Wellness lifestyles I: A theoretical framework linking wellness, health lifestyles, and complementary and alternative medicine.

Scholarship concerning complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices within the United States could benefit from incorporating sociological perspectives into the development of a comprehensive research agenda. We review the literature on health and wellness emphasizing definitions and distinctions, the health lifestyles literature emphasizing issues of both life choices and life chances, and studies of CAM suggesting utilization as an aspect of a wellness lifestyle. This review forms the foundation of a new theoretical framework for CAM research based on the interrelationship of CAM with health promotion, wellness, and health lifestyles. To date, few studies have sought to bring these various elements together into a single, comprehensive model that would enable an assessment of the complexity of individual health and wellness in the context of CAM. We argue that attention to literatures on health measurement and health lifestyles are essential for exploring the effectiveness and continuing use of CAM.