine, holistic practices, inner transformation and more.

As a leader in wellness marketing and sustainable advertising, I've found that the best way to continue offering high impact, memorable and jaw-dropping creative is to stay open to the jaw-dropping, perspective-changing experiences that happen all around us every day. Like the egg I found nestled among native plants as I walked to my office this morning— or a sparkling day amidst the boats, sea and sand of Corona Del Mar.


Lisa Proctor is the president and creative director of firefly180 marketinga Minneapolis-based branding and advertising agency that specializes in LOHAS marketing, wellness marketing, green marketing and renewable energy marketing.

Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine Offers Online Classes to the Public

Thursday, August 23, 2012 by

Every day, more medical professionals and patients are recognizing the benefits of an integrative approach to health care. Integrative medicine (IM) is a health philosophy that focuses on the whole person, not just the disease. In treating an illness or disorder, a doctor who practices IMworks to heal the whole patient; mind, body and spirit.

Because the evidence is stacking in favor of integrative medicine, there is a growing interest in learning more about how to use the philosophy for well-being. To answer this curiosity, some medical schools that teach the IM philosophy have chosen to offer individual online classes about the subject, many of them open to the public.

If you are interested in learning more about integrative medicine, the University of Arizona’s Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine offers some of the best online classes on the topic. These courses are fully accredited, and most are open to the public. Tuition fees for each class range from free to $240.

Course topics include prostate cancer and IM, breast cancer and IM, anti-inflammatory diet, introduction to integrative mental health: anxiety and depression, environmental medicine, nutrition and cardiovascular health, nutrition and cancer and Ayurveda.

These courses can be taken at any time. However, you must complete the course within the allotted time frame, before losing access to the online course material. These classes do not provide students with any type of college credit. Registration and payment may be completed online at www.IntegrativeMedicine.Arizona.edu.

If you are not a medical professional, it is best to use what you learn as a supplement to professional medical care. As always, share all information about physical activity, diet and other at-home health care treatments with your doctor. If you are interested in using integrative medicine to treat a current illness, discuss the possibility first with your current medical practitioner.

In addition to the above online courses, there are other sources on the internet for information about IM, but only content provided by an accredited institution should be used. Lastly, before agreeing to pay for any online course, make sure that the school offering the course is a fully accredited institution.

Barbara Jolie is a freelance writer and blogger who contributes most of her work to www.OnlineClasses.org. She writes about the advantages of online college and is particularly interested in writing and language education. If you have any questions, please email her at barbara.jolie876@gmail.com.




LOHAS Wellness Trends

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 by

wellness trendsAfter scanning health and wellness trends for 2012 here are a few that caught my eye along with my own perspectices that are LOHAS related.

1. Yoga & Meditation as Mainstream Treatment: Interest in alternative treatments will experience a second surge. Even though interest in alternative treatments is already high, more people, practitioners and patients will be willing to experiment with new remedies, activities and lifestyle changes to avoid these kinds of medications. A study[10] finds that of the 41 million Americans that use mind-body therapies like yoga or tai chi, 6.4 million are now doing them because they were “prescribed” by their medical provider.  Yoga, tai chi, qigong, Feldenkrais, guided imagery, acupuncture and other practices will continue to gain attention due to their ability to calm, soothe and attend to medical situations such as chronic pain, hypertension, obesity and stress. With returning PTSD suffering Iraqi war veterans and stress brought upon with tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes there will be a greater interest in how trauma affects us both personally and in our institutions, including our workplaces and schools and how to respond in effective ways.

2. Awareness & Prevention Will Have a Renewed Focus: As chronic diseases account for many of our healthcare issues and costs there will be a revitalized focus on preventative medicine. Anticipate the integration of wellness programs into businesses by employers and provide resources programs to encourage better health and prevention. This was predicted in our 2011 wellness trends but anticipate stronger campaigns on all fronts as health becomes a larger issue for society.

3. The Empowered Consumer Continues to Rise: The DYI trend among consumers will continue in 2012. And technology plays a large role here. Research shows that 80% of U.S. Internet users claim to have used the web to search for health-related information and answers. And that is just search. Many platforms from interactive healthcare kiosks to social media to personalized health sites are allowing consumers to empower themselves. As consumers increasingly turn to self-service technologies and channels, the entire healthcare industry has a tremendous opportunity to reach, engage and interactive with today’s empowered consumer. And that will yield some powerful results from consumers to doctors to advertisers.

4. Family Wellness Travel: The boom in solo travellers continues to rise for wellness holidays but more families are now searching for these types of getaways. Parents want their children to be healthy on holiday and also keep busy with plenty of activities so they don’t get bored. More resorts are also introducing healthy children’s menus so they can learn good habits early. Parents also want to be able to enjoy holistic activities and spa treatments, whilst their children are staying active.

5. Retail Plays an Increased Role: In response to the DYI demand from consumers in-store clinics and healthcare kiosks will play vital roles to connect with consumers for better healthcare access, awareness and treatments. Consumers are still frequenting brick-n-mortar stores; connecting with them while they are there offers great opportunities for healthcare providers, advertisers and the retail locations.

6. Holidaying with Health Gurus: Top health and fitness experts now work at some of the leading resorts around the world. More people want to receive dedicated support and guidance from the best in the industry; wellness retreats are bringing in the top yoga teachers, nutritionists, doctors, personal trainers and more health gurus to raise their game. Clients want to be inspired and informed so that they can lead a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle when they return home. Expect more tailored programs to be developed such as ones provided at Tao Inspired Living or Rancho La Puerta.

7. Obesity Awareness: Losing weight will continue to be the primary reason consumers seek personal training support as the public responds to the expanded messaging concerning the dangers of physical inactivity and obesity. The recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report that showed a modest improvement in the nation’s obesity rates for the first time in more than three years is a very encouraging sign. However, the fact remains that three out of five Americans are still overweight or obese, requiring more work to be done. 

8. Whole-life training: Lifestyle/ Wellness coaching will become a bigger trend with more personal trainers, fitness centers and spas looking to holistically improve client lifestyle and expanding their education and training to include this skill set. There are efforts to clearly define the parameters of coaching and help distinguish coaching (which is future-focused) from other professional services like counseling (which delve into a person’s past). The medical industry and academic groups are examining the value of wellness coaching. Harvard Medical School (www.harvardcoaching.org) now underwrites an annual conference on coaching’s role in healthcare. One of the many research initiatives being analyzed by the International Coaching Research Forum (U.K.) is developing coaching as a global, academic profession. Companies like Wellpeople.com (U.S.) offer certified on-site or virtual wellness coaches for spas, hospitals and businesses. Anticipate fitness facilities to hire nutritionists and other allied healthcare professionals such as physical therapists and psychologists to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members including wellness, nutrition, and stress-management programs.

9. Community Collaboration: Access to fitness services and education will continue to expand in local communities including activities in gyms, parks, and recreation centers. Local leaders are taking a more active role to address health issues in their communities. This includes proactive measures through school-based education programs and engagement with low-income and at-risk families. The Canyon Ranch Institute provides Life Enhancement Programs in underserved communities of the South Bronx, Cleveland, and Tuscon to prevent, diagnose, and address chronic diseases.

