Wellness: A Timeline from Ancient Roots to Modern Usage

Woman whose arms are openHow did the concept of wellness become so popular? The beginnings of wellness practices can be traced to ancient traditions dated as far back as 30th century BC. These historical roots have significantly influenced the wellness movement in the modern age. Wellness centers incorporating holistic and self-healing practices have become mainstream and widely accepted even in medical fields.

Ancient Civilizations

Ayurveda was an oral tradition that originated in 3000 BC. It was a holistic system meant to create harmony between one’s mind, body, and spirit. Routines were tailored to each person’s level of nutrition, exercise, social interaction, and other needs. It involved activities closely resembling yoga and meditation as a way to reduce the likelihood of an illness.

Other approaches like acupuncture, herbal medicine, and tai chi were developed as traditional Chinese medicine in the East. Later, these practices became part of modern wellness and medical approaches around the world.

Medical Movements

The 19th century sparked intellectual movements across the United States and Europe. New medical practices, spiritual philosophies, and alternative healthcare methods were developed. Many of these focused on holistic approaches, self-healing, and preventive care. Others were spiritual and grounded in religious movements.

For a long time, these beliefs were confronted with skepticism and criticism and they were not taken seriously in scientific, medical industries. However, they eventually influenced a birth of ideas focused on lifestyle, exercise, and diet as a way to better manage health. The philosophy of this time, that a healthy body is a product of a healthy mind and spirit, remains a popular idea today.

Proliferation of Wellness

Woman doing yoga on her bedThe first wellness center was created around the mid-20th century. Wellness continued to gain acceptance and popularity among academic, medical, and corporate institutions. It was also at this time that evidence-based scientific articles on wellness approaches were written and were spread throughout the scientific community. These medical validations kickstarted the establishment of a national center for alternative medicine.

Wellness practices were also incorporated into businesses and included as part of their workplace programs. This encouraged the growth of the fitness and spa industries.

Tipping Point

The popularity and establishment of wellness as a mainstream concept came in the 21st century. At this point, the wellness movement had reached a global scale and was widely accepted internationally. Approaches to fitness, diet, and healthy living spread rapidly, changing and improving industries like that of food and travel.

Wellness became a part of the everyday vernacular, used in daily conversation, in medical institutions, and even in the government.

Healthcare Costs

As modern-day medical costs grew costly and unsustainable, governments turned to healthcare methods involving prevention and wellness. They came to rely on traditional medicine. Even the most elite medical institutions included alternative and complementary medicine into their practice.

The popularity of wellness practices continues to grow and become accepted. With this, the health sector has clearly been able to embrace the shift from its sole focus on modern medical practice to that of a holistic practice involving increased attention to prevention and overall wellness.