You brush your teeth twice a day to keep plaque from building up and see a dentist regularly for extra maintenance. It’s just good hygiene. But how often are you practicing mental hygiene? Taking about 15 minutes each morning to maintain your mental health is something everyone could benefit from, said Broderick Sawyer, a clinical […]
Bee venom treatment, drinking breast milk, and essential oils – are they the new medical discovery of the century, or just another trend? Netflix’s new docuseries, “(Un)Well, looks into these wellness fads and more to give some insight into whether they are healthy or not.
The six-part docuseries takes a look at the $4.5 trillion dollar industry with a fair eye. They analyze claims and promises made by health professionals that aren’t backed up with science but do so by allowing both sides to have their voice heart. Wellness “experts” in the documentary claim that their product is a cure-all for so many problems and their followers cheer along in interviews. Scientists and others in the medical community refute those claims or say that more studies need to be done to really understand effects. They even claim that some of the practices can cause more harm than good.
What connects all of the treatments the series covers, however, is a form of treatment more rooted in faith than science, with promised benefits that range from diabetes to cancer. In that context, the prevailing feeling is sympathy when listening to a woman who has struggled to find effective medical alternatives say, “I’m ready to put my trust in the bees.” As for voices of reason, Yale neurologist Steven Novella acknowledges that while there are problems with the healthcare system, “turning to an unproven therapy isn’t a solution.” To those who might ask what’s the harm in alternative treatments, he says, “I draw the distinction between offering hope and offering false hope.”
“(Un)Well” brings an even-handed approach to examining miracle cures and wellness treatments, trying not to judge those who believe that these crazy fads can resolve what ails them. Watching it, though, it’s easy to see that these options are contributing to our public-health mess. You can stream the new series on Netflix now.