10. Healthy Fast Food: There will be a greater push to keep students and employees healthy. This will mean a closer examination of cafeteria food in schools and on-site vending machines in work places, including information on how eating patterns create stress, obesity and health and behavior problems. As more people recognize the failings of fast food and food processing companies expect vendors to upgrade their product offerings to develop and market products that are not only healthy but actually promote health.

11. Clean Eating Focus: The food-health connection will be very important. As we learn more about "clean eating" -- consuming foods without preservatives, chemicals, sugars and other additives -- our habits will change as we read labels even more carefully and appreciate the rewards of more energy and fewer chronic illnesses. Along with clean eating, we will also become aware of the problems associated with GMO crops that have been over-hybridized by corporations for fast growth and easy harvest. The Non GMO projectThe Institute for Responsible Technology and others are working on raising awareness for consumers on the hazards of GMO foods on the environment and health.

12. Evidence based Spa Therapies: There has been a significant amount of efforts put forth by skincare companies and alternative therapy groups to provide research backing the results of treatments. SpaEvidence is a web resource that gives the world easy access to the “evidence-based medicine” databases that doctors use, so they can search thousands of studies evaluating which spa modalities are proven to work, and for which exact conditions.

Feel free to add any that I may have missed.


Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

CAM: It's not Magic, It's Medicine

Friday, September 23, 2011 by
Like the LOHAS movement itself, integrative medicine is also on the rise despite recent economic trends and challenges.  As Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) becomes more mainstream, skeptics of integrative medicine have also become increasingly vocal.  Thousands of years and countless studies support the efficacy of treatment options within fields like Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), though often critics of holistic medicine focus their attention on newer, less researched, and less regulated fields that remain on the fringe of holistic medicine.Botanical Medicine  

In response, many CAM users may speak with an unyielding defense, enthusiasm, and "belief" in alternative medicine.  However, bundling the "fringes" of holistic alternative medicine along with more credible CAM options may actually confuse new patients about what is appropriate for their conditions.  Moreover, adamant "belief" of users may misrepresent the science and rigorous training of licensed CAM providers.  

Whether seeking to manage a chronic condition or support to maintain healthy lifestyles, there are a number of CAM alternatives that effectively meet patients' needs.  For companies seeking access to credentialed CAM providers, CAM PPO of America, Inc. offers access to a national network of CAM practitioners.  Because of the emphasis on healthy living through lifestyle management, including non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical alternatives, investing in integrative medicine options offers an innovative addition to an overall CAM PPO of America, Inc.green business strategy.  

More is More: Licensure and Integrative Medicine

Thursday, August 18, 2011 by
Millions of health care dollars are spend annually on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) procedures and products.   A recent study reveals that in the US alone more than $33 billion was spent in one year, a substantial portion of out of pocket spending.    
Natural Medicine

That’s no small figure, and that number has generated significant investment in evidence based research on holistic medicine.  While some types of CAM therapies have become available more widely in mainstream health care, there are still differences in access, availability, and type, and the general public may need support in identifying which procedures are best suited for specific concerns.  With so many people turning to integrative alternative medicine options, it's vital to remember that "health care consumers" are patients first.  

There are numerous considerations patients may want to consider before scheduling a visit with a CAM practitioner.  Similar to standard medicine, fields of expertise vary among CAM providers.  Additionally, from state to state, licensure variations impact the scope and availability of a number of alternative medicine practitioner types, making provider selection a matter of exceptional significance.

confused In states without licensure for specific fields, for instance, patients are left with limited options and no guidance to confirm that a provider has met appropriate criteria, education, and qualifying exam passage to maintain a practice.  In unregulated fields, a patient may feel like they have little more than word of mouth and a provider's own marketing to find (self proclaimed) integrative medicine services.  Without licensure, a patient may simply look for the best deal rather than the best doctor, and that is probably not a healthy choice.  In fact, the "wrong medicine" may be worse than no medicine since it delays appropriate intervention and risks complications.

To take the guesswork out of integrative medicine provider selection for members, CAM PPO of America,cam ppo logo Inc.developed a proprietary credentialing model designed exclusively for holistic alternative medicine.  When considering a holistic therapy, talk to your primary provider, who may be able to refer a qualified CAM professional.  Then learn what you can about the appropriate applications of the CAM treatments that interest you before scheduling appointments.  Check with your CAM providers about their qualifications: look for current licenses to practice, participation in professional associations that offer CMEs (continuing medical education hours), and inquire about their specific experience levels.  Remember that more training and professional expertise helps you make sure that your investment in healthy living is spent wisely.

New Directions: CAM and Employer Sponsored Health Programs

Thursday, July 28, 2011 by
Traditional health care coverage has been a mainstay of employer-sponsored health benefits for decades, even as costs hit four times the rate of inflation.  The surging expenses suggest that the current approach appears less than sustainable.  The costs become even more staggering when the human toll of illnesses are also calculated into the equation.  

For the majority of insured people, illnesses are diagnosed, codified, and approved for treatment through standard medical interventions and insurance protocols.  Since specific illnesses are typically required to qualify most expenses for eligible traditional care benefits, conscious consumers hoping to improve health before illness strikes are often left with few options.

natural optionsAs interest in health living tips employee interest toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), the research also suggests that integrative medicine has the potential to improve employee health and meet employee interest. 

Currently, integrative medicine is often paid out of pocket, despite consistent increases in interest and available research to support its effectiveness in preventing and managing whole health.  Surprisingly, even though smoking habits and obesity are linked to the top chronic ailments in the US, only about 9% of employers offer smoking cessation plans and a meager 6% offer weight loss programs within coverage.  To enhance social accountability a trend toward investing in preventive medicine and CAM  is predicted, and already more than 37% of hospitals have some CAM  therapies available.  LOHAS companies, in particular, may start looking for holistic alternatives and seeking socially responsible Investing options that improve employee health and preventive care through CAM  benefit programs.

Greener Health with Integrative Medicine

Friday, June 24, 2011 by
Do fish need antidepressants? Well, they are getting them. Through un-metabolized human waste and the disposal of unused medications, numerous pharmaceuticals end up in waterways and soil tests all over the US.  Though chemical levels are in trace amounts, few studies have considered the potential harms that can result from long term exposure among humans and other species, or the impact these materials may have on the overall chemical load in the environment.  Currently, federal regulations require no testing and have no safety levels set for trace pharmaceuticals.  

Since these substances may interact in unpredictable ways with each other or water additives like chlorine, the LOHAS community may have some legitimate concerns about the trends for increased US prescription drug use.  This connects personal health choices and commitments to sustainability and environmental health to what happens when a patient enters a doctor’s office, especially among people looking for options to improve health through non-invasive, natural, and lifestyle oriented solutions.  Yet for those who inquire about stress management with the majority of conventional doctors, they may be more likely to receive advice about anti-anxiety prescription options than a suggestion about exercise or styles of yoga to try.  Though pharmaceuticals play a key role for some conditions, many people would prefer making lifestyle changes to improve their health when possible.  

