Integrative 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.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/alternative-medicine-integrative-medicine

http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/education/online_courses.html

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.
ginsing



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. 

CAM PPO

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.    

 

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

 

 

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. 
 

 

The Globalization of LOHAS

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 by

Originally content by Andy Baker of the Mobium Group

With LOHAS spreading across the globe over recent years, LOHAS Journal thought it timely to reflect on what is driving the phenomenon globally, some of the key differences in interpretation across the world, and what binds LOHAS and LOHASians together—wherever they are.

Businesses the world over are leveraging LOHAS as a way to understand the consumption preferences of a growing number of people who care deeply about personal, community and planetary health and well-being, and are willing to spend accordingly.

While this theme acts as a backbone for LOHAS globally, significant differences exist in the interpretation of LOHAS from one geography to another. Not surprisingly, these differences tend to be largely driven by local cultural, environmental and social nuances.

For example, according to Peter Salmon from Moxie Design Group, LOHASians in New Zealand express their LOHAS values through outdoor experiences, seeking a connection with the landscape and concern about social issues.  This differs from U.S.-based LOHAS consumers, who typically have a stronger focus on personal well-being.  In Australia, the situation is different again, with environmental issues of drought and climate change hitting many Australians hard in their own backyard. Severe water restrictions are forcing Aussies to change how they think about their much-loved gardens and lawns.

CERTIFICATION KEY TO MARKET ACCEPTANCE
A key theme emerging from European and Australian studies is consumers’ desire for certification marks or “trust” marks from credible certification bodies, providing independent verification that the product lives up to its LOHAS claims. Supporting this claim are the findings of a  recent Porter Novelli report, which revealed that Europeans were 32 percent more likely than American consumers to buy products with such marks, and Mobium Group’s Living LOHAS report, which found similar conclusions among the Australian population.

LOHAS IN ASIA
Despite many similarities, key differences have emerged in the use of LOHAS between Western countries and the countries of East Asia—including Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, where LOHAS is a booming consumer term. The emergence of LOHAS-branded foods and beverages, fashion labels and even LOHAS department stores heralds a new use of the LOHAS term as it crosses from business-speak into the consumer vocabulary.
While most Western consumers would draw a blank if asked for a definition of LOHAS, approximately 70 percent of Japanese adults at least recognize the term while up to 40 percent can articulate its meaning, according to Toshi Ide of the Japan-based LOHAS Business Alliance.

But how is LOHAS really interpreted in Asia? In China, LOHAS has been roughly translated to mean “good life” and has even been picked up by Chinese state radio. And English-language website Chinadaily.com.cn has published several articles referring to “escaping city life” and enjoying LOHAS experiences on the weekends in the countryside surrounding Beijing.

In Singapore, the city state’s Tourism Board markets the country to its Asian visitors as the LOHAS city—focusing on its spa resorts, authentic Nyonya-style cooking and its water recycling efforts (a necessity in such a small island nation, as the key to its LOHAS claims).

The emergence of LOHAS as a consumer brand has brought with it a range of organizations seeking to capitalize on the term, with varying levels of commitment to the values of core LOHAS consumers offered through a wide a range of products and services.

INNOVATION
Small and medium-size enterprises comprise one sector where serious efforts have been made to address the needs and desires of LOHAS consumers on platforms of personal and planetary health and wellness. In many cases, these businesses have been the keys to LOHAS innovation.

One example of this sort of innovation is U.S.-based Terracycle.net, a company achieving mainstream distribution and significant success turning waste streams into value through a range of innovative products and services, including a novel approach to garden fertilizer.  With major distribution agreements across North America and licensing interest from across the globe, Terracycle has demonstrated that LOHAS innovation can deliver clear business value.

Another example is Australia-based professional garment cleaners, Daisy (www.daisy.net.au). Daisy has managed to eliminate the harmful chemical, perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethylene) from its dry cleaning process, using a water-based alternative to deliver an odorless dry cleaning solution free from harmful toxins. Such is the popularity of the Daisy service, excess demand currently means a wait of three days to have your suit cleaned! But based on the volume of customers prepared to wait, the LOHAS approach to dry cleaning has again demonstrated a commercial payoff.

