The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
In the past, the emphasis has been largely on treating diseases with little emphasis on wellbeing.
In the context of health and wellbeing, it is important to distinguish between treatment and healing, disease and illness and, pain and suffering.
Treatment is usually external and physical, with defined end points and death seen as a failure and avoided at all costs. Healing is internal, addresses the physical, spiritual, emotional and spiritual dimensions, a way of being/becoming whole with death seen as part of the process of life.
Disease is what happens to organs while illness is the meaning given to disease. Pain is a distressing sensation in a particular part of the body while suffering is the meaning given to pain. Illness and suffering is what happens to people.
Recently, there has been a shift towards wellness, dealing with people as people, what their needs are, and how to improve on their current state of well being (whether with disease or not).
The models of medicine have evolved from biomedicine (biomechanical) to biopsychosocialspiritual (mindbodyspirit) and integral medicine (i.e.not integrative medicine). The last based on the remarkable four quadrant model of Ken Wilber, has not gained popularity.
In the field of positive psychology (not positive thinking), Martin Seligman, one of co-founders introduced a new theory of wellbeing consisting of five elements with the acronym PERMA: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment.
Rather than just improving from baseline to normalcy (i.e. crucial when ill), the emphasis is also in increasing one’s level of happiness wherever the baseline may be.