Wellness Wednesday: What is Wellness ?

Did you realize the concept of wellness wasn't always around ? According to an article in the November issue of Real Simple, the term did not appear in the English language until the 16th century. Until then we simply thought of the absence of disease.  

After World War Two, the World Health Organization ( WHO ) explicitly defined health as not simply the absence of disease, but rather a state of " complete physical mental and social well-being ". The concept of " High Level Wellness"  was defined in a book of the same name in 1961. And finally the first " Wellness Center " was opened in northern California in 1975, and was catapulted to both fame and ridicule with its spot on the TV news show 60 minutes in 1979. Today the general public and the medical profession take wellness very seriously. I agree with the WHO definition of what it is. What interests me is how to attain it.

My first comment is this: that wellness is not a one time goal. Rather it is a constant work in progress. It is borne of a repetitive but dynamic rhythm of daily activities that we must consciously put into place. If I have emphasized anything about health maintenance in my practice it is this: that no one thing that will confer wellness. It is a comprehensive approach which says that every thing you do or take into your body must be for a good health promoting purpose. Whether it is a food, an exercise, or even a manner of communication, it should be for the good. If these good things are done so often as to become habits, their cumulative result is wellness. In other words, it is the summation of all the well chosen good small things and actions in the day, experienced repeatedly over time. 

In this spirit I would like to introduce the concept of optimal health. Yes there is great satisfaction in curing disease. But there is even more in teaching people how to move toward optimal wellness.  And with that in mind I would like to share a terrific website :


Of course it is a play on the word "greatest" and I take it to mean someone who studies and tries to embody that which is great. The site offers tips not only on nutrition and fitness, but also addresses optimal life functioning in general. So check it out, as a part of your quest for wellness. 

For more information see: 

The Eight Dimensions of Wellness