Throughout most of the 21st century, we’ve talked about the wellness industry as something new – starting roughly with the study of nutrition in the 70s and 80s. And it’s certainly true that our current perspective on wellness is a modern take. But wellness has deeper roots. Much, much deeper.
The pursuit of wellness is an ancient, global revolution that predates even the pyramids.
A Brief History of Wellness:
As early as 3,000 BC, the practice of Ayurveda sought to provide harmony between body, mind, and spirit. Yoga and meditation were both foundational components of Ayurveda.
Later, in 500 BC, Greek physician Hippocrates focused on holistic methods to prevent disease, rather than simply treat them. He was also (most likely) the first physician to be outspoken in his belief that illnesses are rooted in poor diets, stress, and lifestyle factors. The Hippocratic Oath was named after him, as he (or one of his students) is believed to be its author.
Between the 1600s and 1900s, a lot of the components of modern wellness began to take shape. Despite Hippocrates’ focus on being well, the term “wellness” wasn’t officially coined until 1650 when it was used to describe the opposite of illness. In the 1700s, a German doctor developed the concept of homeopathy, a radical new way to awaken the body’s natural healing abilities, and in the 1800s, Mary Baker Eddy founded the Christian Science religion – a religion based on the body’s balance and spiritual healing.
The 1800s also brought about the beginnings of chiropractic care and the 1900s gave us naturopathy and the basis for modern evidence-based medicine.
Interestingly, it was only in the last 100 years (give or take) that we shifted from a holistic approach incorporating diet, exercise, meditation, yoga, and breathwork to focus more on a medical approach that emphasizes disease and pathogens. Nevertheless, the belief in wellness has continued to evolve and grow.
In the 1950s, we started learning about the value of eating clean, organic fruits and vegetables. In the 1970s, the first ever Wellness Center was opened in California, and in the 1980s-2000s, we embraced wellness in the mainstream – incorporating wellness practices into our schools, workplaces, and culture.
Welcome to the 21st Century!
In the 21st century, wellness is everywhere. Far from being simply mainstream, it’s been adopted by almost every other industry – from fitness and food to tourism to medicine.
Bringing wellness into every area of our lives is deeply human. When we participate in wellness activities – whether it’s in the form of following a healthy diet, reducing our intake of alcohol, drinking enough water or taking class with favorite boutique studio (hint, hint), we’re fulfilling an acutely human desire to reach our full potential, find balance, and heal ourselves from within.
We are so grateful to be able to partner with you on that journey!