Is Wellness...sick?

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

No one took more of a credibility hit during COVID than the Wellness industry. The wellness industry is valued at $1.5 trillion dollars annually and encompasses numerous practitioners, naturopaths, yoga teachers and more. And their influence is inescapable: they used to be authors of newspaper ads, infomercials and women’s magazine articles; now, they are social media influencers. And once the great algorithms know you show interest (by filtering through your google searches), your news feeds become full of their pseudoscience. They are particularly influential to those with chronic conditions, where patients feel they are not being looked after by conventional medicine, seek to find answers.

There is room for this, and certainly diet and lifestyle advice is a consistent message across the spheres. However, wellness interventions can result in disappointment, fear of conventional medicine and vaccinations, and becoming half-broke from the cost of investing in endless supplements (often sold at consult, or a buy-now link).  The Wellness industry relies on us feeling that we are unwell, encouraging the self-diagnosis that we aren’t 100% perfect; then splashing out in an attempt to fix it. The supplement market is huge in the Pharmacy industry as well.

So where does the Roslyn Pharmacy stand in light of all of this? Firstly, a quick little back story. Shortly after purchasing the Pharmacy in 2007, a massive, viral weight loss product was launched, where upon purchasing, the patient sniffed various smells which the product claimed would make you feel full. It was endorsed by none other than Oprah Winfrey. The Wellness Industry is often promoted using well spoken, beautiful people. Another example is Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP site, selling pseudoscience, supplements and merchandise and… vaginal candles??

Anyway, we sold BUCKETS of the smelly product. Did it work? Was there any evidence that it did what it claimed? And to this day… I feel guilty. (Side note - a few years later the lemon detox was another massive product that went viral - I’m proud to say we did NOT stock this one - complete snake oil) Fast forward to 2023 and we are proud to be Dunedin's only Hardy’s Health Store. Hardy’s vision partnered nicely with ours, their expertise helps us to be better in this field. They give us access to quality, science based products, in therapeutic doses. Some of you will be old enough to remember the jingle - “Come in to Hardy's, in your neighbourhood - when you shop at Hardys, you’ll walk out feeling good”. And it's so important to us that Pharmacists
A) Acknowledge the shortcomings in alternative medicine (and where conventional practices are failing our patients).
B) Take the evidence-based practices from the wellness industry and partner them with the best of conventional medicine. 
C) And most important of all: action it.

Let’s not aim for the unattainable perfect in wellness - but aim to walk out of our Pharmacy feeling good.