Similarly, this year saw the launch in France of Velib (www.velib.paris.fr), a Paris-based commercial bicycle sharing operation that provides bicycles for commuters for a nominal fee. With over 10,000 bikes in circulation across 750 self-service docking stations throughout the city, this model is providing inspiration for cities the world over.
It seems that everywhere you look, there are examples of innovations, often by small and medium enterprises that are working toward more sustainable and healthier outcomes for people and the planet.

CONNECTIVITY
One of the difficulties faced by LOHAS consumers and the businesses that supply their needs is seeking out and finding each other—and connecting.
This key theme is driving the emergence of media platforms that respond to LOHAS consumers’ desire for greater connectivity—to other LOHASians and the organizations that manufacture and retail products and services that meet their values criteria.

Examples of recent activity in this space include Gaiam’s acquisition of Lime.com and zaadz.com, two strongly LOHAS-oriented information and social networking sites. Businesses, including U.S.-based Sustainlane, New Zealand-based Celsias, and a range of other sites across Europe, are springing up across the globe to fill this gap for information, referrals and advice. Discovery Channel recently purchased website Treehugger.com as the online property for its soon-to-be-launched Planet Green program.

Across the globe, mainstream consumer and investor interest in opportunities related to renewable energy, organic food, complementary medicine, low-impact transportation and other LOHAS products and services clearly demonstrates that LOHAS businesses have moved out of the fringes and are now attracting significant investor capital and expertise. Companies and investors that embrace the opportunity that LOHAS presents have the opportunity to take a leading position in the industries that will define the 21st century.


Key Facts: LOHAS in Australia
• Nearly 4 million adult Australians (26 percent of adult population) are LOHAS aligned. 
• Individuals with a LOHAS outlook are drawn from all parts of society; their values and world view are not strongly tied to income, geography or gender.
• Australian consumers currently spend $12 billion on goods and services in the LOHAS market segments, with an overall growth rate of 20 percent expected to continue. The market is expected to reach $21 billion by 2010.
• While 8 percent of the population are LOHAS “Leaders” who are highly committed and active participants in fully integrated healthier, more sustainable lives, the LOHAS “Learners” are the largest of the four segments, identified at 46 percent and standing as a largely untapped opportunity. 
• Learners would like to do the “right thing” but are not sure where to start. Solving for their key barriers, which include price and availability, are paramount to unlocking this market.
Source: Mobium Group, www.mobium.com.au, Living LOHAS Report, 2007.

Key Facts: LOHAS, New Zealand
• 32 percent of population Solution Seekers (NZ Equivalent of LOHAS)
• 57 percent female
• Greatest concentration (29 percent) are in the 45-54 year age bracket
• Slight skew toward rural rather than metropolitan locations
• Income profile of NZ LOHAS is growing over time
Source: Peter Salmon, Moxie Design Group, www.moxie.co.nz
Examples:
1. Media/online:
2. Lime – online portal to information, help and advice on LOHAS lifestyle
3. Zaadz and Riverwired – online LOHAS-oriented social networking sites
4. treehugger.com, Celsias.com – innovative online information sources for LOHAS-related themes and online collaboration
5. lohasguide.de (Germany), Sustainlane.com – LOHAS-related product and service listings and market information
6. Mobium Group – Australian research and strategy business focusing on sustainability and well-being; conducted the first research into Australian LOHAS consumers
7. Macro Wholefoods (Australia) – organic and natural foods retail store chain
8. Eco Age (eco-age.com) – a new store in London claiming to provide “a store, showroom, consultancy and destination that will offer inspiration, ideas and specific domestic solutions for all those who want to lead a greener and more energy efficient life”
9. Terracycle – Innovative company that re-uses waste streams and turns them into value-added products
10. Velib – Paris-based bicycle-share company
11. Flexicar.com.au – Australian car-share business winning support from local governments for their eco-friendly and cost-effective car-sharing program
 

