The story of the rise of wellness has to a large degree focused on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, in part because of an undeniable, if alarming, trend: Wellness is the new wealth. The very word “wellness” can conjure images of wealthy women in yoga pants trying the latest sweetgrass-kale cleanse after a session at SoulCycle.
To hear that version of the story, it can sound as though affluent women have created their own health care system – one focused on detoxes and supplements and forest bathing and non-inflammatory diets and jade eggs.
In truth, Goop is on the fringe of a much larger trend, a $4.2 trillion wellness industry that includes fitness classes, supplements, essential oils and a wide range of alternative therapies – some potentially helpful and others, like homeopathy, thoroughly discredited.
Many women find themselves navigating these waters alone in an attempt to feel better. But it’s usually not the first place they turn.
For many, wellness is filling a gap that medicine left behind.
Lisa Tolin is a journalist and Special Projects Editor at NBC News.