What Is the Holistic Wellness Triangle?

holistic health concept - woman doing yoga on beach at dusk

Wellness isn’t just about being physically healthy. You may be in peak physical condition, but if your emotional and social health is lagging behind, you are not in good health. And if this is the case, your wellness in these other areas will eventually catch up with you and impact your physical health negatively.


To truly be well, you need to be balanced in 3 areas, what health experts call the holistic wellness triangle. Today, these areas are often categorized as physical, mental, and social health. Another popular model incorporates the spirit. And then there’s the ZYTO model, which integrates the emotions and energy.


Social, mental, and physical wellness

Probably the most popular model of holistic health looks at the 3 sides of the triangle as physical, mental, and social. Physical health includes diet and lifestyle. There are two sides to this coin. One is eating healthy and exercising regularly. On the other side, there’s avoiding destructive lifestyle habits such as drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.


Another side of this triangle is mental health. Healthy mental behaviors include dealing with stress in a positive way, accepting yourself, expressing yourself, and facing life’s problems. Mental stress is actually stored energetically in the body and if left unaddressed, can lead to significant physical problems.


The third side is social health. A key component of this side of the triangle is establishing and maintaining healthy relationships in which you can both get and give support when needed. Social wellness encompasses your friends, family, and basically anyone else you interact with.1


Mind, body, and spirit wellness

health = mind, body, & spirit

Some social, mental, and physical wellness triangle models lump the spiritual side of health in with the social component. However, rather than placing the spirit component within the social side of the triangle, the mind, body, and spirit model emphasizes the spiritual.


A key component of spiritual wellness is feeling like you have a purpose in life and being connected to a higher power, as well as with others. It also has to do with your beliefs and values and how you put them into action. Thus, this perspective often incorporates the concepts of chakras and yin and yang. Chakras in the body are said to be “areas of physical manifestation of the spiritual realm.” It is also believed that the mind is positioned between yin and yang because it fits into both spirit and physical realms.2


Along with the physical connecting to the spiritual, there is also a connection between the body and mind in this model as well as between the mind and spirit. Carl Jung called the mind-spirit connection “Collective Unconscious” because it consists of universal instincts and archetypes that we all have in common.3


ZYTO’s 3 perspectives on holistic wellness

Similar to the physical-mental-social and mind-body-spirit models, ZYTO also looks at wellness as 3 equal sides forming a triangle. We categorize these areas of wellness as physical, emotional, and energetic. Physical, of course, has to do with the body—its structure and function, which includes the parts of the body and how they interact with and affect each other.


Similar to the other models, the emotional side encompasses concepts such as self-acceptance, self-esteem, and confronting challenges. It also includes perceptions, which greatly influence our emotional and overall health.


The energetic side of the triangle may be compared to both the spiritual and social side of the other triangular models. It deals with the body’s universal energy. This part of your body is influenced by the external environment and sources of energy. Approaching health from this perspective is very effective because the state of the body’s energetic field is often a precursor to what manifests in the body physically and emotionally later on.


Whatever model of holistic health you ascribe to, the goal is always the same. It’s all about looking at the body as a whole and addressing key areas that require attention to restore balance. We feel that looking at the individual from these 3 perspectives offers the best opportunity for success.

Dr. Vaughn Cook ZYTOAbout Dr. Vaughn Cook
Dr. Vaughn R Cook is the Founder & CEO of ZYTO. An Oriental Medical Doctor (OMD) and licensed acupuncturist, he has worked in the complementary and alternative medical field for more than 30 years, specializing in applications that integrate Western and Eastern medicine.


1. Boyd, Christine. “The Wellness Triangle.” LinkedIn. Slideshare.com.

2. “The Triangle Explained.” The SHINE on Health. Theshineonhealth.com.

3. “Collective Unconscious.” Wikpedia. En.wikipedia.org.


The information provided in this article is intended to improve, not replace, the direct relationship between the client (or site visitor) and healthcare professionals.

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