Spa Business Alive and Kicking...Sorta

Sunday, October 11, 2009 by

I just returned from the International Spa Association Annual Conference held in Austin Texas. This was my 4th ISPA event and it is always a treat. It certainly is the most well groomed, beautiful person event I go to. Spa is a big piece of LOHAS as it incorporates
health and wellness along with personal care and green building. The last few years has seen a surge in green health spas have seen a surge in green orientation with things like eco-friendly towels and robes along with natural and organic skincare, essential oils and body treatments. These elements are a no brainer for modern LOHAS consumers who want LOHAS products without sacrificing quality. LOHAS consumers are also a main target audience for spas as many are those who frequent spas for massage treatments or other forms of wellness for the body and soul. (that would be me!)

The spa market has exploded in the last 10 years but the term 'spa' has been butchered quite a bit. I can go to my local Wal Mart or strip mall and find nail and hair salons with spa incorporated into their name - (usually in bright neon lights). However when I go into them nose gets singed with smells of chemical toxins from manicures or hair products or get blasted into the street from techno music. I often see  articles and pictures of exotic locations with luxurious hotels with spas included in glossy magazine spreads. All of course with a hefty price tag that limit me to my imagination as to what the lifestyles of the rich and famous is like. Call me old fashioned and snobby but that is not what I consider the true meaning of spa. The whole point of the creation of the industry was to generate awareness of self and healthy lifestyles. These initially were wellness centers that provided space for integrative alternative medicine practices such as massage, acupuncture, energy healing and meditation. Somewhere along the way external beauty, pampering and opulence founds its way into the mix and led the growth of the industry. When I was growing up hotels that had golf courses were all the rage and was a status symbol of a quality hotel. Now if the hotel has a spa it is considered a luxury hotel.

The economic crisis has caused many hotels to reconsider this paradigm. Insiders of the industry have told me that many hotels that incorporated spas into their properties from a 'me too' type of keeping up with the Jones attitude often did not factor the costs of operation into their profit/loss margins. Rather it was blended enigmatically into overall hotel costs. A spa on hotel property was a thing to have and since business was good the scrutiny on spas was limited. Nothing like a crisis to mix things up. Now that hotels are struggling with occupancy so are hotel spas. Those that did not have a structure to measure costs and profits are really floundering. This is also true with destination spas. Some say the wealthy are still booking and traveling - that market will stay the same regardless. But the so called 'wealthy wannabe' are the ones who are not spending. Overall spas are seeing their customers still come to their spas but are spending less per visit. This was echoed by many who I spoke to over the course of the event. For us to have a sustainable economy on all fronts we need to hit the reset button.

The spa industry was visibly hit at the event as well. Last year the ISPA conference had over 3000 people. This year there were about 1700. The exhibit space was also about half as many vendors as last year. Obviously the foot traffic was much quieter than years past. Yet I was surprised when I spoke to most vendors that they felt positive about the event. They said that although the traffic was less those that were walking the floor were serious buyers who were purchasing orders from them and there was more time for a deeper discussions and relationship building.

I think this brings up a very significant point for all businesses - how deep does a relationship go once the transaction is taken out of the equation? This is something that many companies are facing as many people are not spending. The old ways of business are being re-evaluated to figure out how to maintain relevancy in an environment that is transaction less. If you have ideas on next steps please share your thoughts.

I think that this is also a time of opportunity for spa leaders to refocus attentions on wellness. Health care is on the forefront of many people's minds with the debates on health care reform getting a lot of media attention. I think spas are a great place for educating people on preventative care and relaxation. Plus if you think a massage or organic living is expensive you should look at the price of health care. The spa industry has seen a purge of businesses. Now if they can re-establish the focus on the reasons for wellness I think we would all find that refreshing. I would love to hear your thoughts.