The result of an exclusively traditional benefit plan may leave people opting for a lack of follow-up or no care at all if they prefer holistic alternatives.  For LOHAS companies, ideas are brewing over how to connect cost-effective benefit planning to corporate values by offering benefit plans that provide options to include types of care that employees want and need: care that focuses on preventive medicine and whole person health, like holistic or integrative medicine.  Investing in integrative medicine has the potential to capture the best of both fiscal and value-driven goals. 

Tales from the Medicine Trail with Chris Kilham.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 by
The below article is brought to you as part of elephant journal’s ongoing coverage of LOHAS Forum. For our complete coverage, be sure to follow elephant on Twitter and Facebook.

"Change your words, change your world." 

Chris Kilham opened his talk by asking how many of us live on earth and how many are human beings. The majority of us repsonded in the affirmative. He then pointed out that we face an interesting future--is it going to be the beaming passion world of Buddha or dark and destructive? It's up to us to choose--and act.

Chris has a unique job working in the field of plant medicine, or Integrative Alternative Medicine. He chose this field because he believes we need good health options and believes death is the effect of pharmaceutical medicine. His natural medicines are used worldwide. Besides discussing four important medicines, Chris told us how the medicines are locally grown and harvested providing the tribal cultures with a healthy livelihood and the ability to sustain the lifestyles of community and village they have lived for centuries.

In one village, the chief asked that Chris take their picture. When Chris asked why, the chief said that he wanted the world to know they exist. Imagine, these tribes living far from civilization in a world untouched by phones and televisions and Internet access! The tribe's 103-year-old shaman, an amazingly powerful but petit woman, gave Chris what he took to be his marching orders. Not knowing anything about Chris, she simply said, "you bridge worlds, this is important for you to do," as she pointed her little old finger at him. Chris has since become a driving force to communicate and foster greater understanding between cultures.

The first plant Chris spoke of was Kava, harvested from Vanuatu in the South Pacific Islands. Vanatu means "land eternal" and at least for now, much of it remains unspoiled. The entire region is lush and beautiful with fresh drinkable water directly from lakes and streams. In the 1990s Chris and others worked to make Kava easily available to the 9.9 million Americans suffering from clinical anxiety. In Vanatu, the locals take a Kava break at the end of the workday by boiling up the roots, then sitting around and sharing about their day. Kava roots are often given as show of friendship and used as wedding gifts. 

Duke Medical Center conducted two studies, one on the use of Kava on anxiety, and one that showed no liver toxicity from use of Kava. One week before the studies were reported, "out of a no where" came a study that 20 people in Europe suffered liver toxicity from Kava. That news halted the Kava industry and it's taken years to disprove that study and get Kava acceptable again. When Chris had the opportunity to drink fresh Kava root from a coconut in the village, he felt peaceful and chilled out. Locally, the tribe also uses Kava for dispute resolution. To send off Chris and his colleagues, the tribe danced them off the island for a mile to the sea, stamping their feet and shouting. Imagine if we lived with such enthusiasm and joy and showed such appreciation for our guests!

Chris then discussed Maca, from the Peruvian Andes. Maca is a restorative turnip-like plant root. For the people of the Andes, growing and harvesting Maca means they don't have to work in mines in miserable conditions. Maca is an energizing, super food, which radically enhances libido without toxicity. Keeping up with tradition, women shamans of the tribe put their blessing on the Maca as part of the harvest.

Chris moved onto the subject of antidepressants, claiming that the entire category of antidepressant drugs are every bit as effective as sugar-based placebos. He recommends eating an M&M or Altoid instead. :-) Far in the northwestern parts of China locals harvest Rhodeola rosea, a profound antidepressant that works better than placebos, and doesn't creative the side effects often present with drugs. The locals have just two months to harvest enough Rhodeola to earn their year's living and provide enough for worldwide consumption. Chris calls Rhodeola rosea a gateway herb. By taking Rhodeola, you get a sense of well-being, vitality, of being plugged in and have the energy to do a lot. And that, Chris says, is what we need for these times--to feel good and do a lot. Sadly, many people today simply feel crappy.

Finally, Chris talked about Cat's Claw, an anti-inflammatory herb that comes from the Amazon. All degenerative diseases involve inflammation so coming up with anti-inflammatory drugs is a big driver in pharmaceutical industry today. But Chris pointed out that drug development is driven not by a love of humanity but by patent law and many, if not most, drugs come with side effects, which Chris points out are really effects, not just an aside. Cat's claw, which is the inner bark of a vine, is the most potent and safest antii-inflammatory available today and has been used successfully to cure some forms of cancer. 

In closing, Chris pointed out that if we don't mitigate the destruction of the Amazon rainforest (which could be destroyed by 2030 if we continue the path we're on), we'll lose 20 percent of the world's oxygen.

"This is our time," he says. "It requires boldness, energy, and that we throw ourselves into this work with everything we can bring to the table."

Lori Batcheller is a freelance writer, yoga instructor and registered massage therapist who focuses on health, well-Lori Batchellerbeing, and sustainable living. www.lbcreative.com.

10 Things That Make the LOHAS Forum Unique

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 by

1. Cross section of attendees is like no other event. Where else will you find Fortune 500 companies shoulder to start up entrepreneurs next to mainstream media and celebrity. It is a great networking event for those who want to stretch their comfort zone and meet new people.

2. Permission to drop the armor of image is granted and expected. Everyone at the event wants to know who each other is at heart first and then get to professional interests second. This makes the attendees really open to each other and sincerely attentive to each other’s needs.

3. On the cutting edge of what is next. Many events have large corporations as the core of their speakers where at LOHAS you see more of the larger corporations in the audience learning how to enter the LOHAS market.

4. Boulder City is the epicenter of LOHAS activity. Despite being just over 100K in population it is the hub of organics, clean tech, outdoor industry, spirituality, alternative medicine, technology, entrepreneurship and is beautiful place to be in June when the LOHAS Forum occurs.

5. St. Julien Hotel & Spa is the best hotel in Boulder and has a very accommodating staff and has fully embraced sustainability. They provide the measurements for landfill alleviation for the LOHAS forum and organic and locally sourced meal options. Last year we were able to recycle 87% of our waste from the event. We strive to do more this year. The spa is top notch as well. 

6. The LOHAS gift room is legendary. Rather than provide a pre stuffed conference bag of brochures that are typically dumped in the hotel room we provide a gift room of various items from LOHAS companies that attendees can pick and choose from. Attendees love this and the gift bags are usually quite stuffed when people leave the room!

7. Market data worth thousands of dollars is presented by a variety of green market trend specialists. Those that are interested on what is happening in the LOHAS space can collect a tremendous amount of insight from these highly sought presentations.

8. Program content transcends green business to include elements to connect with the human spirit and community in a way that is energetic and inspiring.

