Can the WELLNESS of our BUILDINGS determine our healthiest lives?
I believe it can. In fact, I believe that ideally our homes and workplaces should not just cause no harm to our health, but they should support and enhance our health, well-being, productivity and enjoyment of life. In the case of our homes they should also be sanctuaries where we can rest and renew. BUILDING WELLNESS can be the answer in creating our healthiest lives.
I'm a qualified Nutritionist, Building Biologist and Feng Shui practitioner, practicing in Launceston and across Tasmania. I'm passionate about helping people improve their health and create positive change in their lives, although I haven’t always had this kind of focus on my own health. I have always had issues around allergies and sensativities which at times were quite debilitating. I spent many years working in the crazy world of advertising and the lifestyle of working long hours and stress didn't help with my allergies, but I never had the time to get to the core of my health issues. There came a time when I did realise I was burnt out from years of stress, and spending my days (and often nights) in unhealthy building that effected my allergies and overall health. My story is by no means unique in relation to how I've eveolved throughout my life, and I did gradually start to understand the impact of the lifestyle and stress on my health. I was able to improve my allergy symptoms, however the burn out got worse. The final straw was finding myself working at an organisation with a toxic work culture that didn't reflect my values at all. I was already stydying Nutrition part time by this time, and I decided to leave my work so I could focus on my study and ultimately start a life changing journey.
Changing my nutrition many years ago helped enormously with my health, and led to my interest in how eating the right foods for our individual needs can improve our wellbeing. While studying to become a Nutritionist and doing my clinic hours, I noticed that indoor environments could also have a profound effect on health. For example I've observed that people experiencing chronic fatigue symptoms at home but not when they’re away from their home can be attributed to or exacerbated by many different things environmentally including Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF’s), Chemicals and Mould. These people often suffer long term due to not being able to uncover everything in their diet, lifestyle and environments that are triggering symptoms. Given this understanding around indoor environmental health and that we spend 90% of our lives indoors, made me consider whether optimum health could be found in making changes to our homes and workplaces. I now know it can be, and I later studied Building Biology. A Building Biologist is concerned with indoor environmental health, and investigate health hazards in the built environment.
Developing Building Wellness
As a nutritional and environmental health practitioner I’ve now heard too many people say that their symptoms improve or disappear when they’re away from their home or workplace for there not to be something in the impact a building can have on our health. Given on average we spend 90% of our time indoors (The National Human Activity Pattern Survey), what happens inside buildings and how it impacts our health is critical. It’s not just about the physical environment, but also our behaviours in homes and workplaces including what we eat, how food is prepared and stored, products and furnishings we choose to bring into the building, and ease of access to green spaces and natural environments.
Modern built environments in particular are having an increasingly negative impact on our health including sedentary lifestyles, poor diets, stress, social isolation, environmental toxins, lack of connection to nature amongst other problems. As home, work and play become more blurred, and Building Biology gains more awareness, homes and workplaces will hopefully be seen as an investment in our health, not just a financial investment.
I’ve developed a unique framework for working with people by combining the two areas of Building Biology and Nutrition to create holistically healthy homes and workplaces, I call it Building Wellness. This approach to health can have a powerful impact, even with just a few simple changes. Going into peoples homes and workplaces allows me to identify signs of indoor hazards. As a qualified nutritionist I understand human physiology and biochemistry, and I’m able to connect a persons current and historical health with potential health hazards in a building that could be causing their problems. I observe how people behave in these environments and use specialised equipment to measure things like air quality. There are three pillars that cover all elements of Building Wellness in creating whole life health.
Read more about Building Wellness here.
My Qualifications and Industry Registrations:
- Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine, Australasian College of Natural Therapies
- Member of The Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
- Advanced Diploma of Building Biology, Australian College of Environmental Studies
- Member of The Australasian Society of Building Biologists
- Certificate IV in Feng Shui, Australian College of Environmental Studies