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Mr. Kipping

Spas, Health & Wellness

The Scientific Way to Wellness

By Martin Kipping, General Manager, Viceroy Zihuatanejo

Co-authored by Edward A. Taub, M.D., F.A.A.P., who directs the "Way to Wellness" initiative at Viceroy Zihuatanejo

At Viceroy Zihuatanejo, in 2015, I began forming a new vision for our resort spa to help guests achieve true wellness. I knew we needed to offer much more than just providing traditional spa treatments and services because achieving true wellness would require a resilient attitude and rejuvenating lifestyle to help balance our guests' physical, mental and spiritual energy. In other words, true wellness encompasses an on-going vibrant, stress-reducing way of living that leads to happiness and contentment. I also realized that just dispensing healthy facts would not necessarily lead guests to adopt healthier, wellness-oriented lifestyles. Instead, guests seeking wellness would need to feel inspired and empowered as well as being educated.

Consequently, I turned to Edward A. Taub, M.D., a wellness pioneer and authority of the discipline, to infuse scientific Integrative Medicine into our effort. Dr. Taub founded and introduced this new medical field to the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C in 1978 in a lecture to physicians entitled: Integrative Medicine: A Biosocial And Psychospiritual Approach To Health and Wellness.

The following were among principles of Integrative Medicine he presented:

  • Our patients' health is primarily determined by their own self-value, personal responsibility and reverence for life.
  • Our patients' health is too important to be left up to science, but also too important to be unscientific about.
  • Our patients' natural Healing Force (also called Ch'i or Prana) begins flowing freely to nurture and nourish their whole being when their physical, mental and spiritual energies become balanced.

Of special note is the fact that Integrative Medicine--a scientific yet holistic blend of the healing wisdom of many cultures--is now taught in virtually all United States' medical schools.

Our three-year collaboration with Dr. Taub led to the "Way To Wellness" program at Viceroy Zihuatanejo. It demonstrates that an effective way to bridge the gap between spa culture and mainstream medicine is by featuring dedicated physicians who are leaders and effective communicators able to educate as well as inspire and empower guests to realize how much they can help determine their own health destiny.

Guests participating in the "Way To Wellness" commonly experience a deep sense of awe that is best described as a feeling of radical amazement. It's a reflection of the power of wellness, which includes taking personal responsibility, developing self-value and stimulating reverence for life.

To perpetuate the opportunity for guests to achieve physical, mental and spiritual wellness, The Wellness Medical Institute, which is Dr. Taub's advisory medical practice currently licensed in California, established its first international branch at Viceroy Zihuatanejo.

Among its previous accomplishments, the Wellness Medical Institute established the first Wellness Departments in United States Hospitals, conducted the first ocean-going Wellness programs for major cruise lines, and created the only smoking cessation program ever endorsed by the American Medical Association.

The Wellness Medical Institute at Viceroy Zihuatanejo, administered by my office and directed by Dr. Taub, oversees the "Way To Wellness" program and certifies our Wellness Practitioners. Honing the skills and training of our staff, who teach and conduct our many wellness activities and classes, is crucial. This is why in addition to the resort's extensive in-service training, Dr. Taub coordinates with key staff members--including our executive chef, yoga and meditation instructors, spa therapists, and watersports instructors--to certify them as Wellness Practitioners under the official auspices of the Wellness Medical Institute.

The basic components of a "Way To Wellness," in addition to Dr. Taub's educational, and empowering talks, are mindful meditation, healing spa treatments, hatha and aqua yoga, exercise including tennis, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and sailing, and cooking demonstrations emphasizing locally sourced fresh produce and local fish that is caught the same day, which is later served on the beach after spectacular sunsets and among candlelit tables and strolling musicians. Rather than pain and restrictions to achieve wellness, Viceroy's "Way To Wellness" lifestyle encourages fun and enjoyment along with an ideal opportunity to explore and utilize proven stress- reduction techniques. Our guests come to relax and be removed from daily routines that are likely to be stressful. Swaying palm and majestic coconut trees along our ocean front immediately sets the stage by immersing participants in the delights of stunning nature, nestled on the calm and beautiful Zihuatanejo Bay with its white sand La Ropa beach that affords safe swimming in warm water and leads to taking long walks or jogs.

Staying active is critical to achieving a healthy lifestyle. While on vacation, our guests can spend time engrossed in their favorite water sport--from swimming, snorkeling, surfing, paddle boarding and windsurfing, to snorkeling, kayaking and scuba diving--or they can work out in the air-conditioned fitness center, play tennis or tee off at a nearby golf course.

And equally important, guests can also spend time resting, relaxing, even napping under the palapas casting shade on the beautiful beach. And, yes, with Margaritas by their side as well!

