How should one define the term "wellness" and why is the concept all the rage these days?
A search query of Google for a definition of wellness ("define: wellness") elicits 15 different results, some sensible and similar and others as simple as a brand name for pet food.
The first search result on Google for the query define: wellness was as follows: "a healthy state of wellbeing free from disease; physicians should be held responsible for the health of their patients." Since Google's search algorithm often presents the most popular definition first, this is apparently one of the most read and perhaps more accepted definitions.
Wow, that's a real debacle for me because it puts the responsibility of a patient's health in the hands of their physician. Is personal accountability for one's health not a priority?
Ironically, the recent focus on wellness involves a desire for awareness and self involvement in the quest to get well. In my opinion this desire was brought about by the fact that many physicians are focused on treating disease symptoms rather than zooming in on the holistic or overall portrait of their patients' health. Patients are no longer viewing physicians as God-like authoritarians for health, but are asking questions and seeking alternative methods or advice for self help, nutrition and exercise. New terms are cropping up like "well care", anti-oxidants, polyphenols, PPO and HMO.
This brings up the question of whether HMO really means Health Maintenance Organization? Maybe HMO should have the acronym of PPO or as I liken it: "Pissed-off Patient Organization". In any event, in the minds of insurance executives, HMOs are economical in spite of the fact the costs of health care keep rising. Hopefully they will someday figure out that prevention and maintenance is more cost effective than conventional symptomatic medical care. Chiropractors have preached this for years, but insurance carriers are clearly blinded to recognizing chiropractors as candidates for primary care physicians.
Thomas Edison once said: "the doctor of the future will not dose us with drugs, but will interest his patients in the care of human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. The simple truth is you cannot improve on nature." Now that sounds like a mantra of wellness to me.
The quest for wellness is a journey and begins with personal accountability; supported by a symphony of factors like committment. Key components are highlighted below:
- Personal commitment (1) self-reliance and determination to be healthy and well.
- Awareness (2) listening to the sometimes subtle signals of your own body.
- Homeostasis (3) achieving balance of your own physiological state.
- Harmony (4) a harmonious, peaceful balance in your relationships with nature, the earth and others.
My father instilled the most basic concept of wellness in me when I was a small child by repeatedly saying: "Son, everything in life is balance".
"Wellness is a personal commitment to seek harmonious balance of body and mind with that of nature and others. It is the process of monitoring and fine tuning the underlying mental and physiological processes that are often in a state of flux and when out of balance result in disease".