Stella Photi and Peter Stearn lead busy lives. They run a successful travel business that demands their full attention. 

It has its perks of course - Stella and Peter often test the exotic 'wellbeing escapes' that they recommend to clients. But after 10 years of building up the business, Stella realised she was finding it more difficult to relax than in the past.

Health concerns

“I’ve been getting a little concerned about my health,” she admits. “My mother is a type 2 diabetic and had a stroke a few years ago. My grandparents both died of heart disease.”

For Peter too, the last 10 years seem to have flown by. “We’re not getting any younger,” he says. “It made us realise how critical good health is for wellbeing.”

The pair began looking closer to home for a proactive way to answer a simple question - how healthy am I?

Then one day, while walking to Paddington Station, Peter spotted the local Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre. “When I saw the words ‘health’ and ‘wellbeing’ in the same sentence, I knew we were onto something,” he says.

Health Assessments caught Peter’s eye straight away. The various assessments on offer promised to build an all-inclusive picture of their health and wellbeing. “It looked exactly like what Stella was looking for,” says Peter.

They each decided to take a 360 Health Assessment, one of the most comprehensive available. The journey began with a pre-assessment questionnaire covering lifestyle, stress levels, relationships and medical history.

“It was very thorough,” says Stella. “I was a bit naughty and didn’t fill it in until the day before, but when I arrived they had already gone through it and had a real understanding of my lifestyle.”

“We thought Health Assessments were a great way to help clients identify their current state of wellbeing, before sending them off to kick start that journey.”

But on the way to his appointment, Peter started to doubt the idea. He and Stella were accustomed to health spas and yoga retreats, not doctor’s appointments. They were surprised by the way the appointment felt. “I was worried it might be a bit clinical. Yes, I had to pee in a cup, yes, I had blood tests done, but it never felt like I was at the doctors. It was professional, but very personable. I felt I could really open up and talk honestly.”

The pair were tested and advised on everything from stress and posture to diet and cardiovascular health, including checks for diabetes, cholesterol and liver and kidney function.

But what impressed the wellbeing professionals the most was the integrated approach and the time dedicated to talking about relationships, family, work and their emotional state.

“They treated wellbeing as an essential part of health - equally important as fitness,” says Peter.

The results

By the time each of them sat down for their final chat with the doctor, the bulk of their test results were already available.

“I found it really impressive to have feedback on the state of my health and wellbeing right there and then,” says Peter.

Even the self-styled wellbeing gurus had some things to work on.

“I need to lose a couple of inches around the waist!” admits Stella. “I’m doing ok but dropping that bit of weight will reduce my risk of developing cardiovascular disease like my grandparents. Adding a bit more fish oil into my diet is also good for my heart.”

For Peter, a small change in exercise was recommended – “I don’t run so much anymore and I prefer to walk. But the doctor reminded me that I need to keep up some cardio fitness. I don’t need to go for long runs, just a few short sprints and a little bit of weight lifting.”

But for Stella, the biggest benefit of the assessment was resolving a niggling problem with her menstrual cycle.

“I just brought it up as a side issue really, but we quickly agreed that I should follow it up. She referred me there and then, with no need to see a GP.”

Moreover, they now had an accurate picture of their current state of health and wellbeing.

A new partnership

Stella and Peter decided if Health Assessments were good for them, they would be beneficial for their clients too.

“The experts really validated everything we’ve been saying about the importance of wellbeing,” says Peter. “We now recommend Nuffield Health Assessments to clients.”

“People who come to us are often stressed out and very busy. Now we can recommend something we know will benefit them long term and if they have things they need to work on, our holidays are a great next step to kick-start that journey,” says Stella.

“The real lesson is that you have to take responsibility for your own health. We have a bit of a culture in the UK of on relying on the system to catch us when we’re sick,” she says. “If you’re informed and mindful about your wellbeing then not only do you fall ill less frequently, but you get more out of life every day.”

“Like a wellness holiday, a health assessment is an investment in you,” Peter insists. “Yes it costs money, but you get that paid back to you productivity, lifestyle benefits and happiness - you can’t put a price on that.”