There has been a positive trend in the corporate world over the last few years. More and more companies are providing corporate wellness programs. These programs, designed to help employees live and maintain healthy lifestyles, typically include flex time for working out, healthy vending machine options, medical screenings, health fairs, health education programs, and incentives for participating.
Corporate giant Johnson & Johnson was one of the first companies to roll out a corporate wellness program. Over the first 15 years, they saw real results. More than two-thirds of their employees who smoked quit using tobacco products, and a significant number of employees reduced their blood pressures and improved their overall health. The company estimates they saved $250 million in health care costs, which is nearly three times the amount of money they put into the program.
What Are Corporate Wellness Programs Lacking?
Corporate wellness programs can vary significantly from one company to another, but they all have one thing in common: they help their employees get and stay healthy. Unfortunately, nearly all of these programs are missing some of the healthiest and most cost-effective wellness techniques – those provided by holistic medicine.
Listed below are three things that most companies fail to offer their employees, but which I believe are important and should be included in all corporate wellness programs:
Must Have #1: On-Site Holistic Evaluations by Professionals
Although many health insurance providers fail to provide coverage for many forms of holistic medicine, study after study has shown that holistic therapy can enhance medical treatments for a number of different health ailments from lower-back pain to Alzheimer’s Disease to allergies.
By having a holistic health coach available to employees, she or he can recommend a number of different forms of complementary and alternative medicine.
Must Have #2: Stress Education and Relief
Stress is a leading cause of health problems. Many employees are under a great deal of stress, both at work and at home. Many people do not understand the physiology of their body’s response to stress or how it affects their overall health – but they should.
Companies can consult with physicians that specialize in holistic diagnosis and treatment to design programs that are specific to each corporate wellness program. In addition, a holistic health coach can teach employees about the dangers of allowing stress to take over their lives and can also provide a number of different ways to alleviate that stress, most commonly through meditation, but also through breathing exercises and chakra healing.
Because this holistic form of stress relief does not require the use of medications, chemicals, or dangerous stressors on the body, it is safe to use on its own or in additional to other forms of therapy. Just designate time and area for stress-relieving activities as part of the workday.
Must Have #3: Education about Environmental Toxins
Environmental toxins can be found both in the workplace and in the home. By providing employees with information about how they can limit or eliminate their exposure to these toxins, businesses can promote healthier living.
I firmly believe that corporations have an obligation to limit toxins in the workplace, and at the minimum should ensure that their employees are aware of daily toxic exposure. Long-term exposure to everything from fresh paint fumes to radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices can affect your employees’ overall health.
Additionally, things in the home such as vinyl shower curtains, aluminum cookware, and noxious household cleaners can also be contributing to illnesses. A certified health coach focusing on holistic medicine can help your employees identify and reduce the number of toxins that are negatively impacting their health.
Often it takes as little as 30 minutes of education and a few low-cost fixes to minimize exposure to some common environmental toxins.
How Can We Change Things?
Corporations will begin to take holistic healing and other complementary and alternative forms of medicine seriously as employees start requesting their inclusion into corporate wellness programs. It is my firm belief that once companies address holistic medicine they will discover that these techniques usually result in a significant improvement in their employee’s health, attitudes, and overall corporate productivity.
To learn more, read part II of this post.