Wellness – a medical instrument


​The concept ‘ ” wellness ‘ “, was translated for the first time 1654 in a monograph of Sir A. Johnson as “… wealnesse”, in Oxford English Dictionary with ” good health “: in modern understanding a comprehensive health draught, since the 50s in the USA being the upper concept of a new health movement at that time. Defined by the American doctor Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper (“The Father of Aerobics”) and the social medical doctor Halbert Dunn (among other things in the 1950th, to the 60s and 70s), the concept Wellness was derived of the concepts Well-being and fitness or Well-being and Happiness, i.e. the life style draught Wellness is aimed at well-being, fun and a good physical constitution. Today one mainly understands by wellness methods and applications, which increase the physical, spiritual and mental well-being. In particular, hotels, swimming-pools and health resort facilities offer massages, baths, but also day programs and weekly programs by the name “wellness”.

Socioeconomic importance

Wellness is also a popular advertising concept and a meanwhile inflationarily used name, because it is not protected juridically. Thus mineral waters, teas, muesli, jam and so-called food supplement means are sold among other things like Nonisaft as a wellness article in terms of articles for good sensations. The latter is an example of the use of the name for products, by which a health effect is promoted. Also products like for example biology resonance devices, magnet mattresses or animated water are offered sometimes under the name wellness. Also liked and spread are aromatic oils, which among others unfold their specific therapeutic effects while inhaling or by having a massage. In 1959 the American social medical doctor Halbert L. Dunn had taken up the word Wellness in a new manner. In the 1970s – as the costs in the US-American health system exploded – the wellness pioneers Donald B. Ardell and John Travis by order of the US-American government developed the new comprehensive health models which were based on prevention and self responsibility of the single person for his/her health. Due to the understanding of Ardell, wellness describes a state of well-being and contentment and consists of the factors self responsibility, food consciousness, physical fitness, stress management and environmental sensitivity. Among others, the name “wellness” is applied to the following areas:

  • Deliberate food by comprehensive contact with food
  • Deliberate movement by regular, conformist movement programs
  • Mentally by relaxation and stress management methods like autogenous Training and meditation as well as by passive methods like sauna and massage
  • Deliberate contact with the nature and luxuries

This view of wellness is called meanwhile also ” Medical wellness ” being based mainly on the consciousness of a healthy life-style in everyday life. Suitable courses for people with health problems – above all, to the so-called civilisation illnesses – are offered meanwhile by many health insurance schemes and in health resorts. Colloquially, above all, the passive offers for good sensations which serve the relaxation are understood by wellness.

Economic meaning

According to figures of the economic research enterprise “Global Insight” the annual turnover of the wellness branch is estimated in Germany at about 73 milliard euros. This refers to estimates about all turnovers being connected with the concept Wellness. Among others these include lifestyle food like reduced calorie food, digestive-supporting yoghurt products etc., fitness-centers and stays at wellness hotels as well.