The evidence suggests that there are benefits associated with wellness programmes but there are methodological limitations with the current state of studies which prohibit strong conclusions in favour of wellness programmes. Concepts of `holistic health' and `traditional' or `alternative health' care have emerged in the past decade as challenges to conventional medical therapies. Wellness programmes may emerge as adjunctive or complementary modalities in primary care, both for the management of chronic illnesses and for the prevention of debilitating diseases. Although the scientific evidence in the form of randomised controlled trials is not conclusive, there is no doubt that a wide spectrum of `wellness' activities are popular and attracting increased public interest. Further knowledge and understanding of wellness programmes, either as a whole or in their multitude of interventions, is important for primary-care physicians as these programmes may address many psychosocial and spiritual issues in patient care.
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