The History of Wellness and CBD


The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) defines wellness as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. It goes beyond mere freedom from disease or infirmity and emphasizes the proactive maintenance and improvement of health and well-being.”1 That concept dates back to the 1940s. Fast-forward to the 1980s, wellness resurged with a focus almost exclusively on nutrition and exercise. Another theory was developed John W. Travis, M.D., with a new paradigm of wellness that established the 12 dimensions of wellness. The first level addresses the topic of “self-responsibility and love” and then moves to “breathing, sensing, eating, moving, feeling, thinking, playing and working, communicating intimacy, finding meaning and transcending.” The concept of “self-love” as the foundational pillar of wellness resonates with many, especially after the tumultuous 2020. Individuals were seeking alternatives to conventional practices and considering integrative approaches to wellness including: health, diet, nutrition, exercise, movement, stress and sleep, all of which work together to create the ideal homeostasis in the body. One stand-out aspect of wellness was mental wellness over the past year. The GWI reported that mental wellness generated nearly $121 billion in 2020, consisting of self-improvement ($33.6 billion), meditation and mindfulness ($2.9 billion), brain-boosting options ($34.8 billion), senses, spaces and sleep ($49.5 billion).2 As such, the definition and application of wellness is ever-evolving, and consumers are seeking additional segments.

History of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is having a similar resurgence. In the past six years, CBD has gone from unheard of and illegal to on the shelves in many major stores. Like wellness, CBD’s history dates back a millennium. Cannabis/hemp usage dates back 2,500 years to China and is thought to be the oldest cultivated plant.

The medicinal benefits of cannabis were first noted in 4,000 B.C. by Shen Nung, the father of traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The hemp seed is considered to be one of the most nutritional seeds on Earth. In addition, the cannabis/hemp plant is listed as the most beneficial of 10,000 medicinal plants.

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Sherrie Tennessee has almost 20 years of experience in the spa industry including the role of a massage therapist, nail tech, spa owner, speaker, professor, educator and author. She is the founder and education director of SpaSOS. Prior to that, she served as spa director for Mandarin Oriental in Washington D.C. and education manager for Sandals Resorts International-Red Lane Spas.

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