Extract from the Philosophical-Musing section of the book Energetic Skincare, Naturally, by Jon Canas. The book can be downloaded as an e-book on www.Energetic-Skincare.com It will be available in print in September 2010.

Wellness is a sustained state of well-being—feeling good—consciously experienced. It is an absence of symptoms of physical, emotional, and mental disease. Wellness contributes to a state of peace and contentment.
Health, as conventionally defined, is a component of wellness. It is a necessary condition, but it is not sufficient. There is more to wellness than physical health or temporary relaxation.
How can wellness—such a desirable state—be achieved and maintained? A better understanding of wellness is required in order to outline strategies to achieve and maintain it.
Energy medicine and ancient philosophies concerning the nature of humankind are more useful than modern medicine and psychology when it comes to understanding the components of wellness. That is because of the modern trends toward endless specialization in the various fields of science, at the expense of the holistic views that prevailed at an earlier time. Nevertheless, a number of modern men of science and medicine have embraced, as well as contributed to, the field of energy medicine, amplified by findings in quantum physics. Writings from many contemporaries, such as Robert Becker, M.D., Richard Gerber, M.D., Deepak Chopra, M.D. and Amit Goswami, Ph.D. are most useful in creating a paradigm for a modern view of wellness.
The Five Element theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a cousin of Ayurvedic Medicine, is a holistic explanation of the physical as well as of the psychological inner workings of humans. Yet, one needs to go even further to more fully understand the nature of man. Without consideration for our spiritual dimension, any definition of wellness is partial and our paradigm remains incomplete. This dimension is found in the mystical interpretation of the great spiritual teachers in both Eastern and Western traditions. But, because most people will not, or cannot, embrace this more elevated view, we need to break down the route to wellness into two major stages. They are useful in formulating a vision and strategy in the creation of an authentic Wellness Center.

First stage: Alignment of the mental and physical beings
All energy medicines share a primary objective of preventing disease and promoting one’s full vital potential, in contrast to conventional medicine, which is focused on fixing problems. Consequently, energy medicines naturally contribute to achieve a greater sense of wellness.
A major premise of energy medicines is that the body is not simply matter—solids and fluids—but energy, as well. I am not talking about the endless energetic reactions stemming from the various chemical activities within the body, but from a constant and systematic flow of “vital energy”. In Ayurveda as well as in yoga, it is called prana, and for the Chinese, it is chi. The flow of vital energy is present at the earliest stage of the embryo. It provides the blueprint of specialization of cells while positioning them in their respective place and with their proper function expressed by specific vibrations. Chi is not only vital because of its energy but also because of its transmission of information.
Energy medicine dictates that there must be a balance in the flow of vital energy, both in terms of quantity and of quality. But, energy is affected not only by what we do, what we eat and drink, but also by what we think and feel. Consequently, since energy is a critical element of the health of an individual, what anyone believes, thinks and feels affects his/her state of health and of wellness. It follows that the first stage in achieving results toward wellness has to start with the relationship between our physical health, our emotional health, and our mental activity—including thoughts and beliefs.
The Five Element theory of TCM conceptualizes particularly well the inter-relationship of all aspects and activities of humans—nothing happens in isolation. Everything has an effect on other parts, be they physical, psychological, or mental. As a result, what we think, believe, feel, and do impacts all facets of our being like an echo bouncing back and forth.
Wellness centers have the opportunity to become places where people are coached to learn about themselves, in ways that have generally been denied them. The purpose is to help them discover how they can holistically improve their life. Often, people undertake self-improvement programs that focus on narrow areas of interest, without creating the balance required to improve their state of wellness.
Holistic improvements are best achieved when a coaching staff works from a common methodology. A coordinated effort and a shared approach amongst various practitioners create a philosophy that defines the wellness center, or spa. Wellness centers offer different modalities supportive of mind-body alignment. Each modality should be supportive of the others and have a synergistic effect. A massage for the sake of relaxation can also incorporate techniques and products that enhance energetic balance. A facial can include a reflexology modality that rebalances all five energies. A Tai Chi class should not simply have a physical objective; it should equally emphasize vital-energy flow and also be practiced as meditation in motion. The multiple effects, or by-products, of treatments or activities create a synergy that comes from applying a common methodology to all aspects of the personalized program designed for each client.

