Wellness culture is toxic for people with chronic illness or pain. Influencers use shame and sexism in medicine to scam sick people.

I understand the attractiveness of the wellness industry because, unlike doctors, wellness gurus won’t tell you you’re faking. The medical profession has never been there for women and has always been about gaslighting and blaming women for the doctor’s own ignorance. What options are women dismissed by their doctors left with? They’re already paying $300+ in exchange for the doctor ignoring their symptoms, so investing it somewhere else makes sense.

Enter, the wellness industry where gurus, coaches, influences, and weight loss experts listen and offer solutions.

The wellness industry is attractive because the American medical system is a mess. Women and POC wait longer for pain treatment and are more likely to be offered sedatives than men. A diagnosis like endometriosis takes 8 years on average, and period pain is completely ignored. Illnesses like ME/CFS, autoimmune, and Fibromyalgia are underresearched and often blamed on the laziness of the patient.

Although wellness gurus make women feel better by listening, they generally aren’t any less selfish and egotistical than doctors. Their motivation is not to help women, it’s to sell something and make money.

Influencers claim that wellness culture isn’t harming anyone, but they’re ignoring the people they are scamming as well as the shaming aimed at people with chronic illness and chronic pain. This happens when the idea of “Health” switches to blaming people with chronic illness for their own suffering. It even extends to apply to well-known diseases. The “I can’t get sick because I drink cayenne water and that makes my immune system fight every disease that’s ever existed” crowd is killing people

Blaming the victim is comforting, it allows for the illusion of control. If you believe that kale juice cures cancer, then it’s the cancer patients’ own fault for their misfortune. You’ll never suffer because you do the right things to stay healthy.  The problem is, when someone believes their health is predicated on their own righteousness, they develop alarming practices that affect the safety of others and can slide into dangerous behaviors.

People who already believe the entire health system is out to get them are more likely to believe what influencers tell them on the internet. Influencers urge you to “listen to your intuition” and “do your research” (on youtube and Insta) instead of listening to scientists and doctors all over the world.