Wednesday, 13 February 2013
 Did you know Melbourne’s RMIT University has a Wellness Group?  It’s part of the university’s Health Innovations Research Institute and the group is led by Professor Marc Cohen.  A classic over-achiever, Cohen is an MD with two PhDs (one in Electrical and Computer Systems engineering, one in Traditional Chinese Medicine).  A lot of his most recent research has centred on the concept of ‘wellness’ and, as part of our ongoing discussions regarding the subject, we watched a ‘webinar’ presentation Cohen gave about wellness. 

Cohen describes wellness as the constant, conscious pursuit of living life to its fullest potential.  It is a holistic concept and has multiple dimensions, ie physical, psychological, sexual, etc.  I’m not going to give you a blow-by-blow Cliff’s notes of the presentation but some of the major things he talked about were;

Reactive vs. Proactive Healthcare; Proactive meaning fitness and mind-body, beauty and anti-aging, spa treatments, nutrition and weight loss, complimentary and alternative medicine, etc. Reactive healthcare means medical intervention such as surgery or medication.

Blissors Vs. Stressors; Blissors being stress management, exercise, nutrition, social/spiritual interaction and education.  Stressors are exactly what they sounds like.

Intensive Lifestyle Change vs. Major Medical Intervention; If you’ve never heard of Dean Ornish’s Lifestyle Heart Trial study regarding heart disease and open heart surgery, check it out.  It showed that $400 worth of lifestyle changing activities, such as a low fat vegetarian diet, gentle exercise, relaxation and counselling, proved more effective in recovery rates than a $40,000 heart bypass surgery.   

"Conshumanism"; Conscious and human consumption, and our connection with nature and animals. 

The Happy Planet Index; The way we measure happiness in societies.  Apparently, out of 151 countries included in the most recent Happy Planet data, Costa Rica was on top with an index of 64.  The UK hit 47.9 and Australia just 42.

I really recommend watching Cohen’s presentation if you’re interested in any of these things.  He’s a smart cookie.

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