Sunday, July 31, 2022

Searching For Wellness?

A patient who came to our clinic yesterday mentioned that one of his staff had just left his team to start a wellness business.

Wellness seems to be a 'hot' industry at the moment. Wellness centers offering to improve your personal 'wellness' have sprouted up all over Singapore. Flotation therapy rooms, cryotherapy, ketamine clinics, juice cleansing bars, electromagnetic therapy centres etc, you can find them all in Singapore.

There is a space near where I live that offers everything from aromatherapy, massages, healing salts and art therapy, that advertises itself as a calm oasis for mind, body and soul. It has been two tough years with Covid-19 and perhaps more people need wellness centers to ease their stress and improve their mental health and physical well being. 

The wellness industry is getting bigger by the minute. A McKinsey survey last year estimates the wellness market to be in excess of 1.5 trillion with annual growth of 5-10 percent.

The wellness industry may offer people hope, especially when we do know that modern pharmaceuticals/ medicine cannot cure all ills. When a patient does not respond to conventional treatment, they will seek unorthodox treatment to see if it works. However the wellness movement may cause a general distrust of scientific authority. This could be an issue in pandemic times, when thousands have died through misinformation.

Singaporeans may remember the 65 year old grandmother who was hospitalised after taking Ivermectin at the urging of her religious friends to protect herself from Covid-19. 

There are skeptics who say that much of this wellness stuff does not work. Will lavender oil cure your depression? Will drinking lettuce juice help you sleep better? How about activated charcoal detoxifying your body? Vitamin supplements

I do not have anything against wellness centers. I am also not against using pharmaceuticals when needed, although they sometimes have harmful side effects. Pharmaceuticals are often aggressively marketed to doctors which then gets passed on to patients. As a result we are often overprescribed.

My son was recently prescribed a 'special' pair of spectacles costing over $500 on top of a $700 + consultation fee and asked to come in for multiple sessions of therapy to help with his vision. A second opinion with a pediatric opthalmologist confirmed that his eyes are normal. I immediately asked for a full refund for the glasses (which was independently checked to be a simple pair of reading glassess). My son has 6/6 vision and definitely does not need reading glasses.

I gues what I'm trying to get across here is my humble opinion to be aware as you explore wellness options. Don't be pressured to buy expensive packages at your first few sessions. See and feel for yourself if it works for you. Take your time to decide. Be wary of individuals or centres that prey on your fear in order to get you to commit. Seek second opinions.

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