By Shree Prakash
Wellness is a word opposite to illness. Wellness means being good in health both physically and mentally. People have been concerned about their wellness from ancient times. In the past people used to balance well with physical, mental and spiritual wellness while today’s trend is centred mostly on physical wellness.
There might be different views on wellness. It is a conscious self- directed evolving process to achieve our ultimate potential. It is a multi-directional process of well- being consisting of lifestyle, mental, physical and environmental wellness. It is a positive and active process through which we can be aware of and make good choices of successful existence.
Evolution of wellness: In different eras and cultures wellness might have been seen in different ways.
Ayurveda wellness (3000-1500) BC: Taught a balance between body, mind and spirit.
Chinese tradition (3000-2000 BC): This is also one of the oldest systems consisting of wellness by herbal, acupuncture, acupressure, gi going, Tai chi etc.
Greek system (500 BC): This was possibly the first system by Greek physician Hippocrates who focussed on prevention of disease rather than treating it.
Roman system 50 BC: This also was like the Greek system focused on the prevention of sickness by proper diet and lifestyle.
1790 Homoeopathy: Medicine’s made from natural things to treat diseases.
1860 Hydropathy: Treatment with water.
1890 Chiropractic: Spinal manipulation to treat vertebral problems.
18th-19th century: Modern wellness thought evolved in Europe and the USA and a number of healthcare systems grew with alternative methods like homoeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, Chiropathy etc. Around 1790s German physician Hahnemann developed homoeopathic medicines from natural things for the body’s self-healing.
Allopathic: The present most common system, allopath, was given by Hahnemann meaning other than disease. This was also seen as heroic medicines due to application of extreme measures. This is known as Western medicine, biomedicine, evidence-based medicines. Medicines for many diseases were found and complicated surgeries done.
20th century: This era saw a huge spread of wellness. Medicines for many diseases were found and surgery done by improved techniques.
Wellness goes global
U.S doctors Travis, Ardell and Hettler created a comprehensive model of wellness and developed new assessment tools. They are called fathers of modern wellness and they established first wellness center of the world.
By 1980 wellness was not confined to only treatment of diseases but it started focusing on other things also – wellness at workplace, wellness at home, wellness in sports. As a result a lot of wellness programmes were born – fitness, spa, sauna, gyms, celebrity wellness etc – thus bringing wellness to the mainstream and wellness idea spread globally.
21st century – The turning point: The concept of wellness became global. The approach to fitness, diet, well-being migrated worldwide and in this process dramatic changes took place in every industry-food, beverages, travel, sports, entertainment.
Other means of wellness
There are also faith or religion- based wellness feeling like Reiki and Christian faith healing which has no scientific proof but still some people believe and follow. Some might have faith in supernatural electromagnetic therapy too. Naturopathy believes in naturopathic medicines which say the body can heal itself using supernatural vital energy. Major employers are adopting and promoting wellness programmes at the workplace. Medical and self-help wellness promoters like Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil became known to millions. Wellness has become a subject talked about at home, in media, at medical institutions and the government level.
Application of wellness
By application of wellness a person may be aware of how he can contribute to healthy living of not only himself but to the environment and society too. He learns a system of belief and values and merits of physical activities, healthy habits, vitality, self esteem, self control and also how to take self-care when there is a medical need. Application of wellness is useful in most human endeavour – at home, in sports, at the workplace. It is a guide to optimal living.
Workplace wellness: Several organisations are promoting wellness amongst their employees by promoting wellness measures like daily workouts for a few minutes and periodically holding workshops/seminars on wellness techniques including nutritious diet, meditation, exercises etc.
Obesity: Every department, organisation, insurer, government is concerned with it as it is the main source of many chronic diseases.
Alcohol and smoking: Smoking and alcohol also contribute or/and aggravate many diseases . Wellness is taking care of it too and cessation of smoking / tobacco in any form or drinking is showing results.
Size of global wellness industry: As a result of rising trend in wellness global wellness industries claim to be work $ 3.4 trillions – almost three times that of pharmaceutical industries.