According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term wellness which first appeared as "...wealnesse" in a monography by Sir A. Johnson in 1654 can be translated as "good health". In modern terms, wellness is a holistic health concept. Since the 1950s wellness has been a general term for an innovative health movement in the USA.
As defined by the American medical doctors Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper („the father of aerobics“) and Halbert Dunn in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the term "wellness" is derived from the words well-being and fitness resp. well-being and happiness. The wellness lifestyle aims for well-being, fun and a good physical constitution.
In the 1970s – when the cost of the US health care system began to explode – wellness pioneers Donald B. Ardell and John Travis developed new holistic health models based on prevention of illness and personal responsibility for your own health. According to Ardell, wellness describes a state of well-being and contentment and consists of the factors personal responsibility, nutritional consciousness, physical fitness, stress management and environmental sensitivity.
Today the term wellness is mainly used for therapies and applications to improve one's physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Thus complex wellness resorts have been developed, part fitness range, part (thermal) pool, with sauna and therapeutic facilities.