9. A paperless program for this year and digital signage. The program will be on an app that is also a mobile website. The app will be downloadable on iTunes and will allow those who are not attending to see what is happening by reading the social media feeds, text alerts and uploaded images by attendees. Conference signage are flatscreen monitors that double as media centers for video.

10. Not just a conference but a community celebration! We have a variety of ways built into the event ranging from morning yoga and meditation to musical entertainment to after parties to engage the senses for attendees.

If you are an attendee and have other elements I have forgotten I would love to hear them. Please share!


Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

Thinking About Integrative Medicine

Monday, May 23, 2011 by

As forms of integrative and alternative medicine become more widely available within mainstream health care, many people may find themselves confused about what the options are and who should be providing them.  If you're looking into finding new options to explore healthy living, you may also be wondering about how to ensure your health care is in appropriate hands.

Training and background varies among health care professionals, including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners.  As with any health care, it's important for patients to remember that qualifications matter very much.  You  wouldn't want your neighbor pulling your tooth just because he has a comfortable chair and a set of pliers, and conscious consumers like you probably wouldn't want to entrust the recommendation of herbs or supplements to just anyone either.  

A common misconception about holistic alternative medicine is that because it’s naturally based, it’s without risk.  With any medicinal products there can be interactions with prescriptions, side effects, and contraindications.  Only providers well versed in current research who have in depth education in CAM possess the credible knowledge to offer safe and effective treatments to patients. 

Licensure remains the gold standard for health care professions, even as holistic alternative medicine practitioner licensing varies from state to state.  Licensure ensures  that providers attended accredited education programs and qualifications are in sync with industry standards.  In the U.S., currently, 17 states and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands license Naturopathic Doctors (NDs), and the vast majority of states have regulations in place for Acupuncturists and Dieticians.  

Whether you are seeking lifestyle counsel, homeopathy, dietary advice, acupuncture, or another service, it is advisable to select licensed providers to help you accomplish your healthy lifestyle goals.  If you hope to garner more than healthy living tips, although unlicensed providers may be appealing (and sometimes more affordable), it’s worth investing a little time into credential checking to ensure the best results.   

Food Fights: School Lunches, Nutrition, and Childhood Health

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 by

Childhood obesity is nearly 20% among all children, and it's reached 44% among children living below the poverty line, advancing the national attention on this health epidemic.   Nutrition debates are heating up around the nation as some school administrations try to take hold of the gap between knowledge and action by regulating packed lunches and snacks.  Bans on soft drinks, limits on sweet snacks, and other regulations are popping up in places like Arizona, Alabama,  New York, and Chicago, but some people claim such a regulated approach to healthy living tips the scale too far against parental choice.

Yet others see it as surprising that this is the first time the U.S. is raising standards in cafeteria food, since more than 30 million kids eat those prepared meals every day.  The programs, designed to be socially responsible investments in health promotion, are gathering wide attention.  Supporters and resisters typically agree that the increase of obesity among children requires rethinking some basic assumptions about nutrition. 

The adage we are what we eat, though simple, may prompt plenty of conscious consumers toward more mindful eating habits in response to the growing awareness of childhood obesity.  Integrative Medicine use is also quickly growing for children as parents look for alternatives to growing health concerns among younger populations.  In addition to childhood obesity rates, childhood pharmaceutical use for conditions like anxiety, depression, and other conditions is also on the rise, and these in part can be influenced by diet as well as other factors.  Many holistic alternative medicine practitioners recognize the deep need to move toward healthy and organic living to respond to these health concerns with more natural, preventive approaches.  

Similarly, employers may seek more integrative medicine based options by investing in programs that make integrative alternative medicine providers available to employees.  Moving beyond packaged wellness programs and into health plans that make credentialed integrative medicine providers available, like the options available with CAM PPO of America, Inc., can improve nutrition and general wellness, and help families make lasting healthy lifestyle changes. 

CAM and Prevention: When Dollars Make Sense

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 by

With preventable and chronic diseases among the leading, ever-increasing health care expenses, it’s no surprise that billions of dollars in the U.S. are spent annually treating conditions related to obesity, tobacco use, and diabetes, which can be treated or avoided with preventive approaches.  In fact, some studies estimate that more than 85% of health care claims costs are related to individual lifestyle. While those are daunting numbers, the exciting aspect of these costs should be recognized, too: that improved preventive services can effectively help people reach their goals for healthy and organic living. 

Preventive care includes promoting a healthy diet, activity level, and lifestyle choices (including interventions for risky behaviors, Blueberrieslike smoking).  To be effective, proactive approaches to health must go beyond trendy, generic programs that do little more than offer healthy living tips.  Instead, research suggests that appropriate interventions can help reverse some health damage and drastically reduce risks for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.   Integrative and alternative medicine, often termed CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine),  excels in effective treatment options to manage and prevent chronic disease.  

acupunctureWhile medical nutrition therapy has obvious benefits for conditions related to obesity, cardiovascular, and diabetes, other CAM services are equally invaluable in prevention and disease management.  Chronic pain alone is estimated to cost employers more than $60 billion annually.  Therapeutic massage, acupuncture, and other CAM interventions have exciting results for effective chronic pain management, including reduced reliance on pain medication.  For instance, patients using acupuncture to treat chronic pain associated with headaches report making 25% fewer physician visits, using 15% fewer sick days, and using 15% less medication.  Acupuncture patients seeking relief from back pain found long term pain relief, a faster return to work from sick leave, and a 28% reduction in pain medication usage.  

Overall, CAM therapies are less invasive and based in healing modalities that are often appealing to LOHAS and other conscious consumers.  Supporting access to holistic alternative medicine practitioners can be an important, socially responsible investment in employee health, and CAM PPO of America, Inc. offers a national credentialed network with an exclusive focus on integrative medicine.

Credentialing and Alternative Medicine

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 by

For companies seeking green business solutions, investing in health care that connects the dots between personal and environmental health embodies ecofriendly consciousness.  To overlook one of the major investments companies make in employees by relying on "default" health care options, a major opportunity to promote healthy living is missed. Like processed foods, health care options are usually pre-packaged and offered "as-is" with conventional medicine industries taking the lead in credentialing and other mainstream practices.balance

     Credentialing is an administrative process that involves reviewing qualifications, training, and practice requirements, with the significant goals of promoting patient safety and establishing consistent standards within a group of providers.  In conventional medicine, the complexity of the credentialing practice is generally offset by the consistent scope of practice and licensure standards in the dominant health care system. Credentialing relies on those industry practice standards to ensure that users of a specific network are seeking care from appropriately qualified providers.    

To some, credentialing in the CAM sector may seem cumbersome or unrealistic, since many CAM providers maintain medical practices outside of standard medical institutions.  CAM PPO of America, Inc., however, offers a unique solution with a proprietary credentialing process that exclusively focuses on integrative and alternative medicine.  Because state licensure varies so widely for CAM fields, the process sets CAM PPO apart from simple lists and online groups that may use the right catch phrases but lack medical expertise and qualifications. 

