Creating foundations for the Czech Wellness Institute

Shinji Mizumura is one of the first wellness persons I have met when coming to the National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point in 2013. As members of the International group we spent some good time there, meeting each other and sharing the background of our wellness realities through our presentations. The Japanese Wellness Society is one of the oldest wellness organisations globally and every year they hold an annual meeting hosted at different universities across Japan. This year was unique, because they have for the first time opened their door for international speakers. Shinji invited me to share my journey that led to foundation of the Czech Wellness institute. Below I share it with you too.

Following text and video was prepared for the 18th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Wellness Society in September 2021. You can see the slides here

 

The Czech Republic is a country with a population of 10 million persons living in the very centre of Europe. It finds its cultural roots among Slavic and Celtic-Germanic tribes who inhabited the area in the 6th century. Among all the historical events that have passed through Central Europe since the old times until today, Czech people are trying to live their lives to their best. What role plays the wellness concept in the Czech culture? And what did it take to establish the Czech Wellness Institute? 

You can watch the full lecture on YouTube below.

My wellness journey

At the beginning of my own wellness journey was a modern reality, in which wellness is a marketing label for spa & wellbeing services offered mostly in hotels and relaxation centers. Grand was my surprise when I encountered the original Wellness-Illness continuum during my study stay in Denmark. The excitement was transformed into several years of reading everything available online that spoke about the term wellness and resulted in two master theses defended at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. 

This theoretical introduction led to practical discoveries of wellness abroad. In 2013, I first headed to the USA to visit the National Wellness Conference. There I met Shinji Mizumura and his colleagues from the Japanese Wellness Society and many other great wellness persons that inspired and supported my journey. 

The journey continued and took me to Turkey to unravel yet another cultural approach to wellness, and then back to the USA. At University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point I compared my findings from guiding Czech university students through an experiential wellness program. The research question was simple, asking “what is the difference between Czech and American approach to wellness?” 

Bringing wellness back to the Czech Republic

Upon returning to my home Faculty of Sports Science in 2016, the task was to gather all the conceptual background of my work, research results and years of observations and to create a final PhD thesis out of it. With support of colleagues and family, the dissertation was defended in 2018 and led to the foundation of the Czech Wellness Institute in 2020. The term wellness is still foreign to the Czech man, but in its essence it is very close to our “bohemian” way of living a good life - this is now supported by science.

Conclusions

It is my sincere wish that the knowledge I have collected along my wellness journey will serve to the development and growth of the Czech Wellness Institute and inspire others in their wellness pursuits. The task of our organisation will be to take wellness beyond the walls of wellness centers and to connect the helping professions already existing but operating separately. The wellness concept can provide the shared foundations, so the practitioners can learn from one another and together bring truly holistic care to their clients. 

Since the lived reality has been abruptly changed and challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic, more emphasis will need to be put on the mental and overall well being of our people by removing the shame from “I’m not feeling ok” and by providing simple aids that can help one overcome the difficult unpredictable times.

And for me personally, the current wellness task is to bring up a small 1-year-old boy into a healthy young man and to find the right balance between work and family. Is there science for that?

 

Článek napsala Jana Stará


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