The first time my eyes gazed upon the well-stocked aisles of Wholefoods – a candy store for health freaks, excited butterflies caught my stomach. I left the store with non-processed cookies and a 5-ingredient date bar, convinced I was living guilt-free. Today, our wellness obsession extends greater than ‘healthier’ items. We’re desperate to achieve spiritual, mental and physical greatness. But our methods are questionable.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, in 2017, the global wellness economy was worth $4.2 trillion, growing 12.8% from 2015. In the past few years, health has expanded further than diets and body shapes. Focus has shifted to our wellbeing. Relationships, stress and happiness now incorporated. Which sounds fantastic – mental health has always trotted behind the galloping speed of fitness.
How much do we understand however? With our bustling lives and continuous commitments, most of us are looking for a quick fix. We stock up on potions, new diet suggestions and watches that monitor each step. Where is the evidence to prove we need to reach 10,000? What about the research that suggests trackers are beneficial long-term? And eight glasses of water – is that really the case for everyone, regardless of lifestyle? Yet countless apps promise to count eight glasses of water a day for you.
Acting like a doctor
Perhaps due to various press stories reporting doctors failing to correctly diagnose, or hospital bills worldwide and the NHS troubles in the UK, people are treating themselves with holistic remedies. Despite believing in many holistic treatments, without professional guidance, supposed cures can deliver unwanted side-effects. A homemade mask recipe found on YouTube, left my face red and in irritable pain. Online publication The Outline, has produced a piece detailing the truth about popular alternative medicines.
The article explains that in America, homeopathic medications are legally required to state on their packaging that their claims are not backed by scientific evidence. This after the FDA stepped in due to deaths and hospitalisation from homeopathic medication. Before deciding to book a doctor’s appointment, we’re likely to check online and identify our symptoms.
What if we’re not actually ill?
Our wellness obsession grows from our need for improvement. Obesity in the Western World is increasing, while exercise is in decline. As shared recently on my post: Healthy Young Women Can’t Have it all, research suggests we are eating less than we did decades ago, though consuming extra confectionary and junk.
We’re glued to our phones, working longer hours, faced with dangerous stress, plus a lack of time. The wellness industry has influenced us with gadgets and simple supplementary products. A false solution to our problem. My first promotional post on Instagram, involved Skinny Coffee – an everyday drink disguised as a weight-loss saviour. The vitamins and caffeine free marketing appealed. I stopped promoting once the incentives rolled in to lose weight and make a video claiming the coffee helped me shed pounds.
For those living comfortable lives and managing gym sessions along with a balanced diet, a wellness obsession appears from anxious advertising. Middle-class households are sold on the idea that spending extra cash on inventions – unique spa experiences and superfood items, are healing and cleansing their bodies. Anything related to health typically points to high expense.
As The Globe and Mail reports, the most socially disadvantaged people who are statistically more probable to smoke and live in less green areas, are not being treated. It’s healthy affluent citizens buying into wellness and keeping the industry afloat. This whilst the younger generation are copying influencers and celebs by purchasing what they’ve recommended.
The wellness obsession mistake
A New Year inspires us to rid ourselves of Christmas gluttony. People will try every diet under the sun and avoid standard medical advice. Why? Because we organise health in the same manner that we organise work. We want a structured plan, deadlines and vigorous formatting. Thanks to technology, we’re becoming lazy and wanting straightforward plans. And health doesn’t work that way.
It involves knowledge – books to develop understanding on how the minds work, in addition to professional opinion. Biggest of all, health demands willingness. The people who take care of themselves and appreciate meditation, are those who hate the thought of missing a workout. They HAVE to eat nutritious produce, as they cannot stand the side-effects of processed and unhealthy ingredients.
Until you have that interest and actual want for health itself – not just to lose a stone or two, I believe you will forever lose the war. Instead of chucking coconut oil and chia seeds at us – admittedly I consume chia seeds daily, the wellness market needs to figure out how to shift mindsets. And then the industry would stop being worth trillions.
What are your views on the wellness industry? Do you think people are becoming too focus on products and gadgets?