Wellness Glossary

The following are general terms. For more definitions, check my separate glossaries for Diseases, Toxins, Food Items, Natural Medicine, and Tuleina.

Wellness – the natural, joyful state of being, free of illness (whether physical, mental or emotional).

Wellness has been defined by the National Wellness Association as “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence.”

Adrenal Glands

Small glands located on the kidneys that produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.


The eight foods responsible for more than 90% of allergic food reactions are: cow’s milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat).

Amino Acid

The building blocks from which proteins are constructed. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be manufactured by the body and must be attained from food. Non-essential amino acids are those that the body can create from other amino acids.


Medicines that are used to relieve pain – Tylenol (acetamenophen) and aspirin are two syntheric examples. Cannabis and opium are two natural options.


Atioxidants aren’t anti-oxygen… they’re anti-oxidation. Oxidation is a process by which molecules lose electrons—often to an oxygen molecule. It’s what happens when iron rusts, and when an apple turns brown. Inside your body, electron-deprived molecules called free radicals are ready to react with oxygen unless an antioxidant steps in to block the oxidation, turning the free radicals back into normal cells.

Your body can create its own antioxidants but that isn’t enough. The good news is that antioxidants occur naturally in all sorts of foods, including fruits and veggies, nuts, wine, chocolate, and even beef. Different antioxidants counter the effects of free radicals in different ways. Isothiocyanates, found in broccoli, zero in on pollutants like nicotine and smog and may help prevent them from causing cancer. Vitamin C can block free radicals from causing uncontrolled cell division that leads to tumors. Selenium fires up the genes cells need to break down carcinogens. Take a look at the foods that contain these defenders (see below), and it becomes clear that eating a wide variety of healthy food is a key strategy for gaining the widest spectrum of protection.

Some famous and powerful antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, isothiocyanates, polyphenols and carotenoids including vitamin A, lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene. (See my glossary of natural medicine)

Whenever possible, get your antioxidants from food rather than supplements. Nutrients tend to work together synergistically, so taking each item separately will have a reduced benefit. And, according to Dr. David Agus, taking megadoses of certain supplements may be dangerous.

According to a study by The Organic Center, organic produce holds more antioxidants than food from chemical farms. Dark-colored produce, including figs, grapes, plums, blackberries, eggplant, and even deeply hued carrots and corn—is loaded with anthocyanins, pigments that may prevent heart disease and cancer-causing inflammation. The nutrients can even slow the growth of colon cancer cells, according to new research from Ohio State University. Other anthocyanin sources include black beans, wild rice, and currants.Research shows that green tea protects against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis, and it increases your fat-fighting metabolism. According to the American Dietetic Association, green tea’s curative powers come mostly from an antioxidant called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Four cups of tea a day provides maximum protection. Cooked tomatoes are packed with the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, a great skin protector that limits sun damage to lower the risk of skin cancer and fend off wrinkles.

Autonomic nervous system

The part of the nervous system that is responsible for controlling the involuntary functions in the body, such as digestion, metabolism, blood pressure, etc.


Belief– a doubt or uncertainty. Strong beliefs are mental blockages that impede consciousness.

Webster’s definition of belief denotes trust, confidence and faith:

1: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2: something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
3: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
But Webster’s definition incorrectly ignores the implication of doubt. Compare the statement “I believe that it will rain tomorrow” to “I know that it is raining”. The word “believe” elegantly hides the speaker’s uncertainty. The statement could be re-written “I am unsure whether or not it will rain tomorrow”, which may sound less impressive, but it is more honest.

Body mass index (BMI)

A measure of body weight relative to height. A BMI of 18.5-25 is considered healthy. A BMI of 25-30 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obesity.

Bodymind – your soul’s vehicle and its sensations. Body is the vehicle and mind is its sensations. The two are inseparable.



A general term that relates to a wide variety of hands-on therapies, such as massage and some movement therapies.

Brain – the brain is part of the body and part of the mind because it is an organ, and it has sensation. This organ is responsable for calculating and decision-making and should be rested when not in use. Resting the brain does not mean that it will no longer perform the tasks needed to keep you alive. It simply means that it is not required to think, calculate or judge every element that is perceived by the 5 notorious senses. Observing without judgement is an excellent way to rest the brain, such that it is fresh when you most need it for important decisions.


