Yes, there’s a wellness industry. You’ve seen it in action: over-the-counter remedies for this and that, vitamins, supplements. Aside from no regulation to prove that a product won’t actually kill you, what is the problem with the wellness industry?
Right now, anybody has the freedom to market dubious products in the name of wellness. Look out, here comes the wellness watchdog!
Media watches the wellness industry
Any product can be marketed as being good for you. Skeptical writers across the media spectrum pick up on it and chime in with their criticism or support. One such skeptic, Jennifer Gunter, writes books and columns attacking what she calls Big Natural (as opposed to Big Pharma). Typically, skeptics criticise products, but not exercise, healthy food, sleep, or stress reduction. Those continue to be the targets of the products themselves.
Proactive fans of wellness also voice their concerns about products’ misleading or false claims in the beauty industry. Wellness is fine, but the industry has not been policing itself.
Where is the industry?
Unscrupulous wellness providers may offer apps and websites with no evidence, “likes” cooked up by marketing, and so-called “five-star” ratings. These are little better than trolls that post fake reviews to make trouble for legitimate businesses.
CVS Pharmacy does third-party testing of all vitamins and supplements that it sells under their “Tested to Be Trusted” program. Manufacturers may align themselves with medical professionals and evidence, as well as make sure claims and facts are true on their websites. More and more, they are trying to counter the pseudoscience that the wellness industry is frequently accused of.
Government and wellness
Unfortunately, dietary supplements don’t get FDA oversight for effectiveness or safety. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) monitors outright dangerous fads in the US. It periodically reminds marketers about the legal requirement of sticking to the facts. And consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising lists many examples of dubious marketing of wellness products.
Oversight agencies may reflect a turn toward more formalized regulation of the wellness industry. The US Department of Agriculture is working on final rules for production of hemp and CBD. That could move it from marginal markets to the mainstream with its security, safety, and consistency of manufacture.
Verifiable evidence itself as a watchdog
Don’t trust mere anecdotes, case studies, and surveys. But look for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of multiple product studies. Those reflect what we should look for when we decide what wellness products to use. Take a look at wellnessevidence.com for verification of wellness practices’ effectiveness.
As they say, watch this space. The Wellness Industry is booming, and wellness itself merits your attention.
Want help sorting out your wellness routines?
Woodlands Functional Family Medicine is 10 minutes from I-45 (Houston’s North Freeway) and a step off The Woodlands Parkway. We look forward to seeing you soon!