Perhaps more than anything else, delicious healthy cuisine is a cornerstone of the Way to Wellness program - prepared with the freshest, locally sourced natural ingredients including organic produce grown by area farmers and fresh catch from the sea brought in daily by Zihuatanejo's fishermen. As part of our Way to Wellness we introduced the option of the destination's only full vegetarian and vegan menus. We also created healthy cooking classes, including a hands-on class led by the Executive Chef who takes guests shopping for fresh ingredients in the town's central market then returns to teach his healthy cooking class on the beach.

Dr. Taub is in residence at Viceroy Zihuatanejo periodically during the year to follow-up with the staff and personally present his Wellness seminars for guests. His casual talks may be held under a palapa on the beach or in our ocean front restaurant patio. The goal is to offer guests a unique opportunity to explore lifestyle improvements and stress-reduction techniques they can continue to use at home.

Guests welcome the chance to speak with an authority on Integrative Medicine and stress reduction. It's a value-added amenity they didn't anticipate, but greatly appreciate. Many express interest in returning to the resort again when Dr. Taub is in residence and personally offering his lifestyle improvement lectures.

As the "Way To Wellness" program evolves, we plan on expanding the opportunities for guests to learn about various disciplines they might want to integrate into their lives. For example, recently, we invited acclaimed running guru, Dr. Jason Karp, to help guests adopt his specialty as a means of reducing stress and improving health.

The Wellness Medical Institute at Viceroy Zihuatanejo also plans to establish a Scientific Advisory Board to lend its experience and skills to our offerings for guests as well as provide a distinguished core of noted health professionals to help attract professional and corporate conferences and businesses for health, wellness and stress management.

It's evident that our Way to Wellness program encompasses diverse personal and human components and activities that engage and involve guest participants on many levels. The fundamental concept, however, based on the practice of Integrative Medicine is a reflection of a little-known scientific phenomenon involving a molecule found everywhere in the human body that constantly signals every one of our cells to stay healthy and well. The molecule is Nitric Oxide and the phenomenon it leads to is Molecular Wellness.

Dr. Taub co-authored a best-selling book, The Wellness Solution, with Dr. Ferid Murad and David Oliphant. Dr. Murad won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering that the trillions of cells lining all our blood vessels that science calls the endothelium, produce Nitric Oxide, which is our body's "signaling" molecule that determines whether we stay healthy - or not.

Their collaboration and research, first presented by the prestigious World Almanac Publishing Company, led them to identify Nitric Oxide as our actual Spark of Life--our powerful natural Healing Force, which is also called Prana or Chi. Their discovery truly gives natural healing and resort spas real medical authority to explore and utilize ancient wisdom and the healing techniques from many cultures in pursuit of Molecular Wellness.

Dr. Taub will explain more about the actual science of Molecular Wellness, however, its therapeutic focus is stress relief. He identifies stress as the major "virus" of our times that is ruining health, happiness and lives. He also identifies stress as the leading cause of most of the chronic degenerative diseases afflicting people in the modern world--including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, even cancer. Dr. Taub teaches guests to prevent and treat stress by recognizing that it is not caused by other people or by events. Instead, stress is caused by our own responses and reactions to life's ever-present stressors.

(End - Martin Kipping's section; Dr. Taub's contribution follows)

In a nutshell, people with a high perception of their ability to cope with what life sends their way tend to have low levels of stress. Conversely, people with a low perception of their ability to cope with what life sends their way tend to have high levels of stress. Thus, the goal of the "Way To Wellness" at Viceroy Zihuatanejo is to promote personal responsibility, enhance self-value and stimulate reverence for life--the ultimate pathway to manage stress and help determine our own health destiny.

Edward A. Taub, M.D

Molecular Wellness is a reflection of the unfolding dance of life in which the energies of our body, mind and spirit are in balance with each other. Once this occurs, the power of our natural Healing Force flows freely to nurture and nourish our whole being.

The Way To Wellness at Viceroy Zihuatanejo is designed to support the health of the endothelial cells lining our blood vessels, which produce Nitric Oxide--our signaling molecule for health and wellness.

How incredible is this? Well, in The Wellness Solution book, co-authored with Dr. Ferid Murad--a Nobel Laureate in Medicine--we identify our trillions of endothelial cells as comprising the human Wellness Organ and we also identify the Nitric Oxide molecules they produce as being equivalent to our own natural Healing Force. We write:

"If you believe God first breathed life into your atoms, we suspect the divine breath, in molecular form, would be Nitric Oxide. If you believe in evolution, we suspect that Nitric Oxide is the molecule that infused life into the primordial mass of atoms that evolved into living organisms, and eventually into human beings.

In any event, your voyage through life is something of extraordinary beauty, and the power of Nitric Oxide helps you understand what the poet William Blake meant about 'Seeing the entire world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower.'"