A mineral important in building and maintaining bones, and for muscle and nerve function. The best food sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and mustard leaves. Contrary to popular belief, dairy products are not the best way to obtain dietary calcium, and neither is supplementation. For those suffering an apparent shortage of calcium, it is wise to check the vitamin D level (since vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption) and also check for magnesium, which is as important as calcium but harder to get from food.


A unit of energy in food. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. Proteins have 4 calories per gram. Fat has 9 calories per gram.


Because of bad advice given by the USDA, many people consume carbohydrates as a majority of their total food intake. Carbs are considered a good source of energy, but this view is currently being replaced by the more accurate view that places carbohydrates as the absolute worst way to get energy. Carbohydrates are divided into two categories: simple carbohydrates (tiny molecules that taste sweet) and complex carbohydrates (larger molecules that have no sweetness but are otherwise just as harmful). Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. After consuming carbs (whether simple or complex) the blood sugar spikes dramatically, creating the need for an immediate surge of insulin. The insulin prevents sudden death but over time leads to diabetes, obesity, alzeimer’s and cancer.


A fat-like substance that is essential for proper health. It is made by the body and is also found naturally in animal foods. Some people believe that having too much cholesterol is dangerous, because some heart attack victims had their arteries blocked by cholesterol. In fact if the cholesterol were not there from the beginning, the patient would have died much sooner. The cholesterol repaired the damaged blood vessels, allowing the person to continue living. Unfortunately, if the person continues damaging her blood vessels, cholesterol will continue to patch and repair until eventually the blood vessel becomes blocked. This is not a reason to avoid cholesterol. Instead, find the root cause of the problem and make the necessary changes.

Complementary Medicine

The use of various natural means of treatment together, without drugs or surgery.

Consciousness – knowing, beyond the intellectual. Consciousness is the cure for suffering. Full consciousness is the absence of ignorance. Only God (all-knowing) has full consciousness. But we are made in God’s image.


A hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. It facilitates fat storage and has a catabolic affect on muscle and connective tissue.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy

A manual therapy focusing on manipulation of the bones in the skull and sacrum.

Daily Values (DV)

Standard values developed by the FDA and USDA for food labels to help consumers assess food value. It is an estimate of how much of a nutrient is needed per day.

Emotion – Energy in Motion. When energy moves correctly, wellness is achieved.


Chemical messengers released by the body during vigorous exercise that stimulate the brain to feel good, happy and relaxed.


A band of connective tissue separating muscles and organs in the body.


A major source of energy in the diet. All food fats have 9 calories per gram. Fat helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, and carotenoids. Some kinds of fats, especially animal fats may increase the risk for heart disease. Healthy fats like those found in coconuts and coconut oil, olives and olive oil, almonds and other nuts and avocados, are all much healthier means of getting enery than eating carbohydrates. The term “saturated fat” has a terrible reputation because most saturated fats are indeed harmful (animal lard). But coconut oil is a saturated fat, and consuming it will actually help you to lose weight and has been linked to the reversal of alzeimer’s disease.


Free Radicals – Free radicals are desperate to regain the electrons they’ve lost and they are liable to wreak all kinds of havoc including accelerated aging, cancer, heart disease, and cataracts. Your body produces free radicals when stress hormones are released, and you will inevitably take in some from the environment too, including air pollution, chemicals in our food and household cleaning products.


A building block for most carbohydrates. Digestion causes carbohydrates to break down into glucose. After digestion, glucose is carried in the blood and goes to body cells where it is used for energy or stored.

Gluten – a type of protein found in all grains. Many packaged foods labeled ‘gluten free’ ignore this fact. Gluten gives the elastic, bouncy texture to bread.  Dr. Peter Osborne explains in detail.

Gluten Sensitivity – an adverse reaction to gluten. Gluten sensitivity is in itself not a disease but it causes cancer, asthma, depression, thyroid disease, arthritis, migraines, skin inflammation, and approximately 190 other diseases. Symptoms often disappear quickly if gluten is stopped completely. Source: Dr Peter Osborne

Glycemic index

A measure of a food’s ability to raise the body’s blood glucose level. Foods that have a low glycemic index do not raise blood glucose levels to nearly the extent of high glycemic index foods. The natural herb stevia is known to be about 1000 times sweeter than sugar, but without affecting the blood glucose level at all.

Health – a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity – (World Health Organization, 1946)

High-density lipoprotein (HDL)

HDL is often called “good cholesterol” but it is not cholesterol at all. It is in fact a protein that transports cholesterol.


