Wellness is a modern term with roots dating back to Southern Europe (Rome, Athens) and especially to the East (India and China), where wellness was described as early as 3000 years before the birth of Christ. In India, it referred to the holistic system of creating harmony between body, mind, and spirit with the goal of achieving balance and reducing the risk of illness. Yoga and meditation were (and still are) essential to this tradition, which is practiced worldwide. In China, around the same time (3000 years before the birth of Christ), the development of one of the world's oldest medical systems took place – TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine – which laid the foundation for wellness. Influenced by Taoism and Buddhism, TCM adopts a holistic perspective to achieve health and well-being by cultivating harmony in one's life. Multiple dimensions of wellness are often mentioned, including the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental. Occasionally, more dimensions (9-12) are mentioned, but we will focus on six of them here.
- Physical: This dimension focuses on nourishing the body through exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc.
- Mental: Explore your mind through learning, creativity, and problem-solving, demonstrating your mental prowess.
- Emotional: Express and understand your own and others' emotions and accept them.
- Spiritual: Search for the meaning of life and human existence.
- Social: Engage with others and experience our society in meaningful ways.
- Environmental: Be positive and make choices that benefit our planet.
Later, the Greeks and Romans introduced their spa treatments, which most people still associate with wellness. Today, it is more of an individual pursuit of well-being. It is not a passive or static state, but rather an active pursuit involving choices and actions to achieve health and well-being in both body and mind. Wellness is, so to speak, very broad. It ranges from patients with poor health who are cared for and treated by healthcare professionals to achieve a medically healthy body, to the opposite end where the focus is on proactive prevention and maximum vitality, aiming for stability in both body and mind.
However, most people now associate the term wellness more with spa stays and luxury hotels, such as Kamispa in Rome (www.kamispa.com). These places, often exotic, with spas that promote wellness through the delivery of therapeutic and other professional services, aim to "renew body, mind, and spirit." Most consumers and industry experts agree that a spa, at its core - regardless of size, shape, or business model - is a business that focuses on well-being - wellness. The concepts of wellness, the healing traditions drawn upon, and the therapeutic techniques used vary considerably across nations and types of spas. Spa facilities typically offer a wide range of services (e.g., massages, facials, body treatments, salon services, water-based treatments, health assessments, and more) as well as the sale of related products. All this is done to bring peace to the mind and body, often concluding with relaxing music (www.1000trax.com) in calm, beautiful surroundings. All to transform daily stress into inner peace, which is also the most common desire among spa customers. And we are talking about significant amounts of money. In 2017, it was estimated that the number of spas had grown to over 149,000 worldwide, generating $93.6 billion in revenue and employing nearly 2.6 million people. The main drivers behind the spa industry were increasing incomes, rapid growth in wellness tourism, and a growing consumer inclination towards everything related to wellness. The broader spa economy includes not only revenue from spa facilities but also sectors that support and enable spa businesses, including capital investment, consulting, spa therapist training, management education, associations, media, and event companies, all promoting spas.