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2017.10.17 - What does wellness mean?

What does wellness mean?

Wellness has become a trendy word in recent years. These days many hotels or spas offer their services using the term wellness, because in Hungary it is associated with high quality, the elite and modernity. But do we know exactly what wellness means? What are the origins and the history of the word?

The term was coined by a US doctor: at the end of the 1950s Dr Halbert L. Dunn published a series of articles, in which he had combined the terms well-being and fitness to create the new word that ended up as the motto of his health concept. Later in the 1960s and 1970s Dunn’s system was adopted by the then flourishing spiritual health movements, so one of the pillars of wellness became mental quietness, the second pillar is a physically active lifestyle and the third pillar turned out to be eating consciously.

In an optimal case wellness is a lifestyle, an attitude, which is practiced daily by its followers: they say yes to the challenges of life, they don’t let stress get the better of them, they delay aging but accept themselves as they are, they do exercise every day but don’t demand too much from their bodies.       


Nowadays and in the last few centuries it has been of society’s interest to have wellness permeate the everyday lives of citizens – no matter how this lifestyle was called in a given period – as healthy individuals strengthen the society, vitalising not only themselves but also the people around them, while those who are mentally or physically ill use up the resources in their environment.

All in all, it is a good thing that wellness has become trendy, even if very often it is nothing more than a slogan used in connection with holidays or the services offered by hotels, and it isn’t practiced in everyday life. It is another question why we Hungarians don’t use the good old word ‘health’ instead…

What is wellness made of?

The most important element of wellness is consciousness. To know what I am doing and why I am doing it, what is happening to me while doing my exercises. This is the reason why those following a wellness lifestyle wear a device on their arms, measuring their pulse, blood pressure and the number of steps taken. They do just as much and for just as long as is beneficial. Wellness doesn’t involve sports or activities that require non-aerobic working from the human body, which means that the great physical burden leads to shortness of breath and the production of lactic acid, resulting in muscle stiffness. The best aerobic forms of exercise are swimming, walking, jogging, riding the bicycle and doing aerobics.  


Wellness can’t be separated from water. The nearness of water guarantees stress relief. Bathing, having a sauna, sitting in a Jacuzzi or swimming – everyone can find their own way of releasing stress, but meditating or doing yoga by the water can also cleanse the mind from bad thoughts and one can continue their day feeling clean and new. Another method for getting rid of stress is having a massage. During a massage the muscles loosen and the circulation of lymph intensifies in the tissues. The expert hands of the masseur can have a targeted healing effect, but even an unprofessional person can give a massage that can make us focus on abandoned parts of our bodies, instead of concentrating on our head. Modern individuals tend to live their lives with the head in the centre and this can create a serious loss of balance. One can receive a massage with many additional benefits, such as various kinds of face masks and skin care methods, which can enhance the effects of the massage and keep the body young.           

We mustn’t forget that conscious eating forms an integral part of wellness, because there is no point in trying to live a healthy life physically and mentally if the food we are eating isn’t right. The key word is consciousness. Followers of the wellness lifestyle pay attention to the nutrients contained in the food they are eating, they follow a diverse diet, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and regularly go on a liquid or any other, consciously chosen special diet.       

egészséges étel

Having read these things about wellness, perhaps not everyone will continue calling their annual stay in a hotel a wellness holiday, because it can happen that the only element of the wellness lifestyle they are using there is hot water – and at the same time hearty dinners and time spent in confectioneries form part of their programme. Still, perhaps in the future more people will decide to use the wide range of personalised wellness services of experts employed by spas and hotels.