The term wellness has recently become quite the buzzword in today’s society. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the word wellness is also being grossly misused. For example, due to being a healthcare provider in Southern California, I receive many health related journals and publications in my mailbox without subscription. One of these is a local magazine that claims to be a ‘wellness’ guide. Occasionally, this publication will have an informative article on exercise or healthy eating.
However, the vast majority of the articles and advertisements within this magazine are from cosmetic surgeons, cosmetic dentistry, beauty salons, tanning parlors, etc. In other words, this magazine’s definition of wellness is what you look like on the outside. It is not uncommon for celebrities, athletes, models, etc., to undergo very unhealthy procedures or practices in order to improve their appearance. Try to avoid falling into this trap because looks can be very deceiving and should be taken lightly when determining one’s level of health and true wellness.
The medical profession also misuses the term wellness in many of their programs, promotions and advertisements. The medical model of wellness care, sometimes called preventive care, is based on the population receiving annual checkups, heart scans (blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, EKG), mammograms, prostate exams, colonoscopies, pap smears, diabetes screenings just to mention a few. Important tools? Yes. Do any of these exams or screenings really create health and wellness? Of course not. The medical profession is simply trying to take advantage of the popularity of the new wellness movement by making us think that “early detection” leads to true wellness.
What exactly is true wellness? According to The New Oxford American Dictionary, wellness is: the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health. I would argue that this definition has one huge omission; spiritual health. Thus, my definition of True Wellness is:
“The state or condition of being in good physical, mental and spiritual health”
Notice that appearance and early detection is omitted from this definition. We can only create true wellness through our lifestyle choices. Is your lifestyle moving you towards true wellness or away from it?