This Illness & Wellness Spectrum model helps illustrate the connection and differences between disease treatment and wellness promotion.1
Allopathic medicine typically treats signs of disease and decline to bring an individual to a neutral point where there are no signs of visible illness. The medical model that relies on the presence or absence of signs of disease to demonstrate wellness is insufficient. Complementary Medicine works on moving individuals further to the right of the Wellness Spectrum as a means of disease prevention and life extension. High-level wellness is much more than the absence of disease. Sub-optimal or declining health is reflected in bodily signs, symptoms of discomfort, lowered energy and fatigue. These indicators predict illness before medical diagnostic confirmation.
Complementary Medicine helps people regain a greater level of wellness so that they can function at their best rather than waiting for their bodies to deteriorate to the point a specific disease appears or is diagnosed and now warrants medical intervention.
1 The Illness-Wellness Continuum was first envisioned by Dr. John Travis in 1972. It was a melding of Dr. Lewis Robbins’ health risk continuum
(the basis of his Health Risk Assessment), Maslow's concept of self-actualization, and the high-level wellness model proposed by Halbert Dunn,
MD, PhD in 1961. The adapted Illness-Wellness Spectrum is attributable to Catherine Carleton-Fitchett, R. Ac, ROHP, who owns the rights to its
reproduction and use.