     Seeking a CAM provider can be confusing for conscious consumers, and few patients may have the time or resources to investigate practitioner qualifications and backgrounds.  Yet, it's an essential ingredient to seeking appropriate care interventions.  CAM PPO credentialing impacts the caliber of every network practitioner, and communicates our commitment to quality to members, prospective providers, and employers.  Integrative alternative medicine providers often offer comprehensive approaches that encourage healthy lifestyle management and naturally based therapies.

     Few would argue with the claim that choosing healthy and organic living is an important step toward empowered personal health that promotes an ecofriendly awareness.  Similarly, for companies seeking a socially responsible investment in health, choosing a credentialed network of integrative medicine providers offers an effective option for improving employee health. 


The Glass is Shaky: Stress and Health

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by



The glass may be half empty or half full, but odds are high it's being held tightly.  A recent study found that one third of the U.S. population reports living with extreme stress, and 74% of respondents identify work as the primary source of stress.  Employers looking for healing therapies that respond to these concerns, may be well served to trend toward integrative medicine. 


Stress is a widely documented health issue with multiple associated risks that cost billions in health expenses every year.  In addition to the intangibles of stress exacerbating other conditions, stress affiliated illnesses have indirect costs for employers, too.  In fact, a $300 billion price tag has been attached to workplace stress for issues such as absenteeism, presenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, and a host of related costs.  

Stress may well be the most massively problematic health problem in the U.S. today, in part because it has so many complex and dangerous effects. 
Stress has been associated with elevated risks for a number of devastating and debilitating diseases like:heart

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure  
In addition to weakening the immune system, which in turn may increase incidence of cold, flu, and other illness, stress can also impact chronic anxiety, insomnia, pain, clinical depression, and other conditions.   Each condition typically results in additional doctor visits, labwork, and ultimately more prescriptions for the life of the patient, and estimates concur that between 75% - 90% of all doctor visits are related to stress.



Treated allopathically through standard medicine, stress is often unlikely to be resolved since this approach may create a lifetime of illness treatment: yielding permanent patients with unresolved, aggravated conditions in a constant, unsustainable cycle of sickness.  Turning to integrative alternative medicine, conscious consumers may find successful options to prevent and manage this nebulous problem.

happy heartComplementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) solutions to stress may include a variety of treatments including nutrition, acupuncture, massage therapy, improved rest strategies, or other wellness based approaches to relaxation.  Lifestyle interventions like these are proven methods in helping patients make lasting changes.    


LOHAS Trends for 2011 - Health and Wellness Trends

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 by

wellnessHere are some LOHAS trends to consider that we feel will be impactful for the next year in the area of health and wellness. Ive done some research and here are my list of top wellness trends to consider significant in the LOHAS market.

From Wellbeing Escapes Top Wellness Trends of 2011

From Anti-Ageing to Healthy-Ageing there will be a resurgence by destination resorts and fitness outlets to develop comprehensive programs to help us age healthily.  The focus isn’t about reducing wrinkles but about disease prevention and health enhancement.   Personal medical evaluations, usually taken through blood tests, are followed by personalized health plans that include treatments, education and actions that will help achieve optimum health and boost energy.  Furthermore, there will be more of an emphasis on wellness facilties to provide services to relieve aches and pains that are inherent with physical activity rather than relax and de-stress. This again underlines a change in attitude towards a healthy and active aging process rather than anti-ageing.

connect natureWellness Through Nature - This can take the form of fitness, holistic actions, meditation, and treatments.  Rather than putting people indoors to carry out their wellness program, many hotels spas and wellness resorts will be further focusing on being paid guests to engage with the natural resources and exclusivity of their locations.  Currently there are groups that provide hiking in mountains, yoga in the gardens, fitness programs that encompass kayaking, sea-swimming, Jungle gyms, outdoor rock climbing walls, challenging mountain biking.  This is predicted to become more creative and expand with meditation walks along beautiful beaches and landscapes, tree-top spas, treatment locations where you can hear the sound of the ocean and birdsong – no more air-conditioned window-less treatment rooms playing CDs with nature music on repeat cycle.

spiritualBringing out the Monk in You - The global recession has not helped the work life balance debate.  It is now about survival of the fittest with people subdue worried about losing jobs in this cost cutting environment.  Physical fitness is now firmly established and accepted as stress busting and increasing energy, but mental fitness is increasingly being recognized as equally vital. Meditation is no longer viewed as a spiritual pastime for monks or lentil-eating, sandal- wearing hippies but being used as a daily tool to help with stress and efficiency.  Major hotels, spas and wellness resorts are counting meditation instruction as part of stress reduction programs and activity schedules to help people learn this valuable tool. Again, it is all about quality, quality, quality – it takes years of instruction to be able to teach this technique effectively, so make sure you learn from an authentic and experienced teacher.

Value and Return on Investment - Although the deals are still out there they are gradually decreasing as the economy slowly turns around and hotels and airlines start to focus on increasing yields again. The keywords are "Value" and "Return on Investment". As the spa going population becomes more sophisticated and experienced they will focus more on value rather than the cheapest price, demanding more from their experience. The cheapest spa will not necessarily bring them their return on investment in terms of measurable health benefits and long lasting results on their return.


From The American Council on Exercise (ACE) Top Fitness Trends of 2011

Stress Reduction Through Fitness - With the increased knowledge of how stress negatively affects the body, gyms and clubs will start offering wellness programs so their members develop effective strategies for managing their stress levels. Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, and basic stretching classes are expected to draw more people looking for ways to de-stress. But working up any type of sweat will work. The same fitness instructors who want you to feel the burn now want to help your body—and mind—heal. Look for therapeutic workouts, like New York based Equinox’s “IntenSati,” which uses personal affirmations, and “Thread,” where core work and body-awareness techniques “unlock muscular inhibition.” Also on the horizon: a fascination with supportive aerial yoga and fitness-meets-life-coaching workshops.

kinectTechnology Becomes a Support Resource - The release of interactive fitness video games will see more people get off their couches and try new ways to be active in the home. The Sony Wii and Microsoft Kinect are scratching the surface of ways to engage a person’s whole body into a video game with jumps and swings or running in place. The sophistication of these games makes the experience both entertaining and physically challenging.

Corporate Wellness -  Whether it is through the hiring of in-house personal trainers or discounts and incentives offered to employees that join a health club, corporate wellness programs will emerge country-wide to help encourage healthy lifestyles among workers, especially time-crunched consumers.

Youth-Based Fitness -  Expect to see more youth-focused classes and clients popping up in gyms thanks to the national attention and focus on childhood obesity.  Schools and fitness centers will also incorporate more exercise curriculum for the youth population and, as such, take advantage of ACE’s Operation FitKids curriculum, which has recently been revamped and expanded with a new program targeting students in grades 6-8.

