By Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman

WHILE aware that health is wealth, in pursuit of worldly wealth we sacrifice our wellness, thinking that perhaps money can buy anything including fitness. But it can’t. Not really.

Health tips for a happier, healthier you

With the goal of helping one become a better, healthier, and happier you, the Global Wellness Day organization celebrates Wellness Day annually on June 11.

The movement started in Turkey in 2012, and the campaign has now reached 73 countries including the Philippines. It has a seven-step manifesto: walk for an hour, drink more water, do not use plastic bottles, eat organic food, have a family dinner, do a good deed, and sleep at 10 p.m.

Rest and recreation, like visiting a wellness center, also help, especially these days where everything is fast-paced and we are connected all day long.

“Massage is not just about beauty. It is a traditional therapeutic treatment used for centuries as a method of preventing sickness and promoting health in the world’s oldest medical systems, the traditional Chinese medicine and India’s Ayurvedic system,” health advocate Cathy Turvill told BusinessWorld in an e-mail.

She said massage lowers the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, “which is very deadly for the body when left unchecked.” Massage also increases the release of endorphins — the so-called happy hormones — “which promotes a positive outlook in life.”

Health tips for a happier, healthier you

Ms. Turvill walks her talks. She eats healthy, exercises, and follows Global Wellness Day’s seven rules. When asked for health tips, she only had one word: CHOICES.

“It’s an acronym I developed, which stand for the pillars of health,” she said.

She urges everyone to squeeze a 10-minute breathing exercise into their busy schedules which will help you “feel better and ready to take on the day’s challenges.” Think happy thoughts, she said. While doing this, take 10 deep and slow breaths.

She reiterates the global manifesto and adds a few more points: refrain from sugary and caffeinated drinks. “Consciously choose nutrient-rich foods like dark colored green vegetables and fresh fruits. Choose to eat fresh, boiled, steamed or baked foods. Avoid deep-fried, high salt, and sugary foods.”

While she encourages a weekly visit to the gym for yoga, pilates, and cardio exercises, simple movements like taking the stairs and walking are enough to oxygenate the body. Good blood and oxygen circulation in the body promote the metabolism and boost brain function, among many others.

Health tips for a happier, healthier you

Health advocates cannot overemphasize the importance of prevention over cure. Take your vitamins and minerals, she says, but it’s better to use natural health supplements like wheatgrass, which, according to studies, contains vitamins A, B, C, E, I, and K, minerals, and protein.

If toxic environments — a smoke-filled room or polluted surroundings — are unavoidable, do deep breathing exercises, and do steam and sauna treatments to detoxify the body. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables to cleanse the body of toxins.

“Massage, acupuncture, charcoal wraps, juicing, and nutritional healing,” Ms. Turvill said, “are examples of therapies that do not use chemicals, but are proven effective.”

Contrary to the popular adage, sleep isn’t for the weak. Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night repairs, rejuvenates, and recharges the body. It also helps to “maintain a healthy circle of friends and family. And always pray to a higher being,” said Ms. Turvill.

Ms. Turvill is the owner of Nurture Wellness Village in Cavite, which was one of the local establishments which celebrated Global Wellness Day. Voted in 2010 as one of the 28 Most Relaxing Spas in Asia by CNN Go, the wellness destination offers weekends of peace, quiet, and health whole year round.

The wellness village promotes “ecotherapy,” or healing by and through nature with activities like “glamping”, outdoor tai qi gong (energy healing) exercise, and organic farm tours with opportunities for picking your own fresh herbs, among others.