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An introduction to wellness

In this article, we explore the meaning of wellness in the 21st century, and what the current wellness economy embodies.

Today, the quest for wellness is all around us.

The global wellness industry

The $4.5 trillion global industry [1] has infiltrated almost every facet of our daily lives, and its reach continues to expand as consumers actively seek solutions that better enable them to optimise their physical and mental health.

From self-care, meditation and sleep, to digital fitness, functional nutrition, and workplace wellbeing –– this new world of wellness is made up of a complex ecosystem of overlapping and converging categories that are being reimagined and repackaged to slot seamlessly into our everyday lives.

Wellness businesses

As the wellness economy continues to pick up speed, this is enabling millions of people around the globe to build viable businesses and careers in the wellness industry.

Today, opportunities in the wellness industry expand well beyond the typical (more general) industry segments like fitness or nutrition.

Throughout this course, we’ll be diving deeper into how you can turn your passion for wellness into a fulfilling and thriving career.

To understand the opportunities that exist, let’s begin by briefly exploring the meaning of wellness in the 21st century and what the current wellness economy embodies.

What is wellness?

Considered by many to be a modern concept (or, at the very least, the commercialisation of it), the definition of wellness has evolved over the years.

Rooted in preventative and holistic approaches common in ancient civilisations, its more recent incarnation can be traced back to the 1950s following the release of the World Health Organisation’s 1948 constitution, in which Halbert L. Dunn, Chief of the National Office of Vital Statistics, noted:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

He went on to define “high-level wellness” as:

“an integrated method of functioning, which is oriented toward maximising the potential of which the individual is capable.”

Many other prominent physicians and thinkers throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s all contributed to the self-directed concept of wellness we know today –– an approach, characterised by the Global Wellness Institute as:

“The active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.”

Wellness consumers

As we will learn, individuals are willing to invest significant amounts of time and money in the hope of achieving this outcome.

Today, consumers are spending millions of dollars on eating healthily, exercising regularly, and tracking their personal health.

A recent survey reveals that 94% of millennials are willing to spend nearly $300 a month on self-care [2], while a separate article by the New York Times, published in 2021, details how a growing number of individuals are spending upwards of $30k a year on their personalised wellness regimes [3].

According to insights firm, Euromonitor, the global market for health and wellness offerings is expected to reach a staggering $815 billion by the end of 2021 [4].

The wellness economy

One of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing industries, the wellness economy, can be contextualised as the “industries that enable consumers to incorporate wellness activities and lifestyles into their daily lives” [3].

The Global Wellness Institute breaks it down into the following 11 categories:

  1. Personal care and beauty
  2. Healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss
  3. Wellness tourism
  4. Fitness/mind-body
  5. Mental wellness
  6. Preventative and personalised medicine and public health
  7. Traditional and complementary medicine
  8. Wellness real estate
  9. Spa economy
  10. Thermal/mineral springs
  11. Workplace wellness

Global wellness economy is a .5 trillion market, shows 11 sub-categories (Click to expand)

Each of these major categories can be further broken down into various subcategories –– something we will explore in more detail later in this course.

Despite the continued growth of wellness, with adjacent industries now viewed through a wellness lens creating new segments, the shared principle remains the same:

The facilitation of proactive, consumer-driven wellness, led by passionate individuals and businesses whose collective mission is to prevent disease, improve health, and enhance individuals’ quality of life.

If you’d like to learn more about the wellness industry, check out the full online course, from Welltodo, below.


[1] What is the Wellness Economy?

[2] The $10 Billion Self-Improvement Market Adjusts to a New Generation

[3] Forget About a Gym. These People Pay Thousands for Personalized Workouts

[4] Wellness Is The New Luxury: Is Healthy And Happy The Future Of Retail?

[5] What is the Wellness Economy?

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