Worshiping the False Idols of Wellness

Charcoal, “toxins” and other forms of nonsense are the backbone of the wellness-industrial complex.

By Jen Gunter

Before we go further, I’d like to clear something up: Wellness is not the same as medicine.

Medicine is the science of reducing death and disease, and increasing long and healthy lives.

Wellness used to mean a blend of health and happiness. Something that made you feel good or brought joy and was not medically harmful — perhaps a massage or a walk along the beach. But it has become a false antidote to the fear of modern life and death.

The wellness industry takes medical terminology, such as “inflammation” or “free radicals,” and levigates it to the point of incomprehension. The resulting product is a D.I.Y. medicine for longevity that comes with a confidence that science can only aspire to achieve.

Let’s take the trend of adding a pinch of activated charcoal to your food or drink. While the black color is strikingly unexpected and alluring, it’s sold as a supposed “detox.”

Guess what? It has the same efficacy as a spell from the local witch.

Maybe it’s a matter of aesthetics. Wellness potions in beautiful jars with untested ingredients of unknown purity are practically packaged for Instagram.

I also want to clear up what toxins actually are: harmful substances produced by some plants, animals and bacteria (and, for them, charcoal is no cure).

“Toxins,” as defined by the peddlers of these dubious cures, are the harmful effluvia of modern life that supposedly roam our bodies, causing belly bloat and brain fog, like a microscopic Emmanuel Goldstein from George Orwell’s “1984.”

For without these toxins there can be no search for purity — “clean” tampons, “clean” food, “clean” makeup. There are also sacred acts and rituals to follow, and if you have unlocked the right achievement level you will release your inner goddess.

Medicine and religion have long been deeply intertwined, and it’s only relatively recently that they have separated. The wellness-industrial complex seeks to resurrect that connection. It’s like a medical throwback, as if the halcyon days of health were 5,000 years ago. Ancient cleansing rituals with a modern twist — supplements, useless products and scientifically unsupported tests.

About The curious counsellor

I am a runner, wife, counsellor, dog lover and adventurer.
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