Wellness is a concept that can be difficult to grasp. Don’t we all want to be well? Isn’t that what we have been trying to do for our entire lives? Very few of us are actively seeking out ways to be unwell – and we made it this far! So we can’t have been doing much wrong.
Then you step into the modern world of wellness and see how incorrect that impression was. You learn damaging things about whole grains, which you once considered the bastion of good eating. You learn about the potential toxins in beauty products and other items you have been using on a daily basis.
It’s not so simple as exchanging one rule of life for another, though. You don’t throw out the old rules and cut and paste a new doctrine in to replace them. Some things are never simple.
Why Do So Many Different “Wellness” Philosophies Compete?
One of the biggest problems about making changes to your health regime is that there are so many different options.
Take whole grains, for example. Some will argue that they are essential to a healthy heart and you should consume them as often as possible. Others will argue that any grain – whole or no – has the potential to cause serious harm. Both can cite scientific studies to back up their claims, so there is no separation to be found there.
You can read stories like www.thealternativedaily.com/114-old-man-health-foods/ extolling the benefits of certain foods. Yet with a moment’s research, you will find someone else arguing the opposite point. It continues through everything, from the food you eat to the alternative therapies that you might be tempted to explore.
So how do you find your way through?
- Look For The Bias
When there is scientific evidence of both sides of the argument, then you’re in a tough situation. Your first course of action is to look for the bias.
Studies are rarely carried out by independent institutes; they can be commissioned by manufacturers. This is a seriously shady process that just complicates things, so it’s one you need to be aware of. The reason for this is simple.
Let’s say a Brick Company conducts a study. Brick Company sell house bricks, but they’re made of paper. They want a study to show their paper bricks are safe and as good, if not better, than regular bricks. So they commission and study, and the result is a conclusion: paper bricks are dangerous and will kill people.
But the Brick Company have already spent the money on the study. Why would they further damage their bottom line and publish something that harms them?
Of course, they don’t publish them. No company is compelled to release the reports from all studies; just the ones they want to. So they bury the bad study, change the query and then run it again in hopes of a positive answer.
So when someone cites a wellness principle with scientific evidence, go and look at who commissioned the study. You will quickly be able to see a link between the conclusions reached and how they might benefit the company. Always value genuine, ethical academic research over anything tagged to a brand name.
- Look At Your Lifestyle
Okay, so say both arguments check out – they both have evidence for them. This can happen for completely legitimate reasons, depending on how the study took place and on whom.
So with two pieces of good, but opposite, advice to choose from, where do you go next?
The best answer is to look at which of them is going to fit into your lifestyle. Is one option going to lend itself better to being prepared quickly so that it will fit around work? Does one have more convenient ingredients to source?
When you have found one that is more “you”, give it a try for six weeks. If you are seeking to ease a medical condition, that should be enough of a chance to give it the chance to work. If it does – great, problem solved! If not, try the other option for six weeks.
It will soon become apparent what works best with your particular physiological makeup, so don’t be wary to try different things. There is no “one size fits all” approach because there is not just one type of human being.
- Look For Casual Consensus
Some areas, such as essential oils, don’t have studies readily available. That can make it trickier to deal with, as you can’t fall back on the scientific method.
In these cases, see what other people are saying. There are good reasons that some areas aren’t studied – because there is no profit in them. Companies that might fund studies want products they can license only for their own distribution. However, no one can have the “right” to essential oils or various foods – so they go ignored in terms of evidence.
In these cases, the consensus is valuable. It’s a kind of citizen study. If you find enough people saying the same thing, then you can consider trying something. Take for example gluten. There is no hard scientific proof that gluten is a problem for anyone who does not have Celiac Disease. Yet thousands of people feel better when they eliminate it from their diets.
- Look For The Harm
So something you want to try has passed all of the above tests. The final step is an easy one.
Say you find a lot of people saying arsenic is really good for their skin. There’s no evidence either way, but plenty of consensual opinions, so you should try it right? Absolutely not! It’s a known poison and you can die arsenic poisoning.
That’s an extreme, exaggerated example, but the point behind it is factual. Before going ahead with any new idea, look for the harm it might cause. Do your research! Don’t forget that doesn’t just mean in terms of health – watch out for financial scams and other tricks to part you with your money.
In conclusion, yes, wellness is complicated – but it’s not an inescapable maze. Do your research and apply common sense, and you’ll be well on your way.