Who Started the Wellness Movement?

who started wellness movement

The wellness movement is one of the most widely recognized and well-known movements in our nation. From corporate wellness programs to celebrity self-help experts, wellness has been taking off for the past decade.

Historically, wellness is rooted in several different intellectual, religious and medical movements from the nineteenth century to the present. These include Christian spiritual, religious and philosophical concepts of health.

John Travis

Back in the 1970s, Dan Rather interviewed John Travis for a segment on 60 Minutes about the opening of the world’s first wellness center in Mill Valley, CA. He quickly gained a large following for his work at the center and his pioneering wellness assessment tool, the Wellness Inventory.

The Wellness Movement swept the world, and by 2010, was valued at an estimated $2 trillion global industry. But few people know that it began with a small group of thinkers who were responsible for founding the movement as we understand it today.

These people included Drs. Don Ardell and John Travis and their associates (Bill Hettler of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Meryn Callander). They were instrumental in establishing the first university campus wellness centers, and later, the National Wellness Institute and National Wellness Conference in the U.S. Their groundbreaking concepts and philosophies have shaped the way we live, think and talk about wellness.

Don Ardell

Many people may know about the wellness movement and its importance today, but few understand that a small group of pioneers started it back in the 1970s. These people helped shape the concept of modern wellness and developed new tools to measure and assess its impact.

Don Ardell wrote High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease (Rodale Press 1976) and has authored over a dozen other books on health and well-being. He was one of the first authors to address the need for a comprehensive wellness approach, and he has been active in health promotion since the 1970s.

Don is a dynamic speaker and prolific writer. He has written the WELLNESS REPORT since 1984; 74 print editions are in circulation and 775 weekly online newsletters are distributed worldwide. He has also given talks and performed in front of audiences throughout North America, Australia and Canada. He has received numerous awards for his work in the field.

Halbert L. Dunn

During the 1950s, the wellness movement began with physician Halbert L. Dunn, who is credited with popularizing the term “high level wellness”. He defined high-level wellness as a condition of change in which an individual moves forward, climbing toward a higher potential of functioning.

He also argued that health is an active, ongoing pursuit of optimal physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, interpersonal and social health. The wellness movement has since expanded to include a sixth dimension: environmental or planetary health.

As a result, it has been difficult to separate discussions of personal and community health from the environment’s impact on our lives. This has become even more problematic as we move into the age of planetary threats to life on Earth, such as climate change and biodiversity losses.

Although the wellness industry purports to be about’self-optimisation’, it essentially centres on the self and promotes fatphobia and exacting beauty standards, eschewing external factors that influence wellbeing. These include diet, lifestyle and environmental issues.

Dan Rather

Rather has reported on some of the most important events in history, and has interviewed a variety of political leaders. His passion for reporting and his dedication to delivering fair and accurate coverage of all the news has helped him build a reputation as a respected journalist.

During his forty-four years with CBS News, he was the White House correspondent and anchor of the newsmagazines CBS Reports and 60 Minutes. He also anchored the CBS Evening News for twenty-four years, making him one of the longest serving news anchors in American television.

Rather is an award-winning journalist who has a long and distinguished career. His stories have often taken on a global scope, including topics such as water and hunting abuses, the hunting industry in the United States, cancer research, and his first interviews with Fidel Castro.