A small area of the brain that is a main control center for regulating eating and sleeping behavior in humans. It has binding sites for several hormones including ghrelin and leptin.

Ignorance – a temporary lapse in consciousness. (Webster: the state or fact of being ignorant: lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.)

Illness – a physical, mental or emotional blockage or deviation from wellness. May be fatal if not cured in time.


A pathologic process associated with redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function. This process destroys tissues but is also associated with the repair and healing of body structures.


A hormone produced by the small intestine that signals the brain to stop eating. People who are overweight will often have a diminished leptin response in the brain.

Love – the foremost emotion. To love creates joy in the giver (always) and the receiver (often). One may achieve permanent happiness by choosing to love, always. Waiting to receive love results in suffering.


1: ‘strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties’…
2: ‘attraction based on sexual desire’
3: ‘affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests’
4: ‘warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion’
5: ‘the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration love’
6: ‘unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another’

For more on love, see this page.


Macrobiotics – the science that recognizes the energy, or chi, in foods as the energy that sustains us, rather than the chemical constituents of the food. Processed and refined foods have no chi and highly stimulating spices activate the organs in undesirable ways.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetic radio frequency energy used to see internal structures of the body, including bone, discs, and nerves without the use of x-rays. Useful in the investigation of spinal abnormalities.


A general term for numerous practices where one deeply observes the present moment. Since the breath accompanies us from birth to death and emanates from the center of the body, many people begin to meditate by focusing on the breath.

MIND is anywhere you have sensation, therefore your entire body makes up the densest part of your mind. You can therefore heal your mind by healing the body. You can also relax the mind with music, touch, aromatherapy and other things that soothe you. The mind should not be confused with the brain.

Mental – that which deals with the 5 notorious senses and the brain, which are inseparable from the physical.


1a : of or relating to the mind; specifically : of or relating to the total emotional and intellectual response of an individual to external reality < mental health>
b : of or relating to intellectual as contrasted with emotional activity
c : of, relating to, or being intellectual as contrasted with overt physical activity
d : occurring or experienced in the mind : inner < mental anguish>
e : relating to the mind, its activity, or its products as an object of study : ideological
f : relating to spirit or idea as opposed to matter

2a (1) : of, relating to, or affected by a psychiatric disorder mental patient> (2) : mentally disordered : mad, crazy

b : intended for the care or treatment of persons affected by psychiatric disorders < mental hospitals>
3: of or relating to telepathic or mind-reading powers


Myofascial Release

Releasing the fascia (the sheath around a muscle) by gentle movements.


A systen of pressure points that can be used to alleviate pain without medication.


PET scan – positron emission tomography – a medical imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image of functional processes in the body. A tracer is introduced into the body on a biologically-active molecule such as FDG, an analogue of glucose. A computer system then constructs three-dimensional images of the tracer concentrations within the body, which may indicate metabolic activity consistent with cancer metastasis.

Physical – that which obeys the laws of physics, including the human body and its 5 notorious senses.


1a : of or relating to natural science

 b (1) : of or relating to physics (2) : characterized or produced by the forces and operations of physics

2a : having material existence : perceptible especially through the senses and subject to the laws of nature physical is measurable by weight, motion, and resistance — Thomas De Quincey>

 b : of or relating to material things
3a : of or relating to the body < physical abuse>
b (1) : concerned or preoccupied with the body and its needs : carnal < physical appetites>
(2) : sexual physical love affair> < physical attraction>
 c : characterized by especially rugged and forceful physical activity : rough physical hockey game> physical player>

Radiation – a common treatment for cancer that can cause cancer.

SAD – Standard American Diet, consisting of highly-processed carbohydrates, non-organic, homone-fed animal products, hydrogenated oils and plenty of sweet beverages. The Standard American Diet leads to obesity, diabetes, cancer and mental disorders.

Soul – If “bodymind” is the vehicle, the soul is the driver. Healing the bodymind will raise your spiritual consciousness.

The 5 Notorious Senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, all “external” things beyond our control. Craving something beyond one’s control leads to suffering. Loving all that comes leads to joy.

Suffering – the absence of joy, caused by ignorance.


1: the state or experience of one that suffers
2: pain

Wellness – the natural, joyful state of being, free of illness (whether physical, mental or emotional).

Wellness has been defined by the National Wellness Association as “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence.”