The Massage Therapy Career Focus Workbook


Approach to Wellness — Concept:

We hear a lot of talk these days about wellness models and wellness paradigms. These models or paradigms codify a particular approach for achieving wellness (the words model and paradigm are synonyms, the only difference being is that when something becomes a paradigm the price usually doubles!). Approach to wellness is neither a model nor the higher priced paradigm, it is simply how you believe the esoteric concept of wellness is, can, or should be achieved. For some, wellness is simply a matter of optimal physiological function. Others believe that wellness is a combination of physiology, mind, and spirit. Approach to Wellness addresses this issue of your closely-held beliefs as to the fundamental nature of wellness plus the best route for achieving, maintaining, or enhancing wellness. And yet, as important as one's philosophy of wellness is to their practice, it is often overlooked. But first, some background.

If you sat down and really analyzed this subject you would probably find that every person on earth has their own particular wellness approach. There are, however, three historically preeminent schools of thought on wellness which stand out above all others.

The first (in no particular order) is the Western medical approach to wellness. It is based upon the Greco-Roman traditions and philosophies of Asclepius, Hippocrates, Galen, and the discoveries made during the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. The second is the great wellness tradition of India based upon the principles of Ayurveda. And third, from China, the approach to wellness based upon the concept of Yin and Yang. Add to these major players the ever-growing number of metaphysical, religious, and spirituality-based wellness philosophies and you have a lifetime of interesting reading.

As much as we would like to explore each of these further, we can't. This is a workbook and not a reference book. We must distill all this fascinating complexity down to a more manageable form. To do that, you guessed it, we made another list.

From that list, we identified a pair of wellness approach options that we believe best represent either side of the center point on the vast continuum of wellness approaches (for all our Buddhist and quantum physics friends, you'll be pleased to learn that we believe this continuum to be an endless circle). These are the Whole Client and Structural-Functional approaches to wellness.

Approach to Wellness — Options:

Option 1) Whole Client

This option is based upon the premise that wellness is a function of the overall interplay of a person's physical, intellectual, and spiritual realities. If all these components are functioning harmoniously then the whole state of wellness is greater than the sum of all the healthy parts. Treatment of illness and dysfunction often overlooks the symptoms and looks for the potential sources of such conditions. If you like to take into account all the factors which may be impairing a person's ability to function normally, your approach to wellness is on the whole client side of the continuum.

Option 2) Structural-Functional

If you prefer to isolate and treat specific conditions, taking into account only the specific structures affected, then your approach to wellness would exist on the structural-functional side of the continuum.