What does “Wellness” mean?

By Christine Peets

I’ve wondered about the meaning of the word wellness.  It’s not in my dictionary so I looked online and found “wellness” equated with “health”.  I’ve talked about some of this in one of my previous posts “Choices in Healthcare”.

To explore the idea further I spoke with two people who use the word wellness. Mora File, owner of the Wild Orchid Health and Wellness Centre on Centre Street in Napanee had this to say about wellness:  “It’s the integration of all aspects of the things that have an impact on our life including the work we do, the food we eat, and the things we do to keep things in balance. It’s also knowing when you need to take better care of a certain aspect of your life and how to access what you need to do that.”

Joanne Maclean, owner of Wellness in the Woods on Highway 2 east of Napanee said that she thinks of wellness as something that is “achieved from the inside out,” and “is a way of making yourself feel better.” She said her clients tell her they always feel better and more relaxed when they leave her salon, in its  lovely wooded setting, so it was easy coming up with its name.

Does wellness just mean health? It’s fortunate that while none of my health problems have been life-threatening, they have affected my quality of life, and they have led me to search outside the norm for answers to my problems. I have a family doctor who supports my belief that she is just one of many health professionals I can consult. I also have complementary care available including chiropractic, massage therapy, yoga, naturopathy, holistic nutritional counselling, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Thanks in part to this team of practitioners I maintain my wellness. I’ve referred to this in The Best of Both Worlds.

We have a hospital in my community and a number of doctors to care for us when we are not well. We also have a growing number of complementary and alternative care providers.

Wellness is a state of being: having a healthy mind, body and spirit. It’s more than just being free of disease. Achieving wellness requires active promotion of health and prevention of illness. While it’s good to have a team of people who can help us achieve optimum health, ultimately, it is up to us. We need to make the best choices we can and not always rely on someone else to take care of us. We need to work to achieve whatever wellness means to us. Heredity or just bad luck may give us some health challenges to deal with but if we keep wellness as the goal, and we have a range of choices, then meeting those challenges will become easier.

Christine Peets is a freelance writer, writing instructor, and business communications trainer, all part of her company Captions Communications. She is an avid believer in preventative, complementary, and alternative medicines, in addition to western medicine, and uses them all to maintain her health and wellness. Learn more about Christine’s work on her website, www.CaptionsCommunications.ca, and read more of her writing on her blog, “With Humour and Hope: The Only Way to Live.”

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