Just What is Wellness
The term Wellness is still very ambiguous to the general public, even Wikipedia refers out to either the health medicine page or the alternative medicine page. Wellness is being in good health with a general optimism for life, accepting of self and others with forward movement towards happiness. Wellness definitions are as diverse and unique as each individual human being. Wellness is universal and understood cross culturally and inter-generational just as the arts, music, dance and love.
- Wellness can be defined as your daily feelings about your total wellbeing, the status of your overall physical, mental and emotional health on a continual basis. Or the level of clarity, strength and peace of your mind, body and spirit.
- The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines wellness as: The condition of good physical, mental and emotional health, especially when maintained by an appropriate diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications.
- The Dictionary.com defines wellness as: 1. the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. 2. an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.
Here are two major components that determine an individual’s baseline health and wellness or state of wellbeing: the medical definition and the spiritual definition.
Conventional medicine is concerned with the body’s systems – circulatory, digestive, endocrine, immune, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal, and urinary. Each system has a standard of health by which a medical doctor would measure a patient’s good health.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) analyzes all of those systems, then measures each functioning capacity right along side the current state of the patient’s the mind, body and spirit. This physician would then make an assessment on the overall health and wellness of that patient.
Generally speaking, the difference between conventional and CAM is in the initial approach to these systems and their possible illnesses, and expected outcome of each patient. Conventional medicine is focused on treating the systems of diseases with pharmaceutical drugs and surgeries. CAM is focused on treating diseases by allowing the body to heal itself using nature and modern science as its guide, using homeopathic and botanical medicine and clinical nutrition. Conventional medicine uses numerical standards as guidelines to help a patient return to a national standard of good health. CAM is also follows the same numerical standards as conventional medicine and go one step further by prescribing healthy therapies to prevent the return on the illness or disease.
In the big picture of health and wellness, we need both disciplines – conventional and CAM. Here is an extreme example of why there is a need for both – if you’re in a car accident you certainly want to go the emergency room. For a complete satisfying recovery from the accident, you may want to add massage, Reiki, healing touch, acupuncture and other healing modalities to strengthen the muscles, bones and ease the pain.
Wellness And The Stress Factor
How well you handle stress is an enormous indicator of your present state of well being. Many healers agree that stress is the major cause of all illnesses and diseases. The body receives the stress when it is internalized because the person is unable to release the tension either by physically shaking it off through exercise or movement, through conversations in counseling or mediation or writing it down in a journal or letter. This internal stress or anxiety effects every cell in the body and shows up as headaches, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, digestion problems, breathing difficulties, skin disorders such as eczema, acne, dandruff and more. The ability to react calmly to stressful situations is high functioning optimal wellness.
Mind, Body And Spirit
Spiritual wellness is generally measured by an individual’s level of inner peace. Religion and faith in one’s daily life are indications of an openness to attain spiritual wellbeing. Several pathways to spiritual awareness require a quiet and calm environment for prayer, meditation or deep breathing. Those who find these paths too “still” look towards movement to tap into their spirit. These pathways include yoga, dance, Qi gong, tai chi, stretching, massages, walking, singing, chanting, repeating mantras while rocking, listening to and playing music and the list goes on. After all the activity settles, it is usually in the quiet hours when on experiences a union with their spirit, their source of inner peace.