Reinventing Corporate Wellness

Anna Iversen | 3rd August 2018

Corporates are becoming increasingly more aware that investing in the health and wellbeing of their staff will result in a healthier, happier and more productive workforce. Ultimately this leads to less absence, greater staff retention and higher performance – all contributing positively to the bottom line.

We are seeing a boom in cutting-edge technologies, backed by science, that deliver real and tangible benefits. Many of these technologies are currently “The world’s best-kept secrets”. How do we raise awareness of these technologies and bring them into the corporate wellbeing space?

There are some key factors that need to be present in order for any such new technology to be adopted:

  • People with modern lifestyles don’t have a lot of time to spare. Any solution presented needs to be effective and not take up too much time. Maximum impact. Minimum time.
  • The experience is paramount. People are more willing to commit to something if they feel that they are gaining a positive experience. This could be as simple as feeling that you are being treated as an individual, not a commodity.
  • Validation is also important. Not only do the users need to get measurable feedback to confirm improvements in their fitness and wellbeing motivating them to continue, but the corporate needs justification for the investment made. If it’s in black and white, you’ve got proof.

In this post, we’ll highlight some of our favourite health technologies that will enable the workforce to gain profound, measurable, and affordable health benefits whilst not requiring an unrealistic, and therefore unachievable time commitment.

Red Light Therapy

Red and near-infrared(NIR) light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM) or Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) involves exposing cells or tissue to low levels of red and near NIR light.

The therapy has been around for over fifty years, having been discovered in the 1960s.

PBM is now being used therapeutically to reduce pain and inflammation, treat chronic joint disorders, to promote healing of wounds, deeper tissues and nerves and to treat neurological disorders. It can also be used to increase muscle performance and reduce post-exercise muscle damage. Red light treats superficial tissue, enhancing skin appearance by increasing blood flow and speeding up the regeneration process, reducing fine lines and wrinkles and baggy eyes. Put simply, it makes you look and feel better.

PBM is now making significant progress in obtaining the recognition it deserves from the medical establishment, scientific literature and the media.

The effects of PBM is photochemical, similar to photosynthesis in plants. With the correct intensity and exposure times, red and NIR light reduces oxidative stress and increases the

production of cellular energy. This is achieved through light receptors in the mitochondria (the cellular powerhouses). When normal cell metabolism is restored, improved health and well-being ensues.

A session takes only ten minutes. It would be the ideal pick me up for anyone who is spending a long and potentially stressful day in the office.

Sound Therapy

Melocura consists of a network of doctors, neuroscientists and specialists, each with their solid experience, skills and scientific approach to using frequency therapeutically. Melocura collaborates with two leading universities in Denmark and the Seoul National University to develop a groundbreaking and validated sound therapy backed by clinical evidence.

Through a clinical trial conducted by a group of neurological scientists and doctors at the Seoul National University, Melocura has clinical evidence that its anti-stress programme is effective in reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.

The program is very easy to implement. Simply pay the 30-minute soundtrack daily. You can leave it playing whilst you work.

Effective Workout in less than 10 minutes

The X3 Bar is a very simple piece of equipment. It consists of some premium quality rubber bands, a foot plate and an Olympic bar.

The X3 equipment was developed in response to research showing that variable resistance training (as provided by elastic bands) is far more effective than using other, conventional methods. In fact, variable resistance training creates muscle gains three times faster than conventional training!

The X3 equipment has a normal barbell interface, allowing you to perform the same lifts you could do with conventional weights, but with the benefits of variable resistance and reduced risk of joint damage.

Variable resistance training provides a greater increase in serum testosterone and human growth hormone than regular weight lifting. These are key factors for anyone interested in embarking on an effective anti-ageing strategy. Weight training is not just for young people, but also for anyone interested in looking, feeling and staying young.

A ten-minute session will leave your muscles exhausted. The X3 Bar works very well for one to one personal training and in group fitness classes but can also be used without an instructor.  It is compact and can be brought with you when you travel.

Wearable Technologies

There are a plethora of wearable technologies and it is difficult for the uninitiated to sort the weed from the chaff. Some of our favourites include pocket-sized light therapy products that aid jet lag recovery and others that boost memory and cognitive function.

Although not precisely a technology, blue light blocking eyewear ought to become “the new normal” in any office environment! The effect of all the screen time we have is potentially profound. More on this under the Workplace Environment and Circadian Lighting below.

The Workplace Environment and Circadian Lighting

There is a mounting pool of scientific evidence that exposure to bright light rich in blue hues during the day, and to softer, amber hues at night, helps the body’s natural circadian rhythm synchronise with nature. Experts argue, that most of us have disrupted circadian clocks through our constant exposure to standard indoor lighting sources and worse still, our more recent obsession with screen-based technologies.

This disruption can potentially have serious health consequences, starting with poor sleep, lack of concentration and moods swings, but long-term resulting in chronic disease, ranging from type 2 diabetes to obesity, heart disease and ultimately cancer.

A conventional indoor light may make it possible for us to see what we are doing, but it is unlikely to give our body the right signals, telling us what time of day it is.

Finnish circadian lighting manufacturer Light Cognitive’s Big Sky lighting panels bring the experience of a natural clear sky to all spaces. Light Cognitive benefits from the scientific expertise of Steven Lockley, PhD from Harvard Medical School, an expert in the body’s circadian rhythm and the importance of light on health.

The International WELL Building Institutes’ WELL Building certification system recognises circadian lighting as making a significant contribution to their certification. The certification system was established to “advance buildings that help people work, live, perform, and feel their best.”

It is worth noting that circadian lighting has been installed on the International Space Station, to promote better sleep, alertness, and circadian adaptation.

The Future of Corporate Wellbeing

We are seeing big changes happening both in the way in which workspaces are designed and in the corporate wellbeing space.

There has been a shift from firms establishing wellness programmes mainly to keep up with their competitors, to firms recognising that a healthier and happier workforce will add more value to the business.

In society there is also a greater realisation that lifestyle factors play a fundamental role to our wellbeing and that adjustments to the way in which we live are necessary to reverse the negative trend that we are seeing in respect of chronic disease.