From SpaFinder Top Spa trends of 2011

scienceThe Science of Wellness - Is there scientific proof that massage reduces stress? Are mud-packs and mineral-baths medically proven to alleviate pain? Is ear candling proven to remove ear wax? The answers: yes, yes and no.  Get ready for a new era where more questions about the effectiveness of wellness therapies and products will be asked, and where these questions will get answered more transparently, as the emphasis on evidence-based medicine and the “science behind spa” heats up. For example the recent New York Times article, “A Good Massage Brings Biological Changes Too,” reporting on a Cedars-Sinai study that revealed a 45-minute massage resulted in a significant decrease in stress hormones, while boosting immunity. As so many more hospitals not only co-opt the “look of spa,” but also directly incorporate spa/wellness therapies on site, consumers will have powerful visual evidence of “medicine” validating “spa.”

As these initiatives and forces accelerate, the benefits of wellness will be increasingly not only heard, but also believed by more LOHAS consumers (often desperately) seeking health alternatives — by doctors who prescribe, by public officials who legislate and by insurers who reimburse. These nascent evidence-based initiatives should ultimately prove the bedrock for future, perhaps unimagined, industry growth.


Alternative Medicine and Health Care Reform

Friday, December 17, 2010 by


Since the recent passing of the Affordable Care Act, many patients, providers, and health care organizations are wondering what will change as a result.  In particular, the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) community may look with hope, concern, or mindful optimism at several sections of the bill.  



Echinacea (purple coneflower) is a widely used botanical medicine

 The utilization of CAM services has grown substantially since the 1980’s in conjunction with the ecofriendly movement toward exploring natural health options.  So it’s no surprise that the new bill makes some notable attempts at the inclusion of holistic alternative medicine, though few without careful caveats. 


Attention to CAM can be found throughout the bill, most notably in the inclusive language that identifies licensed CAM providers within several specific sections of legislation.  Arguably the most significant among these is Sec. 2706, which establishes a non-discrimination provision to include licensed health care providers acting within their scope of practice in group health plans.  Though reimbursement limits and exclusions may apply, this legislation establishes a starting point that at least in theory attempts to increase access to CAM services and level the playing field for CAM and conventional providers.  

Additional sections also reference CAM, such as Sec. 3502, which describes community based  
interdisciplinary professional teams delivering patient-centered medicine that "may" include doctors of chiropractic and other licensed CAM providers.  Other Sections that address integrative medicine include Sec. 4206, which discusses individual wellness program pilots that will focus on helping participants establish healthy lifestyles through preventive medicine; and Sec. 5101, which establishes a National Healthcare Workforce Commission that may include CAM providers to help analyze information and make policy recommendations; and a few others that reference integrative medicine explicitly.


Since state scopes among CAM providers vary widely, the expertise of the credentialed network of CAM providers offered through CAM PPO of America, Inc. remains a socially responsible investment for employers seeking to invest in employee health and preventive medicine rather than relying on "add on" approaches to integrative medicine benefit planning.   


Just in Time: CAM Meets Challenges to Improve Health

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 by
We all know what healthy living tips we’re supposed to follow: they involve vegetables, whole foods, moderatehealth scale activity, and giving up those things we know we ought, like tobacco and processed foods.  Yet in the U.S., billions of dollars are spent annually to treat preventable illness, like those associated with obesity and illnesses resulting from tobacco use (www.preventdisease.com/worksite_wellness/health_stats.shtml).   


Maybe it’s a head scratcher why folks in such a wealthy nation as the U.S. have such a tough time doing the right thing for themselves.  On the other hand, when you look at the trends in conventional medicine, the top pharmaceutical products used are not so surprising.  The chart topping prescription drug sales for 2009 included a domination of drugs to treat cholesterol, depression and anxiety, pain, and diabetes.  One study even notes that more than 80% of health care claims costs are due to an individual’s lifestyle.


So the behaviors that makes us sick, and maybe even make us feel pretty horrible about ourselves and the world are medicated rather than resolved.  The good news: Current research suggests that it may never be too late to try to reverse existing damage with appropriate healthy living interventions.


Lifestyle changes can be challenging to address, but complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers excel in providing the time and attention needed to examine appropriate lifestyle interventions and make crucial recommendations.  CAM, sometimes called integrative medicine or holistic medicine, encompasses whole health care, and providers may promote healthy choices around diet, stress management, and a variety of concerns facing conscientious consumers of health care.  CAM practitioners may play an important role in helping patients close the gap between information and action.  

  Learn more from CAM PPO of America, Inc. at www.camppoamerica.combalance scale



Recommended LOHAS Oriented Conferences To Consider Attending

Sunday, August 29, 2010 by


In my time at LOHAS I have been to a lot of green events. A few years ago there were only a handful of events to choose from and it was a bit of a close circle. However now it seems that green and sustainably oriented events are popping up everywhere. How does one know which are solid and which are just flashes in the pan? I am putting together my travel schedule and like you have to be selective as to where to put my energy and travel budget.

Here is a list of events I have either been to or have heard about that make my list and are organized by month:


The International Ecotourism Conference (Sept 8-10 Portland, OR)
The event for the ecoutourism industry that brings a global attendee base.  Eventhough the ecotourism industry is a small section of the overall tourism industry, it is an excellent place to learn what is happening in the space and who’s who. I have not been to this event and have always wanted to and this year is my chance. I look forward to it. Yours truly will be speaking on the future of sustainability trends and the ROI of green travel. Should be fun!

Opportunity Green  (Sept 22-24th Los Angeles Center Studios, CA) – This is their 3rd event and is very green business and design oriented. The speakers are primarily big business with some cutting edge entrepreneurs in the mix. Design conversations range from buildings to automobiles to fashion and the blend of people here is good. The event is really the only national oriented event I know of in LA that is green oriented and it has the LA look and feel. I feel you need to come to this event with a bit of a strategic game plan and set up some meetings to make the most of this event. You can also hear some interesting speakers and chat them up at the cocktail receptions and meals which are quite nice.

West Coast Green (Sept 30-Oct 2nd, San Francisco, CA)
The green building conference for the west coast featuring speakers such as Bill McDonough and an exhibit area of 300. I have not been to the event but I hear great things and if you are in the green building and design market you should go to this or Greenbuild (see below). 


Green Spa Network (Oct 3-7, Avon CO)
The Green Spa Network has come from those in the spa industry that are seeking to reclaim the world of wellness from the clutches of pampering and luxury. GSN is a membership organization and looking to get those in the spa world to recognize sustainable product creation and spa properties. This will be their second year convening and are still in infancy but are moving fast and furious to make headway into the spa world. Those in the spa world who truly want to engage green practices should definitely attend this event. 

SoCap (Oct 4-6th, San Francisco, CA)
Honestly, I have not been to SoCap yet and am looking forward to my inauguration to the event this year. I have only heard good things about this event. It appears to have a Silicon Valley type vibe from those that attend from its free form programming and type of people who are there. A great event for start ups and investors looking to match values in socially responsible businesses.

Expo East (Oct 13-16th Boston, MA) 
These are great to get a pulse of the natural products industry. Expo East in the fall is on the east coast (hence the name) and is much smaller than the mega sized Expo West held in the spring (and in Anaheim)  I like Expo East because it is smaller and you can walk the floor without the onslaught of people that Expo West has. You can have conversations in depth at Expo East that are a bit more challenging at West.  Typically the executive teams are at the shows the first few days so if you want to meet top brass you need to schedule meetings or come by booths at the beginning of the shows.  There is also no need to buy meals as only a quick stroll through the exhibit spaces can fill a stomach. Be careful about trying everything you see as sometimes food mixing may not agree with you. I found that out the hard way. Urp!

