Wellness | 18 Jun, 2021

History of Wellness and How We can Honor it

by Christina Almeida

Wellness does not exist in a vacuum. Long before this trendy word became a billion-dollar industry, ancient cultures were practicing wellness and laying the foundation for many of the rituals and ideologies that we know today.  At Pildora, we believe that it’s important to honor the history of wellness and those who continue to practice ancestral wellness rituals today. So, how can we do that?

Learn the history 

If you’re going to be a part of a wellness practice, understanding its roots and history is a great introduction into your engagement. When you understand where your practice came from you can understand how to do the work, today, to properly honor it. 

Dating from 3,000-1,500 BC, Ayurveda originated as an oral tradition that was later recorded in the Vedas, the sacred Hindu texts. Ayurveda is a holistic system that aims to create harmony between mind, body and spirit, and is tailored to each person with the aim to maintain balance and prevent illness. Today, yoga and meditation (two pillars of Ayurveda) are practiced all around the world. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture, herbal medicine, and Qi practices date back to 3,000 – 2,000 BC and is one of the world’s oldest medical practices. Much like Ayurveda, TCM applies a 360 approach to maintaining harmony in the body.  Influenced by Taoism and Buddhism, TCM is also an intrinsically spiritual practice. 

While this article can’t begin to cover the histories of each wellness practice, the key takeaway is to ask questions and do your research about the origins of your practice. By doing this, we can begin to move through our practice responsibly and with intention. 

Practicing responsible wellness 

Whatever aspect of wellness you decide to embark on, it’s important to do so responsibly. This means many things, but first and foremost it means learning from members of the community from which your practice originates. Prioritize materially supporting those whose ancestors have practiced yoga, acupuncture, herbal medicine, smudging, etc. If you’re going to buy a dream catcher, seek out a native artist to buy from. 

Giving your money to people who have no stake in the culture, contributes to an uneven power dynamic that allows only certain people to profit off wellness practices. Moving responsibly means learning and supporting with intention. If someone you trust tells you that your actions are culturally appropriating or harmful, listen. 

Buy from BIPOC wellness brands!

Supporting people of color in wellness spaces is key to practicing responsible wellness. We’ve curated a page dedicated to our BIPOC brands, so that this is easier than ever. All of these incredible brands need to be in your arsenal of wellness, ASAP! 

 Qi, meaning life-force, is an integral part of holistic healing. It is believed that Qi is most present in blossoming flowers. Founder Lisa Li harnesses the healing power of Qi through a blooming flower in her company –  The Qi’s tea. Golde is a Black owned business on a mission to make wellness easy, accessible and fun for all. Part of that means their products are made with superfoods ONLY, no confusing ingredients lists! Ayni is a Latinx-owned brand founded by Juan and Eugenia. With ethically sourced ingredients from South America, their goal is to create clean plant-based blends to supplement one’s well-being while sharing South America’s cultural heritage. Peak and Valley, a Black owned business, employs a blend of herbs and mushrooms like reishi and ashwagandha to balance the body’s reaction to stress while supporting immune functions, brain health, and skin complexion.

Learning the history of wellness would mean nothing if we did not use that knowledge to properly respect individuals operating in today’s wellness space. We hope that this article helped bring some intention and awareness to your practice!