I’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money trying to buy health and wellness, especially this past year. In some ways I’m an easy sell—as are many people that suffer from a chronic condition—I want to believe that I’m just one purchase or undiscovered treatment away from better health.
Additionally, I am pretty willing to try new things to feel better as demonstrated in my latest post about acupuncture. In this day and age of self-care and wellness seeking, there are no shortage of articles or posts touting health granting products for the already fairly healthy, let alone for those with mental and physical conditions, and I can’t help clicking on them. This is especially true when I feel particularly sore, or tired, or anxious, or a number of other symptoms.
Recently, I have tried a variety of things to help or ameliorate my physical and mental conditions including:
- Diffuser—for insomnia and anxiety
- Essential oils—for insomnia and anxiety
- Acupuncture mat—for anxiety and back pain
- CBD oil—for anxiety
- Lavender heating pad—for back pain
- Kombucha—for gut health (and therefore for anxiety) after taking antibiotics
- Magnesium oil—for insomnia, anxiety, and back pain
- Black out curtains—for insomnia and migraines
- Foam Roller—for back and hip pain
- Computer glasses to block out blue light—for migraines and eyestrain
- White noise sound machine—for insomnia
- Books on OCD and anxiety—for anxiety and OCD
I’ve been tempted to buy a whole host of other things, but decided to wait and give some of these a try before adding new things into the mix (and try not to spend all my money at once). For instance—I’ve done research on weighted blankets that advertise significant help with insomnia, migraines, and anxiety. I’ve even recently come across a weighted pillow that proposes to do similar things, but also blocks noises and light. They’re on my to-buy list. If they do what they promise they would be worth their weight in gold to me. Like I said, I’m an easy sell. I’m always looking to be healthier, stronger, and less debilitated by pain.
Some of these things work to a more or lesser extent. Some of them I’m still experimenting with. Some I believe in and some I’m still on the fence about.
But I’ve also recently gotten shopping-for-health fatigue and that made me wonder, can we buy anything that really makes us feel qualitatively better? Or are we just trying to buy hope? Or an easy way to get help?
Is it a good idea to try these things rather than focus on more established courses of care, like types of therapy—physical and mental—and medication? Are we being preyed on (maliciously or not) by those looking to sell these products? How do we distinguish between useful products and products with tons of hype and little efficacy?
It’s hard to know the answer especially to that last one when popular sites and conglomeration sites like Pinterest start talking up new miracle products. They attribute a ton of health benefits to these kinds of products and everyone talking about them have only good things to say. So how to know if it is legitimate, overhyped, or a placebo?
I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s so easy for me to read about something, look it up on Amazon, and hit the free two-day shipping button. But I don’t want to collect a bunch of junk that doesn’t end up helping me.
And of course, all this doesn’t even cover the stuff that I’ve bought to relax and indulge in self-care, like skin care—lotion, face masks, cuticle oil, etc. I also have to wonder if they work well too or it is just self-care, skin-care hype?
However, having something concrete to do or use gives me a feeling of control. I have hope that I can feel better, that I can do something to ameliorate my conditions, and that things can get better. And these things and the products after them give me that hope and control, even if none of them have radically improved my life. But maybe that’s not enough and I should focus on more proven efficacious methods—like acupuncture. I’m ending this without a conclusion, because I don’t have one yet. I don’t know the answers to these questions.