The Wellness Society is rooted in the mutual interest in fitness wellness, psychological wellness and familial wellness of two siblings: Michael James Cianelli Fair and Sharon Elayne Cianelli Fair. (Pictured together in 1980)
Although neither had heard of the concept of the physical, mental and social triad of health - which had been defined in 1947 by the World Health Organization (WHO), nor the term wellness - which had been coined in 1961 by Halbert Dunn, MD, PhD - the siblings appreciated that exercise should be pursued because of the positive effects it promotes - rather than to "win" a competition; happiness should be in the here and now (a concept known as FLOW); spending time with family should be a priority; and humans, as the enlightened species, are responsible for the good in this world - to include the ethical treatment of animals.
In 1978, Sharon and Michael moved to Orlando, FL - a city quite different from their hometown of Havre de Grace, MD. While Sharon continued her collegiate studies including English literature, writing, psychology, and the philosophies of Plato, Nietzsche, and others; Michael self-studied Zen philosophy, including the concept of yin and yang, and Carlos Castaneda. In 1980, Sharon relocated to St. Petersburg, FL to compete her undergraduate education and Michael set out to become a Green Beret - and was one of the "3 of 100" men who succeeded !
After graduating with a Bachelor's degree "with distinction" from the University of South Florida in 1981, Sharon registered "Florida Fitness" as a health business entity in the state of Florida. The goal of the siblings was to expand the scope of the organization upon Michael's discharge from the military.
Sadly, the siblings' joint journey ended when, in 1983, Michael was killed in Morocco while serving the USA in their early efforts to train and assist the Moroccan military to eradicate middle eastern terrorist groups. According to some sources, these early middle eastern groups are linked to the terrorists responsible for the 911 attack.
Upon the tragic death of her brother, Sharon turned to fitness wellness as a means to cope with her grief. In 1984, she obtained certification from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and began to offer small group fitness seminars and personal training. Upon gaining additional experience and credentials (including a Master of Science in nutrition and exercise science from the City University of New York - Queens College, a B.S. in physical therapy from the University of Maryland Medical School, a Doctorate in psychology (PsyD) from California Southern University, and a PhD in education from Capella University), she transitioned Florida Fitness into the nonprofit organization Wellness Society.
The Wellness Society has facilitated the writing and publication of Wellness and Holistic Physical Therapy, 2nd and 3rd editions. It also sponsors continuing education seminars for physical therapists.