Second Stage: Alignment of Spirit, Mind and Body
Although achievements pertaining to the first stage are very productive, and most adapted to the level of the greatest amount of people in search of wellness, it is nevertheless incomplete. There is a deeper dimension to our being that needs to be included for more complete and lasting wellness. This aspect, call it spiritual if you want, exists outside of religious beliefs and can be found also in atheists and agnostics.
Energy medicine supported by ancient holistic philosophies knows that just as there are generally invisible energy fields surrounding the physical body (the ethereal, the emotional, and the mental), there is also an outer spiritual field that envelops the whole. It is called the “causal” field, because it is intended to be cause over all other aspects of our being (that are effects).
The human experience reflects the sequence through which we discover ourselves and the world: Learning first about and through the body, then our emotions and later our intellect, never going beyond, for most humans. It is insufficient if we subscribe to the notion that our spirit has primacy, even dominion, over all other aspects of our being. Our spiritual self projects an energy field that directs and maintains the harmony of the other fields only when we have a conscious awareness of it. Its most direct effect is intended to be on the mental, which in turn should control the emotional, the ethereal and finally, the physical. That alignment is the highest wellness goal.
The perfect integration from spirit to the material body is extremely rare, yet possible. It is exemplified by the white or golden aura depicted by artists to convey the perfection of spiritual masters. Auras are generally visible only to the few that have that special gift, who are attuned.
Wellness and wisdom are intertwined and wisdom is expected to be gained with age. Ultimately, for those of a certain age, wellness requires an acceptance of the cycle of life with death as its natural conclusion. Acceptance and surrender become part of our emotional, mental, and spiritual evolution. It is a precondition to maintaining wellness for older people.

Wellness centers have the vocation to be learning centers where we can gain knowledge about ourselves, from the physical to the spiritual, and where we are taught how to live from the spiritual to the physical. That is achievable even with those who do not believe in any God, but who have an openness of mind regarding a dimension of humans existing beyond the mental and physical. Clearly, not everyone is ready for this, which is a good thing because there would not be enough teachers to go around. Yet, it is not too early to get started!
At the first stage, there must be the awareness that our life experience and our state of wellness are products of what we do, what we feel and what we think. We can develop ways to achieve greater control over our body and emotions. Physical activities are selected to create or enhance awareness in the moment, as attention and energy flow through the body. Meditation helps the process of inner self-discovery and achievement of greater dominion over body and mind.
At the second level, deeper practice of meditation reveals that we are not simply our body, emotions, and mind activity, anymore than we are defined by our title, financial capacity, or the size of our house. We discover a new connection, a higher spiritual dimension from which all else depends. This revelation initiates a shift from a life centered on our body-mind entity ensconced in our particular life-situation to a vision of our unique identity as a state of consciousness that we can elevate by the decisions we are willing to make and live by. It becomes clearer that our ego is not who we really are, but a make-believe sense of self that represents an obstacle in achieving higher levels of wellness, wisdom, and peace.
Achievement at the second level would appear to be contrary to where we started when we embarked on our wellness search with a great emphasis on how we look and feel. But, by then, it should become clear that from this new state of consciousness, we enjoy greater ease at maintaining our body, emotions and thoughts in a state of harmony, of true wellness.

Author's Bio: 

Jon Canas is the author of Energetic Skincare, Naturally (www.energetic-skincare.com). It explains how to apply the principles of energy medicine to achieve superior results with spa treatments and skincare regimentation at home. He is a contributing author to the authoritative Milady’s Standard Esthetics Advanced Textbook. He has authored over a dozen trade articles for the spa industry. He is a frequent speaker at Beauty & Spa trade shows and conferences.

Jon canas is also president of the Swiss company, Laboratoire Gibro S.A. exclusive manufacturer of the energetic skincare line PHYTO 5®, based on the unique wellness method known as Phytobiodermie® (www.Phytobiodermie.com). He is president of Phyto Distribution Inc, the Florida based company distributing PHYTO 5® products in the US.

Originally from France, Jon went to Cornell University, Northeastern and Harvard. His first career was in the hotel industry: he was a V.P. of Sheraton and C.E.O. of Omni Hotels. His home is in Central Florida.