wellness medication

Broken Promises and False Prophets: Rina Raphael on the Business of Wellness

October 27, 2022

From productivity hacks to primal screams, from magic crystals to manifestation, wellness has become a juggernaut industry promising to provide not just health and happiness, but meaning, purpose, and belonging. What happens when those promises aren’t met?

Our guest is Rina Raphael, author of the new book The Gospel of Wellness: Gyms, Gurus, Goop, and the False Promise of Self-Care. She’s been reporting on health, wellness, and women’s issues for outlets such as Fast Company, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and many others, and she’s brought all of her experience—both as a journalist and as a consumer—to this important investigation into the wellness industry, particularly its influence on women. In a conversation with Free Inquiry editor Paul Fidalgo, Raphael discusses how, for many people, wellness has become akin to a religious faith, complete with its prophets and heretics, as well as how the failures of the medical establishment to address the needs of women creates an opportunity for wellness marketers to fill the void with their own solutions, ranging from the medically dubious to outright quackery.

Paul Fidalgo

Paul Fidalgo

Paul Fidalgo is editor of Free Inquiry and executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism. For ten years he served as communications director of the Center for Inquiry. He holds a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University, and his writing has appeared in outlets such as Religion News Service, CNN, USA Today, Dark Mountain, and Android Police. Fidalgo is also an actor and musician whose work includes five years performing with the American Shakespeare Center.