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What is Wellness?

Wellness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being. It has been used in the context of alternative medicine since Halbert L. Dunn, M.D., began using the phrase high level wellness in the 1950s. The modern concept of wellness did not, however, become popular until the 1970s.

The term has been defined by the Wisconsin-based National Wellness Institute as an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence. This is consistent with a shift in focus away from illness in viewing human health, typical of contexts where the term wellness is used. In other words, wellness is a view of health that emphasizes the state of the entire being and its ongoing development.
As published in what is wellness the dimensions of wellness may include mental, physical, spiritual, social, occupational and environmental health conditions; with wellness being the result of personal initiative, seeking a more optimal, holistic and balanced state of health and well-being across multiple dimensions.

Alternative approaches to wellness are often denoted by the use of two different phrases: health and wellness, and wellness programs. These kinds of wellness programs offer alternative medicine techniques to improve wellness. Whether these techniques actually improve physical health is controversial and a subject of much debate. James Randi and the James Randi Educational Foundation are outspoken critics of this alternative new age concept of wellness. The behaviors in the pursuit of wellness often include many health related practices, such as making healthy lifestyle changes and utilizing natural therapies.

Wellness, as a luxury pursuit, is found obviously in the more affluent societies because it involves managing the body state after the basic needs of food, shelter and basic medical care have already been met. Many of the practices applied in the pursuit of wellness, in fact, are aimed at controlling the side effects of affluence, such as obesity and inactivity. Wellness grew as a popular concept starting in the 19th century, just as the middle class began emerging in the industrialized world, and a time when a newly prosperous public had the time and the resources to pursue wellness and other forms of self-improvement.

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