40 years ago—Raconteur shares—The National Wellness Institute defined wellness as an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices towards, a more successful existence. What was once considered to be a lifestyle transformation in which people take personal responsibility for their actions has evolved into a colossal $3.7 trillion industry that has taken the word “wellness” hostage.
Companies founded by white wealthy thin celebrities (e.g., Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop) are backed by pseudoscientific nonsense. Goop suggests inserting $55 jade stones into your vagina at a time when the most basic of health care is denied to many US citizens and millions are at risk of losing coverage. And while there are elements with proven benefits backed by hard science that predate outlandish trends, such as yoga and meditation, it is difficult to not grow cynical.
Yet Raconteur highlights that the issue is not in the products or practices themselves, but in the lack of regulation around wellness and the dysfunctional thinking that underpins the marketing. “Rather than encourage or champion our innate desire to self-improve, the drive behind wellness hinges on fear of the unwell,” they write. Yes there is fear—and rightly so—of carcinogens and known endocrine disruptors lurking in personal care products, but the fear of being fat surpasses all. Glancing at an Instagram feed filled with shots of perfectly posed bikini-clad yogis and six-pack ab gym selfies confirms the undeniable fact that well has become synonymous with thin.
“Wellness has become a member’s club built on social standing, privilege and, above all, beauty. Card-carrying members have to conform to a physical ideal to gain access, strict criteria that nullifies the very principles on which the movement was founded, and perpetuates dysmorphia,” concludes Raconteur. These are the people who purchase over-priced stones for their yonis in the name of “wellness.” It is time we took back the word.
To read more about why wellness is not always a healthy choice, go to Raconteur.
Photo: Scott Rodgerson via Unsplash