In her new book, Who Is Wellness For?: An Examination of Wellness Culture and Who It Leaves Behind, Fariha Róisín offers a searing critique of the wellness industry, arguing that it is elitist, exclusionary, and often harmful.
Growing up in Australia, Fariha Róisín, a Bangladeshi Muslim, struggled to fit in. In attempts to assimilate, she distanced herself from her South Asian heritage and identity. Years later, living in the United States, she realized that the customs, practices, and even food of her native culture that had once made her different—everything from ashwagandha to prayer—were now being homogenized and marketed for good health, often at a premium by white people to white people.
Why is this book your must-read?
Róisín’s book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how the wellness industry often fails to serve. Through her own story and the stories of others, Roisin highlights how the wellness industry is built on a foundation of ableism, colonialism, and classism.
Róisín’s book is a much-needed addition to the growing body of work critiquing the wellness industry. In this thought-provoking book, part memoir, part journalistic investigation, the acclaimed writer and poet explores the way in which the progressive health industry has appropriated and commodified global healing traditions. She reveals how wellness culture has become a luxury good built on the wisdom of Black, brown, and Indigenous people—while ignoring and excluding them.
This book will challenge your knowledge about wellness
If you’re interested in understanding how and why the wellness industry often does more harm than good, this book is for you. This book is divided into four sections: The Mind, The Body, Self-care, and Justice.
The first section, The Mind, looks at the mental health dimension of wellness and how it has been used to pathologize and marginalize people of color. In The Body, Róisín examines the way in which the wellness industry markets physical fitness and diet as a way to achieve the “perfect” body—an unattainable ideal that is often white, able-bodied, and thin. Self-care is the third section, and in it, Róisín looks at the way in which the wellness industry has co-opted traditional healing practices from around the world and turned them into products to be consumed by a wealthy elite. The final section, Justice, offers a way forward, highlighting the work of activists and organizations who are fighting to make wellness more inclusive and accessible for everyone.
Who Is Wellness For? is an important and timely book that will challenge everything you thought you knew about the wellness industry, and here’s what others say about it:
Fariha put so much of their soul into this book. I don’t have words enough to convey my appreciation of the radical vulnerability in the service of collective healing. The book is moving, heavy at times, provocative, potentially transformative.
This is one of those very rare instant classics that drop in out of the blue, so perfectly relevant, so inevitable, so beautifully balanced and fresh…. it seems both impossible that it hasn’t always existed and miraculous that such a pure work can make it into our hands at all.
In Who is Wellness For?, Fariha teaches us that our collective survival is miraculous, and that we need to consistently honor that blessing. Her integrity to healing shows that the work is grueling and vulnerable, yet deeply necessary. I have sobbed, sighed, and smiled while reading this book, and I am deeply moved that we get to witness Fariha hold herself while so generously guiding us toward holding ourselves too.