I don’t know. The former seems to be a profitable buzzword for charlatans.
Four decades later, wellness is not only a word you hear every day; it’s a global industry worth billions — one that includes wellness tourism, alternative medicine, and anti-aging treatments. The competition for a hunk of that market is intense: In Manhattan, two for-profit meditation studios are vying to become the SoulCycle of meditation, and Saks Fifth Avenue has temporarily converted its second floor into a “Wellery,” where you can experience aroma and light therapy in a glass booth filled with salt, or get plugged into a meditation app during a manicure. Every giant corporation has a wellness program: yoga at Goldman Sachs, communal sleep logs at JPMorgan Chase. A new magazine has debuted out on Long Island this summer, Hamptons Purist. (“Look around the city,” says its editor, Cristina Greeven, who came up with the idea on a surfboard in Costa Rica: “It used to be a butcher, a baker, and a hardware store. Now it’s SoulCycle, Juice Press, and a meditation place.”) It will have to compete with the Goop magazine, to be edited by Paltrow and published by Condé Nast, which this spring also announced the launch of Condé Nast Pharma, a division that offers “brand-safe” wellness-based content to pharmaceutical advertisers. The advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi has its own wellness division, capitalizing on “women’s unmet wellness needs” in the marketplace.
Wait, a “wellery”? This bullshit has really gone too far.
I think what “wellness” is about is selling a need — your chakras are out of alignment, you need to fix them. Gluten is poisoning you, you need more quinoa. You’re getting older, you need to stuff this random thing up your vagina. The Martians are trying to control your mind, you need to wear this lead-lined beanie. All those magazines aren’t about helping you, they’re about telling you what’s wrong with you, and then selling a non-solution to the problem they’ve just imagined.
It’s very profitable, though!
“It’s been overwhelming,” says Ashley Lewis, senior director of wellness at Goop. “We sold over $100,000 worth of vitamins on day one, and that trajectory has just continued.”
The best advice comes from the author’s doctor.
My lovely, thorough, and smart GP says every year at my annual checkup: Please tell me you’re not taking any supplements. At best, she says, you’re doing no harm, you’re just giving yourself some very expensive pee.