Wellness vs. Well-being: Do You Know the Difference?


As a spa professional, you probably hear the terms well-being and wellness used a lot, often interchangeably. Most people assume these terms mean the same thing, and use them as such, but they have different meanings in modern society and its spa industry, according to Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute.

In a recent blog post, Ellis broke it down to wellness equating health and well-being equating happiness.

Wellness = Health, Well-being = Happiness

Ellis noted that the term wellness joined the spa-related conversation in Germany when Brenners Park Hotel added the words “and Spa” to their name and preventing any other businesses in that country from using the word “spa.” As a result, the word “wellness” emerged as a close match. Since that time, and as the term moved westward, it has been adopted by medical facilities, governments and businesses to describe the preservation of health and prevention of its deterioration.

When it comes to well-being, Ellis added that there is an "increasing momentum in measuring happiness around the world and the importance happiness is being given in many of the well-being indexes and scores that are being referenced." Currently, the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index and the United Nations World Happiness Index are the two most often referenced.

So moving forward, let's all be on the same page when it comes to these two terms for better clarity and communication.

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