Bioneers (Oct 14-18 San Rafael, CA)
Bioneers is the gathering of what seems like all the activists, free spirits and dark greenies of California who want to learn about ecology, social justice and indigenous wisdom. It is a public/consumer event so expect to encounter some interesting characters. The general speakers are quite remarkable as they come from all over the globe and the audience can get pretty fired up on issues. They do talk about some of the more difficult issues society faces but I really like this event because the speakers challenge us to question things and help understand some of the issues people don't see in conventional media. If you can't get to the main event there are a few locations that have smaller gatherings and live video feeds into the larger event but they do not capture the energy and the other activities that happen there. As you walk through the crowded parking lot try counting how many hybrids you see or the bumper sticker slogans that have some activist slogan. I don't know which is the larger of the two.

Green Biz Innovation Forum (Oct 19-20th San Francisco, CA)
I have not been to this event but anything that Joel Makeower and his Greener World Media team does I back. They always seem to have the ability to get top speakers and relevant content that makes the event special. I have heard great things from those that have attended and really like the format.  Joel always seems to be on the cutting edge of what’s what in the green business world.

Social Venture Network (Oct 21-24th, Long Branch, NJ)
SVN is a membership organization and has an open door conference in the fall and a members only event in the spring. The members are successful social entrepreneurs such as Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s, Jeffrey Hollander of Seventh Generation and Priya Haji of World of Good. I really like this event as it brings a lot of good and experienced minds together. The matra of this event is bonding and there are men’s and women’s circle meetings to promote this. Expect a lot of hugs and soul sharing which is a good thing to do for us all. Because of the intimacy some of the members feel among peers and get heated in conversations they feel important to them that I see more often here than other events. It is refreshing  especially after seeing many other events that stick to the talking heads format.  The event provides plenty of times to have conversations with members and provide opportunities for mentorship for start ups. Some of these conversations have resulted in future board members and even investment for startups. 

Greenfestivals (Oct 23-24th DC / Nov 6-7 San Francisco, CA)
The Green America Green Festivals as some of the most well attended green consumer events I have attended. Each has a very local focus for the vendors but make sure you go to the speaker sessions because they have outstanding speakers from all over to come and grace the audience with their perspectives. Big hitters such as Deepak Chopra, Dr. Weil, Paul Stamets and a few other TED talk types present and you cant beat the ticket price for a front row seat. I have not been to the DC Greenfest and hear that each of the events reflect the vibe and culture of each city. The SF Greenfest rocks and is packed with all kinds of great booths and events. If you go get ready to be emersed in the dark green side of San Fran - free hugs, poetry, dreadlock and all. Green America is not doing their Green Business Conference this year that typically is right before their San Francisco Greenfest. Instead they have developed a green business pavilion within the San Fran Greenfest that will have business oriented talks. If you have not been to a Greenfestival I highly recommend them as they embody a variety of aspects that LOHAS does – organics, alternative therapies, personal development and social justice elements.

Net Impact (Oct 28-30th, Ann Arbor, MI)
Another event I have heard great things about but have never attended. It is primarily focused on CSR and brings together students and large corporations to openly discuss issues. It is also a great recruiting ground for companies seeking new green talent from recent graduates. The event brings together over 2500 people and has workshops and discussion groups to get down and dirty on complex issues. Their keynote speakers are solid with Majora Carter, Jeffery Hollander and Bill McDonough.

SRI In the Rockies (Nov 18-21 San Antonio, TX)
Anyone who is a financial planner or interested in socially responsible investment nitty gritty must put this event on their calendar. This is a blend of financial jargon and social justice and clean tech orientation. About 800 people attend the event from all over the world and is typically in a mountain setting. Being in San Antonio this year is a stretch.  it is a packed schedule for the most part but they do make time for long networking hikes and excursions . I have seen speakers ranging from Jane Goodall and David Bornstein to Calvert and Domini fund managers at the event. It is a great place to understand how to unravel the complexities of financial issues and know what mutual funds are actually doing as they relate to socially responsible investing. They throw a great evening party and many are not afraid to show off their dance moves.
Greenbuild (Nov 17-19th Chicago, IL)
The mother of green building products and originated from the USGBC this is the event for anyone interested or involved in the green building sector. The exhibit area is about 1000 booths and attracts about 25-30,000 attendees from all over the world. The green building industry has really picked up and does not look likely to slow down. I like this event a lot because of the creative energy efficiency exhibits and speakers.

Investors’ Circle (Nov 10-12th Washington, DC)
A membership organization of over 150 angel investors who are looking for solid socially responsible companies to invest in as a group. They have funnelled over $134M into 200 companies addressing social and environmental issues. A great place for LOHAS oriented start ups to present who are seeking seed capital. There is an application process with an extensive screening but nothing too overloading.  The event focuses on vetting good seed capital candidates for an investor audience and mixes in some good quality speakers sucha as Acumen and Ashoka. If you are an investor or seeking funding from a good values base source check out Investor’s Circle.

ISPA Conference & Expo  (Nov 15-18, Washington, DC)
The spa association where everyone in the spa world congregates - green and conventional. If you attend you can see there is a strong emphasis from many about sustainability than ever before but there are still those brands that have their share of green washing along those who just don’t care. Regardless, anyone who is interested in the spa world and creating spa products should attend to understand the trends in the industry. LOHAS has a strong foothold in the wellness and beauty industry and it is a good place to learn macro trends and spa operation techniques. This is probably the most well groomed attendee base I have seen which I have no trouble surrounding myself with.


LOHAS Regional Events (April TBD, NYC, LA, Atlanta, Minneapolis)
Taking the LOHAS conference on a bit of a roadshow and working to get some momentum build in these areas. Its tough to go to all these events so we have decided to try to make it easier by providing single day events. Stay tuned for more details!

BALLE (June 15-17th Bellingham, WA)
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies celebrates local businesses and local orientation. There are a lot of local loyalists at the event and mostly smaller and mid size companies, non profits and academia. But the conversations are lively and some really interesting networking. A lot of cross over with speakers from the Greenfests and SVN groups. I like the workshops and the networking here. The production of the event is low key as the focus is on the content and type of people who attend which is really nice.

LOHAS (June 22-24th Boulder, CO)
Of course I have to put this one on the calendar as I think EVERYONE should consider this one. Well...maybe not everyone. We have about 5-600 people attend who are business executives, thought leaders, academia and enterpreneurs. As much as many equate LOHAS with the converted dark greens of the world the event is set up to not be an 'Us' and 'Them' atmosphere. Rather we welcome all who are interested in understanding LOHAS and how it applies the them personally and professionally. We set up plenty of networking opportunities and workshops to provide tangible takeaways. To see some of the videos from previous LOHAS sessions visit our LOHAS YouTube page. We work hard to get a solid program together with a great attendee base. If you have any recommendations or tweaks I'd love to hear from you.

