Reviews of The Gospel of Wellness by Rina Raphael

The Gospel of Wellness

Gyms, Gurus, Goop, and the False Promise of Self-Care

by Rina Raphael

The Gospel of Wellness by Rina Raphael X
The Gospel of Wellness by Rina Raphael
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  • Published:
    Sep 2022, 352 pages


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Book Summary

Journalist Rina Raphael looks at the explosion of the wellness industry: how it stems from legitimate complaints, how seductive marketing targets hopeful consumers–and why women are opening up their wallets like never before.

Wellness promises women the one thing they desperately desire: control.

Women are pursuing their health like never before. Whether it's juicing, biohacking, clutching crystals, or sipping collagen, today there is something for everyone, as the wellness industry has grown from modest roots into a $4.4 trillion entity and a full-blown movement promising health and vitality in the most fashionable package. But why suddenly are we all feeling so unwell?

The truth is that deep within the underbelly of self-care―hidden beneath layers of clever marketing―wellness beckons with a far stronger, more seductive message than health alone. It promises women the one thing they desperately desire: control.

Vividly told and deeply reported, The Gospel of Wellness reveals how this obsession is a direct result of women feeling dismissed, mistreated, and overburdened. Women are told they can manage the chaos ruling their life by following a laid-out plan: eat right, exercise, meditate, then buy or do all this stuff. And while wellness may have sprung from good intentions, we are now relentlessly flooded with exploitative offerings, questionable ideas, and a mounting pressure to stay devoted to the divine doctrine of wellness. What happens when the cure becomes as bad as the disease?

With a critical eye, humor, and empathy, wellness industry journalist Rina Raphael examines how women have been led down a kale-covered path promising nothing short of salvation. She knows: Raphael was once a disciple herself―trying everything from "clean eating" to electric shock workouts―until her own awakening to the troubling consequences. Balancing the good with the bad, The Gospel of Wellness is a clear-eyed exploration of what wellness can actually offer us, knocking down the false idols and commandments that have taken hold and ultimately showing how we might shape a better future for the movement―and for our well-being.

Chapter 1
Why the Hell Is the Advice Always Yoga?

Can you remember the last time you felt free? Do you recall a time in which you weren't consumed by text notifications, computer install updates, grocery lists, school pick-ups and drop-offs, work emails, the news, and shedding "those last ten pounds"? Remember giving less of a shit? Being psychologically unburdened? And relaxed?

Neither do many other women. Modern life, for all its comforts and privileges, can feel wildly overwhelming. To be a woman today is to be stuck in a loop of unrelenting maintance.

I am, by all accounts, not a chill person. Type A is a more accurate description. My husband likes to motion for me "to take it down a notch" whenever I'm riled up by politics, line cutters, or nonsensical fashion. This is partially due to my own makeup but partially bred out of a chaotic career existence. And yes, let me preface all this by saying that I am overall a very fortunate person who is housed, fed, and not stuck in a war-torn...

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A journalist who specializes in health and women's issues, Raphael is perfectly situated to investigate the massive wellness industry...Writing with authority and empathy, Raphael tells a disturbing story of taking a good thing and then overdoing it.

Raphael delivers an eye-opening, cautionary study of the contemporary, amorphous meaning of 'wellness.'

Publishers Weekly
Sympathizing with women whose dissatisfaction with the medical system makes them susceptible to pseudoscience, Raphael makes clear that "the status quo isn't cutting it" ("We go to yoga because we need a moment to slow down") and guides readers to a more critical consumerism and an understanding that systemic solutions and community focus are required. This astute and revealing investigation packs a punch.

Author Blurb Sarah Knight, New York Times bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
Next-level revelatory... You'll never look at an Instagram ad for organic face wash the same way again. I found myself repeating many anecdotes to friends while I was reading, which is always the sign of a good book.

Author Blurb Virginia Sole-Smith, author of The Eating Instinct
Raphael articulates why women go on yoga retreats, start cleanses, and think we can only feed our kids organic, from scratch meals…A smart, reassuring read that you'll want to keep on hand for the next time Instagram tries to convince you that this supplement or that expensive new workout trend is The One.

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