Holistic Wellness for Executives

Photography:  Lisa Hobbs

Photography: Lisa Hobbs

Our PAUSE Salon, ‘Conversations on Discovering Connections’, took place on 27 February 2018 at Core Collective. Core Collective is situated at 79 Anson Road, and we are proud to announce that they are our salons' venue sponsors.

The following panellists graced the last salon:

1) Pooja Vig, CEO and Functional Medicine Nutritionist at The Nutrition Clinic

2) Dr Yue Weng Cheu, Founder and Clinical Director of DP Dental and The Linguadontics Clinic

3) Alexander Mearns, Founder of Levitse, a Holistic Wellness Clinic. 

> Note that this report will cover what Alexander Mearns shared at the salon. 


MODERATOR: I understand that you used to work in the finance industry before you started Levitise – a holistic lifestyle centre aimed at healing and reversing common chronic conditions faced by those with busy, stressful lives. Briefly, please share about what inspired you to make this very conscious decision / what led you down this path?

ALEXANDER MEARNS: It was about five years ago that I started feeling dizzy in the afternoon. And as a background, there is a bit of a history of diabetes in my family, so I went to get a check-up and did a bunch of tests. When I went back to see the doctor, he told me that I had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, was pre-diabetic, over-weight etc. He recommended statins, which is a class of lipid-lowering medications, and told me that it should help my condition. It didn't sit well with me - so I thought I'd investigate. I saw an endocrinologist, a cardiologist, and they all said the same thing: take statins. I guess for some people, this is enough, but for me, I felt that I needed to look into it more. So that started me on a path where I was spending all my free time researching the improvement of health from a natural point of view. I found it fascinating. However, in terms of a pivotal point during that time, what really clinched it was the message in this book I was reading at that time, "Why Most Small Businesses Fail" by Michael Gerber: "...think about what you want your life to look like and then build your business around your life." That was a profound message to me, and that was what got me to quit my previous job and I guess ultimately led me to where I am today with Levitise. 

MODERATOR: Similarly to the term ‘wellness’, ‘holistic’ is, of course, a very hyped term, too. But I don’t think it should be discounted, despite widespread misuse. What does ‘holistic lifestyle’ mean to you and your team at Levitise?

ALEXANDER MEARNS: I wanted to set up a facility where someone could visit to get a complete spectrum of health, where they can work with us in a completely natural way. Holistic to me is therefore about looking at the whole picture. In fact, we look at 10 main categories and they are as follows: 

  1. Movement
  2. Nutrition
  3. Sleep
  4. Breathing
  5. Hydration
  6. Environment
  7. Emotions
  8. Thinking
  9. Social interactions and
  10. Sunlight

We believe that if you strive to optimise in each category, then you should be well, and there will be nothing else more that you'll need. 

MODERATOR: Could you expand on the categories of emotions, thinking and sunlight?

Emotions: A lot of negative emotions can be stored in your body. You may have negative emotions from childhood, which are still manifesting in the present day. These can cause physical problems. So what can one do? You need to 'eject' these negative emotions - and sometimes it's easy to identify them. Which leads us to deal with them more effectively through counselling, talking to those close to us or through meditation etc. But some of these negative emotions are more complex, and a person may need more time to address them - so at Levitise we have tools to help people release these negative emotions. 

Thinking: We believe that you have to set positive goals for yourself and your life. If you need help and motivation to make positive changes, this comes from setting realistic goals. 

Sunlight: A lot of people in Asia are Vitamin D deficient - Vitamin D is one of the most essential nutrients, it's the 'master hormone' that ensures that a lot of other functions are carried out well. You don't have to pop supplements to get Vitamin D - just getting ten minutes of sunlight every day is sufficient. I promise you that it is going to boost the assimilation of every other mineral/photo nutrient in your body. 

MODERATOR: What are some of the unique things that you do to help your clients develop a healthy and happy lifestyle from a holistic perspective?

ALEXANDER MEARNS: We believe that everything needs to be personalised - we cannot stress this enough. There are so many diet plans out there, and people think they can just take one of those, and that will work well for them. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Here are two primary assessments we carry out to chart out exactly what you need and where you are at: 

  • Primal pattern diet typing – We map out the ideal diet for you by finding out if you're someone that needs a more vegetarian diet, or a more meat-based diet - and we base this on available facts. For example, the gastrointestinal tract could be anywhere between 21 and 42 feet long. If you're from the Northern Hemisphere, you're more likely to be suited to a meat-based diet; if you're nearer the equator, then you are more likely adapted to a vegetarian diet because your gastrointestinal tract is so much longer and more suitable for extracting beneficial nutrients from plants. 

  • Holistic lifestyle assessment – We look at your lifestyle choices, your stress levels, your detoxification processes, whether or not you have fungus or parasites in your gut, we check in on your circadian rhythm, among many other assessment categories. 

We also have a personal training studio, because we believe that movement is significant - movement is life. We look at it from a very holistic point of view - we don't champion everyone coming in to achieve six-pack abs, for example. 

Everything’s integrated at Levitise, and we're proud to be able to offer our clients between 3 or 4 coaches at a time, each one of them specialising in something different. This, therefore, ensures that our clients maximise value when they choose to work with us. At a minimum, we will work with a client for 12 Weeks, ideally, to help them bring about lasting change in their lives.  

MODERATOR: What are the host of symptoms that your clients come to you with? Please tell us more about what they are facing.

