This deluge of products alternately offered to fill attendees with energy or to calm us down, but almost never to keep us as we were. The implicit allure of such products was that we were not okay, or at least could be better. Given all the ways in which most people believe we could be improved, “wellness” has become an all-encompassing concept and industry that not only eats into the territory of mainstream medicine, but that has subsumed what used to be called “alternative medicine”—that which alludes to scientific claims when convenient and also defines itself in opposition to the scientific establishment.
The scene was otherworldly from the first whiff of essential oils on the premises, the palatial Palm Springs Convention Center and an adjacent resort hotel. Almost all of the attendees (seekers) were under 40 years old, and all looked well below it. Many could not be picked out of a lineup of Lululemon models. At least one actually was. There were celebrity speakers lined up to lend their expertise, including Russell Brand, the comedian turned spirit guide whose face is the poster for the event, and Alicia Silverstone, best known for her starring role in Clueless, who currently sells a line of vitamins out of an expressed concern that all other prenatal vitamins on the market can be harmful to fetuses.
Chronically high blood glucose levels are known to damage nerves, so keeping blood glucose levels close to the normal, nondiabetic range can greatly reduce neuropathic pain. (Sometimes, however, if nerve damage has caused numbness in the feet, legs, hands, or arms, improving blood glucose control can cause pain in these areas as the nerves start to heal and regain function. The pain is usually temporary.)
Another French company, Valbiotis (FP:ALVAL), has developed the plant-based VALEDIA to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by treating patients with pre-diabetic symptoms. The product is based on the active ingredient TOTUM-63, a combination of five plant extracts that work synergistically to address several metabolic factors that play a role in diabetes development.
Though the Oxford English Dictionary traces wellness (meaning the opposite of illness) to the 1650s, the story of the wellness movement really begins in the 1950s. New approaches to healthful living were emerging then, inspired in part by the preamble to the World Health Organization’s 1948 constitution: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Halbert L. Dunn, chief of the National Office of Vital Statistics, was looking for new terminology to convey the positive aspects of health that people could achieve, beyond simply avoiding sickness. In a series of papers and lectures in the late ’50s, Dunn sketched out his concept of “high-level wellness,” defined as “an integrated method of functioning, which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable.”
The main symptoms of diabetes are three – polydipsia, polyphagia and polyuria. These mean increased thirst, increased hunger and increased frequency of urination. In addition patients complain of feeling very tired and weight loss and loss of muscle bulk. Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly, over weeks or even days whereas type 2 diabetes may develop gradually.