Reliable scientific measurements reported in hundreds of published studies have determined that virtually everything we do that is good for us (exercise, healthy food, meditation, prayer, massage, yoga, singing, dancing, music, having fun, being happy, etc.) supports the health of our endothelial cells--hence the production of Nitric Oxide, which leads to Molecular Wellness.

Conversely, it is also scientifically proven that virtually everything we do that is bad for us (smoking, alcohol abuse, junk foods, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, stress, being unhappy, etc.) depletes the health of our endothelial cells and the production of Nitric Oxide, which leads to every type of illness and disease in the human body. (Medical scientists call this syndrome "Endothelial Dysfunction.)

Thus, Molecular Wellness, which is a reflection of our body, mind and spirit in tune with each other--depends on the health and resilience of our endothelial cells and their ability to produce Nitric Oxide. This concept is so easy to understand that it inspires and empowers participants in our "Way To Wellness" at Viceroy Zihuatanejo to actually take the necessary steps that will lead to healthier, happier, more content lives. After all, health is our most precious asset.

Achieving Molecular Wellness is obviously not just some radical idea; wise physicians know the natural healing resources of patients are a crucial part of any total treatment plan. What is radical, however, is the deep feeling of "radical amazement" that our "Way To Wellness" generates--which places participating resort guests on the threshold of wisdom and a dawning of reverence for life.

Then, healing that begins from within can expand in the light of self-care and love. Hippocrates, who taught his patients that, "Nature is the best physician," would approve.

The problem, however, is that achieving Molecular Wellness requires effort and commitment--which is often easier said than done, as even the strongest of healthy resolutions may not survive the stress of living life. When people become stressed, they tend to eat mindlessly, smoke, abuse alcohol, take recreational drugs and caffeine, and stop exercising. They become entranced with the stressful moment rather than looking for the open gate right in front of them that will allow them to leave that moment and head towards a better life.

Stress is becoming equivalent to the major virus of our times; it's the pre-cursor of most chronic degenerative diseases. Stress undermines our health by destroying our self-confidence and choking off our ability to love. Indeed, in these stressful times, "I-L-L" is becoming equivalent to "I-Lack-Love": Love for ourselves...love for others...and love for God.

Therefore, the best way to manage stress is to be aware it begins in our minds. Stress is not the heavy traffic outside or people that tend to drive us crazy. It's not the bad bosses or the unstable economy. Stress is our own personal response and reaction to the events and situations that life throws at each of us. In other words, stress starts between our ears! It's born in our minds. It's our own invention and therefore our own choice as to how we choose to react and respond to the ongoing events of life.

People who have a higher perception of their ability to cope with what life throws at them tend to have lower levels of stress. Conversely, people with a lower perception of their personal ability to cope tend to experience very high levels of stress.

Thus, the most effective way to manage stress is to increase our self-esteem and self-respect so that we keep our own commitments to make positive lifestyle changes because we feel worthy of health, wellness, happiness and contentment. Then we feel prepared and ready for any challenges that life sends us.

The ingredients of the following Wellness Prescription, based on Nobel Prize-winning science, form the core of the "Way To Wellness" program to stimulate personal responsibility, self-value, and reverence for life--wherein the energies of our body, mind and spirit come into balance so that Nitric Oxide, our natural Healing Force, is flowing freely to nurture, nourish, and protect our entire being. This then, is Molecular Wellness.

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This article is co-authored by Edward A. Taub. Dr. Taub is a wellness pioneer who directs the "Way to Wellness" initiative at Viceroy Zihuatanejo. During his distinguished career he founded Integrative Medicine, established the first Wellness Medical Departments in U.S. hospitals, and served as the National Spokesperson for the American Medical Association's historic "Stop Smoking Campaign." He currently serves as the Wellness Medical Advisor for Insider's Guide To Spas. Dr. Taub has written eight books including, "Balance Your Body, Balance Your Life," which was made into a national PBS Special. He also co-authored "The Wellness Solution," published by the World Almanac, with Dr. Ferid Murad and David Oliphant. Dr. Murad won the Nobel Prize for identifying the Nitric Oxide molecule as our body's "signaling" molecule, which determines whether we we are healthy and well, or not.

Martin Kipping is the General Manager of Viceroy Zihuatanejo. He came to Zihuatanejo from Viceroy Anguilla, in Anguilla, BWI, where he was Resort Manager. At the resort he launched new programs and projects designed to enhance the guest experience, including new culinary offerings, innovative amenities and services, and renovations of guest rooms and facilities. The ‘Way to Wellness” program, established Viceroy Zihuatanejo as the leader in the health and wellness field. Mr. Kipping has more than 20 years of luxury hospitality management experience. He began his hotel career in Washington DC and has held positions at various Four Seasons properties. Mr. Kipping can be contacted at 52-755-555-5500 or vz.info@viceroyhotelsandresorts.com Please visit http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com for more information. Extended Bio...

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