The wellness industry is worth trillions, but why?

Wellness IndustryCC: William Farlow at Unsplash

To many, it may seem surprising that the wellness industry is worth trillions. Although we’re living in an age of obesity, heightened anxiety, and sedentary lifestyles, many of us are also pouring our money into wellness products.

According to Forbes Magazine, the wellness industry is now growing faster than the global economy. Its current value is $4.2 trillion and there’s no sign of it stopping yet. If you’re feeling a little mystified by this, we have a few explanations.

The wellness industry represents aspirational lifestyles

When you dig far back into the history books, you’ll discover attributes that represent aspirational lifestyles. In the Elizabethan period, being pale meant you were rich and aristocratic. In the Georgian era, carrying a little extra timber represented the fact that you didn’t need to work. Once again, this placed you higher in the social pecking order than your poorer peers.

Today, the wellness industry represents much of our modern aspirational lifestyles. Veganism, yoga, and retreats are all very middle class. Like any token of wealth, the wellness industry allows its consumers to keep up with the Joneses.

We all want to be a little happier

On the face of things, life has never been easier. We can now access information at the click of a button, contact our loved ones no matter where we are, and working from home is achievable once more.

However, many of the technologies that make all the above possible also cause stress. For example, we’re suffering from information overload, the pressure to be available all the time is suffering, and all workplaces are heinously competitive.

Because of our increased stresses, we’re all seeking ways to be a little happier. The wellness industry allows us to achieve that. For example, celebrity proponents of meditation rapidly claim they tried it to make themselves happier. Yoga is now reaching the prison population in a bid to alleviate stress. We’re all attempting mindfulness, as studies link it with greater productivity. As some wellness products appear as though they allow us to bottle happiness and swallow it, we’re willing to pay for them.

Everyone wants to regain control

In recent years, healthcare trends worldwide have demonstrated how everyone wants to regain control. For example, the World Health Organization now believes that anti-vaccine sentiments have reached a crisis level. More people are now choosing to cure their cancers, diabetes, and heart disease in a natural way.

One of the primary drivers for this is the desire to remain control. Not everyone who turns to holistic medicine do so because they’re suspicious of big pharma. Some have an irresistible craving to drive their own wellbeing and they cannot achieve that when they’re depending on a doctor to break out their prescription pad.

Similarly, many people want to resist the side effects that come with medicines for as long as they can. Again, the only way they can control that is by dabbling with certain elements of the wellness industry.

Does all this mean that the wellness industry is bad? It’s far from it. If it results in more exercise, healthier diets, and happier minds, it’s a positive movement. However, we should all try to find ways to make it accessible for those who need it most rather than allowing it to remain as a rich person’s pursuit.

About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.