These are only a few of the many that are out there and more to come. I truly feel that any conference you attend is what you make of it and how you prepare ahead of time setting up meetings, scheduling and follow up. With that said, good luck with your planning and hope to see you at one of these events. If you have other events you feel should be added I would love to hear about them. Please share!


Integrative Medicine; What it is and is not, and what that means for business.

Sunday, August 29, 2010 by
By Brad Lemley Editorial Director, Weil Lifestyle LLC 

Integrative Medicine (IM) is a recent, popular movement that is attracting thousands of doctors and patients worldwide. But hand-in-hand with that burgeoning success is considerable confusion about what IM actually is and is not. Consequently, doctors, patients and LOHAS-oriented businesses need to understand the term if they want to make clear, unequivocal choices about their practices, their personal health and the health of their enterprises. 

So first, let’s explore some emerging nomenclature. Using synthetic drugs and surgery to treat health conditions was known just a few decades ago as, simply, “medicine.” Today, this system is increasingly being termed “conventional,” “orthodox,” or “allopathic” medicine. This is the sort of medicine most Americans still encounter in hospitals and clinics. Often both expensive and invasive, it is also spectacularly good at some things—for example, handling life-threatening conditions such as massive injury or heart attack.

Some conventional medicine is scientifically validated; some is not. Any therapy that is typically excluded by conventional medicine, and that patients use instead of conventional medicine, is known as “alternative” medicine. This catch-all term includes hundreds of old and new practices ranging from acupuncture to homeopathy to iridology. As a general rule, alternative therapies tend to be closer to nature, cheaper and less invasive than conventional therapies (though there are certainly exceptions). Some alternative therapies are scientifically validated; some are not.

An alternative medicine practice used in conjunction with a conventional one is known as a “complementary” medicine. Example: using aromatherapy to calm a patient after surgery. Together, complementary and alternative medicines are often referred to by the acronym CAM. 

Enter IM. As defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, IM “combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.” In other words, integrative medicine can be said to “cherry pick” the very best scientifically validated therapies from both conventional and CAM systems.

Andrew Weil, M.D., twice the cover subject of TIME magazine and author of ten books, is undoubtedly IM’s most famous proponent. He is unstinting, furthermore, in his appreciation for conventional medicine’s strengths. “If I were hit by a bus,” he says, “I’d want to be taken immediately to a high-tech emergency room.”

Referring to Dr. Weil’s latest book, Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being, A New York Times reviewer summed up this orientation, stating that Dr. Weil “doesn’t seem wedded to a particular dogma, Western or Eastern, only to the get-the-patient-better philosophy.”

Integrative medicine, as Dr. Weil defines it, places patient and practitioner as partners in the healing process. All the factors influencing health, wellness and disease are taken into consideration. These include mind, spirit and community, as well as the body.

For most of his more than three decades as a medical doctor and author, Dr. Weil was a lone voice, crying out for a system that put what works best ahead of profit, prejudice and inertia. In 1994, he co-founded the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and a movement began. As of December 2006, over 250 physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners will have completed the program, and many are involved in spreading the word in their home states and countries. In the past 12 years, academic instruction in integrative medicine has grown rapidly nationwide. There are now 31 academic medical centers that offer integrative medicine programs, including the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School and Georgetown, Duke and Columbia Universities.

Unfortunately, such programs are expensive to run. The University of Arizona’s program costs an estimated $3 million a year. Further, integrative medicine in general fights an uphill battle for research dollars. The gentle, nature-based therapies it often uses lack the profit potential of, say, a patentable drug.

To provide a steady stream of funding for integrative medicine research and education, Dr. Weil helped to establish Weil Lifestyle LLC in 2004. The company licenses the right to use Dr. Weil’s name and likeness to companies philosophically aligned with his principles and committed to advancing integrative medicine. To qualify for licensing, the products themselves must also conform to the principles of integrative medicine. Current licensees are: Origins Natural Resources (skin-care products), IdeaSphere (vitamins and supplements), Jamieson Laboratories (vitamins and supplements), Waterford Wedgwood (healthy cookware and housewares), Natural Pet Nutrition (premium pet food), and Ito En Ltd. (tea). 

Dr. Weil donates all of his after-tax profits from royalties received by Weil Lifestyle LLC from the sale of these products to the Weil Foundation, a charitable foundation dedicated to advancing integrative medicine by supporting education and research.

 “I feel very good about the progress that integrative medicine is making,” says Dr. Weil. “Conventional medicine and the whole profit-driven model of medical care is in crisis, and I frankly think it is on the verge of collapse. I am convinced that integrative medicine is the medicine of the future.”

How Weil Lifestyle, LLC Qualifies Companies

Three basic criteria are considered for product licensing with the Weil Lifestyle brand:

1. Dr. Weil must have genuine authority in the category.
2. The products must be cutting-edge, and distinguishable from the competition.
3. The products must have proven efficacy and contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Beyond this, the companies behind the products must also fit certain criteria: 1. Must have world-class research and be dedicated to product development.
2. Senior management must be dedicated to healthy living.
3. Must have a strong marketing department.
4. Must have significant financial resources.
5. Must have established multi-channel distribution.

Finally, the most important criterion is Dr. Weil’s personal endorsement. He evaluates every potential licensed product, and even if it meets all of the above criteria, he may—and often does—reject a product simply because it does not meet his own standards.

Which Therapies Does Integrative Medicine Use?

Integrative medicine is a dynamic medical viewpoint that encompasses virtually any healing therapy for which there is scientific validation of effectiveness. Practitioners of IM hold traditional medical degrees such as M.D., D.O. and R.N. They employ conventional medicine’s synthetic-drug and/or surgery regimen in some cases— particularly for acute disease or trauma—but otherwise favor the following approaches:

1. Alternative medical systems including Ayurveda, homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine.
2. Herbal and plant-based therapies, either singly or in combination.
3. “Non-plant” organic/biological therapies such as vitamins and minerals and naturally derived substances such as fish oils or chondroitin.
4. Nutritional guidance according to the latest research from clinical and epidemiological studies.
5. Manipulative and body-based therapies such as massage therapy, cranial sacral work, and exercises of all kinds. 6. Energy therapies such as acupuncture. 7. Mind-body therapies including breathing exercises, meditation, guided imagery and hypnosis, as well as counseling and support groups.

Brad Lemley is Editorial Director of Weil Lifestyle, LLC, an organization founded with the purpose of providing a funding mechanism to the Weil Foundation. Its mission is to be the leading resource for education, information, products, services and philanthropic contributions based on the principles of integrative medicine. Headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., Weil Lifestyle is the owner of the website www.drweil.com and the exclusive worldwide licensor of distinctive products and services selected and designed by Dr. Weil. Brad is also a journalist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Parade, Life, Reader’s Digest, Psychology Today and many other publications, and is a contributing editor of the science magazine Discover.