Behold Wellness

Consumer Choice: Wellness Is Easy, Healthcare Is Hard

The booming wellness industry is having quite a run in the news this week. It started with a lengthy examination of Gwyneth Paltrow’s business of monetizing empty wellness claims. Then, we learned that UNC is teaching some startling wellness concepts to all of its undergraduates. Cancer, dementia, and obesity (of course) are simply diseases of choice.  Wellness is easy, they learn.

Wellness is a four trillion dollar global industry, unencumbered by the nuisance of hard research on outcomes. Feeling good is good enough.

Filling a Spiritual Void?

Infographic: Treating Ourselves with ExperiencesWriting in Quartz, Sara Wilson says that wellness has become our new religion. It’s filling a void as people have drifted away from traditional faith practices. She says:

In place of religion, we now have spirituality (or pseudo-spirituality). Instead of church, we do elaborate #selfcaresunday rituals. We get baptized at Burning Man. We pay tithings to yoga studios. Wellness has in many ways become our new religion, with practitioners, instructors, and coaches its priests, imams, and rabbis. (Soul Cycle, anyone?)

Consuming Experiences

Trend spotters tell us that consumers now favor experiences over things. People feel guilty about spending money on physical possessions. But on experiences? Not so much, according to research from Eventbrite. Of course, they sell tickets for big event experiences. Take your grain of salt.

Expanding on this, the Guardian describes how we’re turning our backs on stuff. Because of that, the experience economy is booming.

Feeling the Outcome

So if you’re peddling a wellness experience, the odds are stacked in your favor. Make sure your customers feel good and that’s enough to say you’ve enhanced their wellness. Who wouldn’t feel good after an emotional detox bath soak? For $35 (plus tax and fees), this experience can be yours. The outcomes are soft and they feel great.

By comparison, the seven trillion dollar healthcare industry is a lot harder. People’s lives are on the line. Regulators want hard data and real outcomes. Randomized controlled studies must back up the claims you make. It’s all very challenging. “These claims have not been evaluated . . .” just doesn’t cut it. The wellness trade is much simpler.

Wellness charlatans can sell their “experiences” so easily for only one reason. We’re buying.

Click here and here for further perspective from the New York Times.

Behold Wellness, photograph by / flickr

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August 4, 2018