ALEXANDER MEARNS: We cater to the modern executive, but honestly we're here to help whoever who comes to us. But some of the more common issues that people are showing up with are in particular: weight management, back, neck and shoulder pain, sleep disorders, imbalanced hormones - particularly in females, stress, fertility, gut problems and diabetes. The main point that I have to stress would be that working together to find out the cause of the issues an individual is facing, takes time. At the moment, people go to the GP / doctors office, and they maybe spend about 15 mins there. You can be prescribed painkillers to ease some pain you're feeling, but the truth of the matter is that you are not going to be able to work on the underlying issues that are bringing about this pain. 

MODERATOR: Do most of your clients also take western medication, while seeking treatment at Levitise?

ALEXANDER MEARNS: Some choose not to take medication, and sort of work through their symptom. Others come to us telling us that they want to come off their medication.To be frank, 90% of diseases in modern society are lifestyle diseases - caused by poor lifestyle choices. In fact, 90% is a commonly touted statistic, I believe that it's higher than that! Taking medication is not going to reverse your poor decisions; you need to work on yourself. At Levitise, we help support you through the entire process of change, which is not easy to do on your own.

MODERATOR: I understand that you also look at female hormone rebalancing – from my lay knowledge, women need to take medication for this. Would you encourage women to seek non-medical treatment first?

ALEXANDER MEARNS: Hormone rebalancing concerns both men and women - it's just that women's hormones need to be more finely balanced, so it tends to get disrupted more easily from their environment. Things that everyone can do to take care of their hormones is first, to avoid soy - specifically unactivated soy. It's very high in phytoestrogens; it's an endocrine disruptor that can sharply escalate your estrogen levels. Also, tofu is not your friend; try to avoid taking too much of that. Stress - this is common knowledge, but I have to talk about it here today as well because it is also imperative to consider. You must try to mitigate personal stress levels because it can come in the way of the steady manufacture of hormones in the body. Thirdly commercial beauty products, cleaning products and cheap cookware can also be a major source of parabens that disrupt your endocrine system. And last but not least, you have to make sure that your good fat intake is regular because your body can't make hormones without it! Our body needs certain fats for rebuilding cells and stabilizing hormones. This is especially important for the female reproductive system.

MODERATOR: How crucial is better corporate workplace connection among colleagues, concerning health and wellness?

ALEXANDER MEARNS: It is critical. Think about it this way: If you're going to spend 8-9 hours a day, that is the majority of your waking life, so you'd ideally want that to be as fun as possible. I think that is an essential focus that people need to work on. If you are in a job that you don't enjoy, one of the first things you can do is to work on yourself. Get yourself to a place where you're healthy, feeling great and motivated. I also recommend that you can be super friendly to your colleagues, within your capacity – be a decent human being. You can then hope that this will be reflected back to you as well. But if you are in a very toxic environment and your colleagues are 'bitchy', and your boss is out of hand, then you have to quit. It is, of course, a difficult decision, but for your own sake, you have to prioritise thinking about this. To share a personal experience, when I was feeling my best and really in touch with wellness in a meaningful way, I started liking my job in finance a lot more. I guess it is because I found meaning - so then everything seemed better, including my relationships both at home and at work. It was quite amazing. 

MODERATOR: What are some starter steps that all of us can implement in our lives, to reduce our susceptibility to modern ailments?

ALEXANDER MEARNS: I'm going to go through 6 main things that you should try to avoid, including: 

  1. Refined white sugar
  2. Refined white flour
  3. Commercial homogenised, pasteurised dairy products
  4. Soy (as I've mentioned earlier)
  5. Hydrogenated vegetable oils
  6. Table salt

Pick one of these things - any one of them - and start by removing that from your diet. Or, if you find total removal too much a stretch, then find a suitable replacement. For example, table salt, which is sodium chloride, is manufactured in a factory. It is a chemical and not a natural food item. Try replacing that with Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, which does cost a bit more - but frankly, we're not supposed to use that much salt on a daily basis, so a bottle of it will last you. Moreover, sea salt has 80 different trace minerals in it, so you're getting a lot more by swapping out table salt and opening that little bit of extra dollars. White sugar: if you're putting that in your coffee or tea every day, try to replace it with brown sugar. Then gradually change that to gulamelaka. And then of course, if you can you can eventually cut it out completely.

However, if you don't get there, it's okay - it's not the end of the world, and the vital thing to do is to make small lifestyle changes. Do what is the most comfortable change to make. Don't force yourself to do something that is going to require a lot of willpower, because that is just going to increase the chance of you failing to be able to make any progress at all.

If you don't do any exercise, just find any activity that interests you, that keeps you active. Irrespective of what that activity is, put that in your diary first before you schedule other 'important' things in your agenda. Make that your top priority. 

And again, stress management: You can try mindful meditation, but for most people, this is hard to do, especially in modern cities. At Levitise, we won't force you to do the traditional style of meditation; we do what we call 'moving meditation' that is much easier to follow and has a very centring and grounding effect.  

Alexander Mearns is the Founder of Holistic Wellness Centre, Levitise. Alexander’s background is in Finance, specifically in the hedgefund space. Because of his efforts in nurturing his own holistic wellness the natural way, Alexander is no longer pre-diabetic or over weight, and has reversed his high-cholesterol and high blood pressure readings from five years ago. He is absolutely passionate about holistic wellness and wants to help others achieve similar results. He is able to do this at Levitise, Singapore’s first all-encompassing holistic lifestyle centre for executives. Their coaches specialise in helping people deal with and avoid, common health concerns in Singapore such as high cholesterol, back pain, sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes as well as hormone imbalances. Have a question for Alexander Mearns and his team? Feel free to contact them directly or send us a mail at hello@thepausemag.com – we'll be sure to get your question to them.