History is filled with great heists. There was the theft of Rembrandt, Manet, and Vermeer art in the great Gardner Museum heist of 1990. The Great Train Robbery of 1963 resulted in the theft of $41 million dollars. One of the more elaborate thefts involved the Banco Central of Brazil via the construction of a 250 ft air conditioned, lighted tunnel. The most recent hacker heist involved north of $1 billion.
Hollywood has not been lost on the recount of a good heist. The “Sting”, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, followed the con of thousands of dollars in the 20’s set movie. The more recent “Oceans Eleven” followed an elaborate heist of a Las Vegas casino.
It seems the media is big on reporting a heist—whether it be via the news or in the movies. The heist that I am writing about does not involve money, nor is it Hollywood’s latest, greatest heist screen play. The heist that I am writing about is more subtle. No story has been written on this heist. No screenplay of this heist will hit movie theaters anytime soon. This great heist is the theft of a word—specifically the theft of the meaning of a word. What word? The word is …
What is Wellness?
Wellness means so many different things to so many different people. For some, Wellness can simply be defined as weight loss and/or exercise at your local gym. For others, Wellness is the resolution of hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and other symptoms. Still for others, Wellness is treating and defeating a disease. It is this individualization of what Wellness is that has allowed for the theft of the meaning of the word Wellness. Not that an individuals personal definition of Wellness is responsible for the theft, but it has allowed for others the opportunity to pull of this heist of the meaning Wellness.
To mean what one says, one must know what one says. The height of dishonesty is the deliberate misuse of a word to mislead others.
What is Wellness again?
Wellness is defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘the state of being in good Health’. Let me dissect this word Wellness to provide better insight into the word to better understand the word. The word Wellness is composed of 2 parts. The root word is Well. The adjective use of the word Well applies to this discussion. The word Well has its origin in Germanic and old English meaning ‘in good Health, free from illness’. More recent English actually translated Well to ‘a will or a willingness’. The second portion of the word is the suffix -ness which is translated ‘a state of’. Thus a definition of Wellness, based on the root word origins, is the willingness to live in a state of good Health, free from illness.
To finish out the definition, we must further define Health. The root word of Health is Heal. This has old English and Germanic origins as well. The old English translation is ‘restore to sound health’. That doesn’t really help understand the meaning of the word Heal. The Germanic origin is heilen, which can be translated ‘whole’. That works. Put the 2 together and the meaning of Wellness is best translated as the willingness to live in a state of being whole, free from illness. Isn’t it interesting that the Hebrew translation of the word physician, a verb, is ‘to heal’ or ‘healer’? One could propose, based on the meanings of the words, a physician that doesn’t practice healing care is not practicing Health care at all.
In contrast Disease is defined as the disorder of function or structure that results in physical signs and symptoms that results in illness and pathology. What of the origin? The word Disease is from old French. The word Disease can be broken into 2 parts: des and aise. The old French word is desaise which means ‘lack of ease’. It is the old French word desaise that is translated into the English word Disease. The meaning based on origin implies Disease is the opposite of easy; that Disease is the hard road. A better meaning might be that the body functions at a much better state of ease in Wellness than the lack of ease in Disease. That being said, our culture has made if very easy to live in the state of Disease and made if very difficult and even fringe, to live in a state of Wellness.
One must know the origins and definition of words to know the meaning of the words. The lack of this understanding and the deliberate misuse of the word by others is the means by which the theft of Wellness is achieved.
The greatest obstacles to Wellness are:
Those guilty of the deception of Wellness are those deliberately involved in the theft of the meaning of the word Wellness. These companies will remain unnamed, but you know them as Health insurance companies and your every other corner pharmacy(s). These “Health Care” companies speak and advertise Wellness out of one side of their mouth, while spewing Disease and obstacles to Wellness out of the other side. Wellness is used for an advertising advantage only–merely window dressing here so move along would be their montra. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to see the table of Wellness getting crowded these days. However, the table has only become crowded by the new comers that talk the talk when it became monetarily advantageous. I would rather have the table less crowded with those that believe in Wellness, than crowded with charlatans. At Seasons Wellness, we do more than just talk, we walked the Wellness paradigm of medicine when the table was mostly empty.
You have got to be comfortable in your own skin. This brings me to the example of the every-other-corner pharmacy chains. They clearly are uncomfortable in their own skin. They promote Wellness in e-mail blasts and promote Wellness through their smoking cessation plans. But when you walk the aisles of their stores, there is no evidence of Wellness per the definition. In fact, all one encounters are items that contribute to Disease (sugar drinks, candy, processed foods…) and drugs to manage Disease, which by the way also contribute to Disease. Remember, the 3rd leading cause of death, according to the Journal of American Medical Association, is medical intervention and according to the CDC the #1 cause of injury death is prescription drug overdose. If you are Disease care—be comfortable in who you are–be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t disguise Disease care with the cloak of Wellness to pretend to be something you are not for a marketing advantage.
The second obstacle to Wellness is knowledge. The Deception discussed in the previous paragraph is actually directly tied to knowledge. The theft of the word Wellness and the misuse of the word Wellness have led to the deception of the meaning of Wellness. This has left a vacuum of the knowledge of Wellness. For many, because of marketing: Wellness is Health care insurance, Wellness is taking a drug. Knowledge is power. Wellness begins with the knowledge of what Wellness truly is and Wellness is definitely not a Health insurance company (or Health insurance plan for that matter) or a prescription drug. Wellness by definition is actually the absence of both.
The last and probably biggest obstacle is the Will to live Well. Remember, the more recent English translation of Well is ‘will’ or ‘willingness’. Wellness cannot be achieved without the Will to live Well. This is counter cultural. Current medical culture practices no-Will Wellness i.e. obesity treatment with weight loss surgery and pills, pop-a-pill stress treatment strategies, there are many examples—take your pick. This no-Will Wellness is simply a wolf in sheep clothing. The old adage “to good to be true” applies here. There is no pill nor surgery that will correct for a poor diet, lack of exercise, and poor lifestyle. Wellness cannot be achieved without the will to live Well. It takes both, and in fact, must start with that will to live Well.
This counter cultural movement is not new or unique to Seasons Wellness. This counter cultural Healing movement started some 2,000 years ago. Amazingly, it involved the Will, at a Well, to be Healed. At Seasons Wellness, we feel we are just getting back to our roots—the root word of the meaning of Wellness.