IS THE WELLNESS INDUSTRY JUST A LOAD OF ‘GOOP?’

Saturday June 13th is designated Global Wellness Day.  Do we need another “international day” in our lives right now?

With the slogan “one day can change your whole life,” www.globalwellnessday.org is a not-for-profit event designed to get participants to ponder, even if for just one day, how they can live a healthier and better life, and to direct the thoughts of individuals and society towards living well.

In the run up to this day, you may ask “What does global wellness actually mean, and is it just a load of ‘goop’?” – to take the name of Gwyneth Paltrow’s global empire in vain.

Following Paltrow’s ‘wellness summit’ in London last summer, Eva Wiseman, Health and Beauty Columnist of The Guardian was excited to see its attendees, who had paid £4500 on weekend tickets, rebel. In her article she wrote;

It’s hard to fight miraculous cures to nebulous problems with dull, un-photogenic but science-based solutions.  But for every new wellness fad – activated charcoal, pink salt, placenta smoothies – there is a noisy, science-based argument debunking it, and increased responsibility from trusted institutions who understand more care is required when representing magical thinking and its premier philosophers.”

It’s understandable with its sometimes-high prices, questionable claims, and cult of personality, that the wellness industry can appear to be, at best, hippy-dippy and, at worst, a complete scam. However, the contribution to a healthy lifestyle of the five genuine cornerstones of wellness is well-documented.  With plenty of scientific studies to back them up, who could argue with the proven benefits of exercise, a healthy diet, a good night’s sleep, a sense of community, and stress reduction?

Now, more than ever, we are discovering the importance of these five pillars in our lives and in meeting the challenges we and our neighbours face, mid-pandemic. As the UK government keeps reminding us in their daily briefings, they are taking a science-based approach to fighting the pandemic and so must the wellness economy, which has boomed over the last few years. According to the Global Wellness Institute, it’s now believed to be worth $4.5 trillion; from 2015-2017, the wellness economy grew 6.4% annually.

The Global Wellness Institute’s mission is to be the recognized global authority and resource for businesses and organisations dedicated to ensuring optimal well-being for our planet’s citizens. As many wellness brands look to align themselves with medical professionals and science-based evidence, the Institute has launched the Wellness Evidence portal. The first-of-its-kind resource is designed to enable access to thousands of authoritative studies evaluating the benefits of wellness activities including exercise, meditation, massage, sleep, workplace wellness, and yoga. Wellness Evidence also gives direct access to four of the most-respected, evidence-based medicine databases.

In one of her New York Times columns, Jen Gunter characterised the wellness industry as awash with useless products and scientifically unsupported tests. But what if the products and practices were proven useful and there was solid science behind them? The challenge for advocates and promoters of legitimate wellness products and services is to ensure that scientific evidence is not just available, but integral to product messaging.

As communicators in the wellness sector, we have a duty and a responsibility to make sure that the brands that we represent, help grow, and attract advocates to are, above all, useful and backed by science, and that scientific evidence is a major part of the overall conversation. Wellness in its truest form can be trusted to improve the lives of individuals, families, local communities, and our wider environment.  At FINN, we already support many start-ups and industry leaders in the wellness economy and are committed to playing our part to ensure that the sector takes its responsibilities seriously through an evidenced-based approach.

So, do we need another international day? As we approach Global Wellness Day, it’s clear that one day is not enough. The Wellness Collaborative at Finn Partners will be focused on how we can improve the lives of our employees, their families, and our communities through our actions – not just on one day, but every day, by actively pursuing the goal of wellness.

Finn Partners partnered with the Global Wellness Institute to sponsor its 2020 Global Wellness Summit and Trends Report https://www.globalwellnesssummit.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/GlobalWellnessTrends2020.pdf.