On the Wellness Industry

In general, I'm a bit too critical of the medical field.

I'm aware of the extreme conflicts of interest that exist between doctors and pharmaceutical and medical device companies, as well as some serious limitations in medical training, which barely glosses over the most basic practices for well-being (nutrition and exercise).

I sought holistic health as a way for me to fill the gaps in my ability to care for my whole being for the long haul, not just to treat the sick parts of my body when they became intolerable. I particularly found the field of mental health treatment to be almost comically underdeveloped. Dealing with a mix of depression, anxiety and a very unhappy home life as a teen, I had been prescribed so many different medications by age 20 that I couldn't keep track, or even remember how I "normally" functioned. They all had side effects that impeded on my physical, and sometimes mental health and I knew that path would not lead me where I wanted to go.

Additionally, I was seeking a home for spiritual practice. Church never jived with me, but I did come to find great value in meditating and chanting in sacred places. Ultimately, these practices have been far more helpful in my personal psychological development than any medication. They became my bridge to a deeper understanding of health that extended to include the spirit. 

Although physical health, mental health and spiritual health have historically been deeply intertwined, modern medicine has created an intense separation between the realms. But as the wellness industry strives to infuse all of these elements into one ingestible (and pricey!) cocktail, we should be more skeptical than ever about who these salespeople are and what they are selling us.  As any industry is bound to be, the wellness industry is also conflicted and limited. Hey, egos are involved, right? However, in my opinion, what is more scary about this industry is the lack of in-depth training, research, credentials and tbh, evidence present. And all too often in this field, your soul is the bottom line.

With fear of death fueling the drive for "wellness," fear of the afterlife is too often fueling the drive for "spiritual healing." When I've done work in the spirit realm with others, people have literally looked at me like I know their soul better than they do. An extreme vulnerability is created in this work that must be met with the utmost sensitivity and empowerment. And that takes A LOT of training, practice and mentorship to become more self-aware. 

What also angers me is that I do have many highly-trained, certified, master-degreed, well-practiced friends who are herbalists, doulas, creative therapists, yoga teachers and reiki healers. And sadly, their fields of practice are harmed each time an absolutist takes an expensive trip to Nepal and returns with a self-appointed, self-created title such as "mindset coach," charging more per session than an actual licensed therapist, claiming that the proper credentialing process "offers no real value" (one started following me on IG last week, I asked him A LOT of questions). 

I have so much more to say on this topic, but if anyone has even made it this far, let me end with this: Just because yoga and eating veggies works for me, I am in NO position to claim others will enjoy it, let alone benefit from it. What basis do I have for saying that, other than my own subjective experience? Jainism, one of the oldest and rarest religions practiced on Earth, teaches that we are each a unique representation of the Divine, with direct access to our Source at any time, and the task of this life is to shed the karma that keeps us from realizing our Holiness. The truth is, not only can we save our own souls, but we are the only ones who can. Remembering this is the practice.