Skift Take

Ask any woman, and she’ll likely tell you she’s been told by a medical doctor, either implicitly or explicitly, that “it’s all in your head.” The medical industry’s tendency to dismiss many of the health concerns of female patients has been a big factor in the rise of the wellness industry.

The Skift Wellness newsletter is our  weekly dispatch focused on what’s happening in wellness from a global business standpoint. Skift Wellness lives where wellness meets commerce, mindfulness meets technology, the yoga studio meets the boardroom, and health meets business.

The wellness industry has clearly made its biggest inroads among women. That may partly be due to the shortcomings of the medical profession, which has traditionally been known to attribute their health concerns to hormones, depression, or “female problems.”

Scientific studies have shown that women are often treated like second-class citizens when it comes to medical care. For many years, research into diseases that mainly affected women lagged, and women were often not included in general medical research trials. Many other studies show women are taken less seriously than men when it comes to pain treatment.

These are just some of the reasons why the gap in trust in the healthcare system between the genders is getting wider. According to new data from the Edelman Trust Barometer, only 53 percent of women trust the healthcare industry, compared to 69 percent of men.

That lack of trust among women has opened the door for the wellness world, made up of legit practitioners, centuries-old treatments like homeopathy and acupuncture, questionable cure-alls, and self-proclaimed wellness gurus, including celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba. In other words, there’s a lot of quackery adjacent to the good stuff.

Alternatives to traditional medicine can work. The problems come when people turn to questionable alternatives in lieu of going to the doctor. But with traditional medicine having a #MeToo moment and alternative medicine being taken more seriously by scientists, perhaps women (and men) can soon start enjoying the best of both worlds (even if insurance won’t cover the former). Bringing the two together may be just what the doctor — and female patients — ordered.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @dailysuitcase.

— Laura Powell, Skift Contributor


Why Women Go in Search of Alternative Medical Treatments: Over the years, women have struggled to be heard at the doctor’s office. Frustration with medical care (or lack thereof) has led many to seek out alternative practitioners who may offer a more empathetic bedside manner. But relying on wellness alternatives may not always do a body good. Read more here.


Curaleaf-Cura Partners Deal Follows a Wave of Consolidation: The last few weeks have seen a number of high-profile mergers in the U.S. cannabis industry. This week, Curaleaf Holdings, the most valuable marijuana company in the country, announced a $950 million acquisition of a cannabis oil company Cura Partners, which owns leading brand Select. Given the high investment, we wouldn’t be surprised to see these companies beef up lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Read more here.


Microbiome Startup Investors Take a Gut Check: The nascent field of microbiome research is a hot area for venture capital investment. But buyers beware. The FBI is now investigating uBiome, which offers testing kits said to identify microorganisms in the body. Another VC darling, Arivale, which offered health coaching based on its genetic testing, was recently forced to shut down. That’s not good news for investors who dumped more than $83 million and $50 million into uBiome and Arivale, respectively, with the hopes they’d be the next 23andMe. Read more here.

Food & Drink

Dentists Drill Down on Kombucha: Millennials are guzzling kombucha like it’s going out of style. But it’s here to stay, and that may be good news for dentists. Yep, the beverage that’s touted to be good for the belly is not so great for the teeth and gums. Some dentists are warning that kombucha’s high level of acidity (not to mention its under-the-radar sugar content) may eat away at tooth enamel and cause decay. Read more here.

Matcha Maker, Matcha Maker, Make Me a Matcha: Tea is experiencing a renaissance. While considered a tonic for thousands of years, today’s health-conscious consumer is rediscovering its curative effects. Marketers are jumping on the bandwagon, promoting the beverage as a “healthy alternative” to coffee and sometimes making claims about its curative effects. Hence, the rise of so-called premium products, infusions, and specialty brews like matcha tea. Read more here.


Lululemon Stretches Its Business Model: Lululemon wants to see more men wearing its skin-tight yoga pants. While the look may not be aesthetically pleasing to all, investors seem to be bullish on the idea. They also like the fact that the yoga giant is expanding its footprint internationally and is bringing in new business with pop-up shops. Read more here.

Mind & Body

Why Entrepreneurs May Be Susceptible to Mental Health Issues: There’s a widely held belief that the most successful entrepreneurs are those who work the hardest and raise the most money. When startup founders actually buy into that thinking, they can find themselves, quite literally, going crazy. In fact, some science suggests entrepreneurial types are more prone to mental health issues than the general population. Even founders of wellness startups are not immune. Read more here.

Skift Contributor Laura Powell [[email protected]] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.


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Tags: cannabis, cbd, food and beverage, Skift Wellness, startups, venture capital, wellness, yoga

Photo credit: A bottle of hemp oil is shown. The wellness industry has clearly made its biggest inroads among women. That may partly be due to the shortcomings of the medical profession. @demip101 / Unsplash

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