Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 43

EGYPT, MOROCCO,
AND TURKEY

JAPAN

The Japanese are serious about middle-age
Hammam, known in the West as "Turkish
spread. Employees between the ages of 40
bath," began as a religious purification ritual. and 74 must have their waistlines measured
The bath starts with relaxing in a warm
every year, and if you're found too fat (or
room heated by a continuous flow of hot,
"metabo" as they say in Japanese) you may
dry air. Next, bathers move to an even hotter have to pay more into the national health
room and then wash in cold water. After a
care system. Since the law went into effect
full-body wash and a massage, bathers retire in 2008, waistlines may not exceed the
to a cool room and enjoy some tea.
government's limits of 33.5 inches for men
and 35.4 inches for women.

NEW ZEALAND
It's good to be a Kiwi. New Zealanders are
entitled to no fewer than four weeks of
annual paid vacation, in addition to 11 paid
public holidays.

SWEDEN
One popular wellness initiative in Sweden is
sports contributions. Instead of a company
gym, workers receive a "wellness grant" each
year that they can spend on athletic activities of their choice, like team sports or a club.
The goal is to encourage employees to
exercise together and to be energized by
the social aspect of working out.

FINLAND
Self-flagellation with birch branches might
not be your idea of a good time, but Finns
find it an essential part of the sauna experience. Gentle birch beatings, jumping from
a hot sauna into an icy cold lake, and rolling
in a snow bank are all parts of Finnish sauna
culture and of Finns' national identity. So
engrained are these practices that Finns
take saunas at least once a week and have
them built into their lake houses, apartments, offices, and even their Parliament.

Opposite page: filo/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

CANADA
Skype a doctor in Saskatoon? Canada
has been piloting telemedicine programs
to deliver health services to underserved
and rural markets. Health workers can speak
to patients via videoconference, telephone,
or text, and providers can view aspects
of a patient's history and physical examination remotely. The upside to patients?
Telemedicine eliminates travel time and
reduces the time spent sitting in waiting
rooms. Improved access, in turn, improves
health outcomes and reduces hospital
admissions.

U.K.
It may be debatable how healthy tea itself is,
especially with a couple lumps of sugar, but
tea breaks are an intrinsic part of British culture.
In fact, the British consume 60 billion cups of
tea per year. Why? Anthropologist Kate Fox
suggests that making a cuppa is socially
soothing and gives Brits something to fiddle
with. Fox writes in her book Watching the
English, "Tea-making is the perfect displacement activity: whenever the English feel
awkward or uncomfortable in a social situation
[that is, almost all the time], they make tea."

CHINA
In China, many people practice tai chi, an
ancient martial art, each morning in public
parks. This slow-moving ritualistic exercise
has been shown to improve balance and
attention span, boost the immune system,
and alleviate arthritis symptoms. Research
has also found that practicing tai chi
increases bone density, boosts endurance,
eases depression, and improves sleep.
All good reasons to get up early and
get moving.

THE NETHERLANDS
In the Netherlands, there are more bicycles
than people. The country has abundant
bicycle parking, protected intersections, and
segregated paths for cycling. This propensity
to pedal to places may be one of the
reasons why the Netherlands is ranked the
healthiest country in the world.

SWITZERLAND
You can thank the Swiss for the fiber-rich
breakfast concoction known as muesli. It
was invented around 1900 by Swiss doctor
Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in
his sanatorium, where part of the therapy
was a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. Bircher-Benner was a raw vegan back
before such a notion existed. He thought
foods were healthier the closer they were
to the sun and the less processed they
were. (This was 30 years before vitamins
were discovered.) Today muesli, or
birchermuesli as it was originally known,
is a ubiquitous breakfast food made from
rolled oats, grains, seeds, and dried fruit,
sometimes served soaked in yogurt or
with milk.

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WASHINGTON LAWYER

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MAY 2017 43


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