Wellness: A Timeline from Ancient Roots to Modern Usage

How did the concept of wellness become so popular? The beginnings of wellness practices can be traced to ancient traditions dating as far back as 3,000 B.C. These historical roots have significantly influenced the wellness movement in the modern age.

Let’s take a look at the timeline of holistic, self-healing practices from their ancient origins to the modern-day application:

Ancient Civilizations

Ayurveda was an oral tradition that originated in 3,000 B.C. 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 illnesses.

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

Proliferation of Wellness

The 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. That 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 expanded and been 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 treating illnesses ranging from a simple cough to hypothyroidism symptoms to cancer 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 been able to embrace the shift from its sole focus on modern medical practice to that of a system that involves holistic, overall wellness.

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