“It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle.” You've probably heard this phrase from any number of people in the wellness space. But as Christy Harrison reveals in her latest book, wellness culture promotes a standard of health that is often both unattainable and deeply harmful.
Many people with chronic illness understandably feel dismissed or abandoned by the healthcare system and find solace in alternative medicine, as Harrison once did. Yet the wellness industry promotes practices that often cause even more damage than the conventional approaches they’re meant to replace. From the lack of pre-market safety testing on herbal and dietary supplements, to the unfounded claims made by many wellness influencers and functional-medicine providers, to the social-media algorithms driving users down rabbit holes of wellness mis- and disinformation, it can often feel like no one is looking out for us in the face of the $4.4 trillion global wellness industry.
The Wellness Trap delves into the persistent, systemic problems with that industry, offering insight into its troubling pattern of cultural appropriation and its destructive views on mental health, and shedding light on how a growing distrust of conventional medicine has led ordinary people to turn their backs on science. Weaving together history, memoir, reporting, and practical advice, Harrison illuminates the harms of wellness culture while re-imagining our society’s relationship with well-being.
By Christy Harrison. Hardcover. 320 pages. Published by Little, Brown Spark, 2023.