Glossary of wellness terms

Definitions and descriptions of wellness practices and terms
Sep 5, 2018 ·
Young girl and young man enjoying wellness through exercising together

Health care is changing. A new, holistic approach that focuses on both the body and mind to achieve overall wellness is the new standard. Here are some popular terms for practices that go beyond traditional medicine to promote health and well-being.


Guided imagery
A technique that involves focusing your mind on pleasant images to help you relax and de-stress. Guided imagery can be practiced:

  • With someone trained to help keep you focused
  • By listening to a recording to help guide you
  • By yourself in an environment where you feel safe, comfortable, and free to concentrate

Homeopathy
A system of healing using small amounts of natural substances including plants and minerals. Homeopathic doctors believe that certain highly diluted substances can stimulate the immune system to fight off illnesses or allergies. Homeopathic medicine comes in a variety of forms including liquid drops, creams, and pills.

Lifestyle medicine
An approach to healthcare that promotes a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of disease or improve symptoms of an existing disease or illness. Eating healthy, exercising, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, abstaining from smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation are all components of lifestyle medicine.

Meditation
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in different ways by many cultures and religions. It involves quietly focusing your mind for a period of time to achieve emotional peace and calmness. Meditation can reduce stress, improve concentration, and promote happiness.

Mindfulness
A level of concentration or mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Mindfulness can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve one’s mood by ridding the mind of negative thoughts and distractions.

Holistic
Holistic medicine, or a holistic approach to health care, focuses on the whole person, both body and mind, to treat illness and disease and promote overall health and well-being.

Outpatient care
Care that is based on the premise that healing is faster and easier when a patient can recover at home. Patients receiving outpatient care are free to go home after a procedure instead of staying overnight in the hospital. They are often discharged with instructions on how to care for themselves and may receive home visits from nurses, therapists, and social workers.

Reflexology
A form of massage that involves applying pressure to different parts of the hands and feet to break up patterns of stress. Reflexologists believe that certain areas of the hands and feet correspond to different locations throughout the body.

Self-care
The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being, particularly during times of stress. Eating healthy, getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, and meditating are some ways to practice self-care.

Sound therapy/vibrational healing
This involves a range of therapies that use sound to treat both physical and mental conditions. In practice, a sound that may be produced by any number of methods including voice, chanting bowls, drums, bells, tuning fork, or music, is transmitted to an area of the body.

Well-being
Well-being is overall mental and physical health. It is a strong, healthy body; the presence of positive emotions and moods; and life satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. Well-being may also include:

  • Economic well-being
  • Social well-being
  • Emotional well-being

Wellness programs
Wellness programs are designed to improve and promote health and fitness, usually offered through one’s employer or health insurance plan. Wellness programs may offer cash rewards, gym memberships, and other incentives to encourage participation. Some examples of wellness programs include initiatives to help its patients stop smoking, manage diabetes, and lose weight. Preventive health screenings, such as blood tests, may also be included.

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