Spa Terminology: Wellness or Well-being? by Susie Ellis, SpaFinder
Earlier this week I attended the New York Spa Promotion Alliance (NYSPA) conference. This year it was held at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Professor Mary Tabacchi organizes this event every year and despite the unfortunate timing (just days before the Global Spa Summit), I always try to attend because she gets great speakers and I always learn a lot from these interactions.
One of the “pearls of wisdom” I took away this time was as a result of something that Dr. Mark Liponis, Medical Director at Canyon Ranch, said during his remarks on a panel titled ‘Spa to ‘Wellness to Lifestyle.’
The debate came around to terminology (as it often does when the word spa is involved) yet the discussion this time was about the term wellness. Mark mentioned that he doesn’t really like the term wellness and much prefers the term well-being because the ‘being’ part is really important.
Also on the same panel was Perry Garfinkel, a best selling author and regular contributor to the New York Times, National Geographic, etc. He has written a book called Buddha or Bust. Being one of those meditative-types, he too talked about the value of ‘being.’
This issue of Human-Doing versus Human-Being is an important one. And if using the term ‘well-being’ helps drive the ‘being’ point home, maybe we should all use it a bit more.
All that aside, I predict that the term wellness will trump the term well-being in the marketplace because it has become an international term wildly popular in Europe and Asia. Maybe it’s because people in those countries are much better at ‘being’ than many of us in the U.S.
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