A Quick Word on Misinformation & Self-Wellness

Is Aging with Pizzazz a wellness site? Often yes. Like others over the centuries, I believe that engaging in our own healing is vital. Information is at the root of such engagement.

With this self-help philosophy in mind (something I often refer to as ‘harvesting the low-hanging fruit’), I was incredibly distressed by a PBS segment I recently saw. (You can refer to “In Search of Wellness” Feb 17, 2022, PBS Newshour). It focused on the dark side of “wellness.” Granted, most news is negative, but I was troubled to hear their story.

A Co-opted Wellness Industry?

I will summarize the points but want to add my opinion that the vast majority of practitioners (particularly certified professionals or doctors) in the ‘wellness’ community are trying to do good. Like me, they are open to unusual, natural and “alternative” approaches, or treatments. However, there’s no reason why this must conflict with science.

The PBS story defined certain wellness-business “influencers” (a social-media term describing those with lots of followers and contacts) as sometimes questionable. Their coverage stated that many of these people (like the “Disinformation Dozen”) co-op the language of spirituality, Self-Care and wellness to titillate a larger audience.

Social Influencers

The “Disinformation Dozen” got their name because as a whole, the twelve represent 65% of what is considered anti-vaccination misinformation. Some are well-known names, and not all their material is “disinformation,” or wrong or bad. If it were, they would not have any listeners at all. As it is, they reach over 10 million pair of eyeballs.

Influencers can be helpful and altruistic, but when in the business primarily for the money, may exaggerate claims. To increase user engagement, some of these folks have learned that social media algorithms show more success with greater provocative claims.

“Do Your Own Research?”

For me, this was the saddest part of the story. An assertion I have long made is that it’s beneficial to do some of your own research. As an example, see A Magic Elixir for Everlasting Life? — 3 Warning Tips from California Researcher — Aging with Pizzazz . I never realized that the phrase “do your own research” would become a directive to “click through” to more inaccurate or slanted information.

One of my sisters-in-laws recently asked me to look at a couple references about Covid. It was a typical approach of linking to other things the author has written (something I do as well). But he included only pieces that were circular arguments of proof to support his views. The claimed “research” seemed poorly structured.

When Aging with Pizzazz suggests “do your own research” it implies reviewing good-source reporting or studies done by others. I strongly encourage readers to visit the post I mentioned above about warnings and tips to evaluate research. In that post and on this site, I strive to use science and good research or well-respected health care sources.

Watch the Links

If you follow posted links that first promote wellness, then anti-vax, then conspiracy theories, then anti-science, and then hateful politics – take care. This is just one possible sequence of rabbit-holes. It can be user-entrapment, even if just a prison of thoughts.

Derek Beres (co-host of the podcast, “Conspirituality”) examines the wellness industry and why it is so easily co-opted. He states that the problem is rooted in individualism and the “Sovereignty of Self.” Some suggest it is the other side of the stethoscope, and that there is ‘community’ to be found in the wellness world, and that this in turn encourages belief or trust in the ‘residents’ of that community.

FINAL THOUGHT

I support “individualism” for engaging in our own health, yet believe we should do this within the community of science. Scientists aren’t the enemy, and generally are looking for the same answers we are.

I hope we will all take care in what we follow on social media.  Also avoiding the deep holes from biased links connecting one prejudiced site to another. Perhaps start a new search on articles you see, but with different search terms and language.  Try to lean toward science-based sites. In the meantime, I will continue to approach Aging with Pizzazz with a focus on personal health-care responsibility, finding that low-hanging fruit, while avoiding disinformation.

Picture Credit: Fake News – Computer Screen Reading Fake News by mikemacmarketing Link

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Originally Published on https://www.agingwithpizzazz.com/

I hit the Second 50 mark a while back, but have my sights on a different goal –much longer, quality living.

While I may have a ‘dr’ in front of my name, the credentials for this blog are the same as yours – I am on a journey to Age with Pizzazz, whether that is body, mind, spirit or just fun and learning.  It is important to me to share related information with others as well.

I currently live in Southern Oregon with my husband, Michael.  I have had the good fortune (well, usually good fortune) to have called several states my home: Vermont, New York (family home with various locations along the way), Massachusetts (a short stint), Georgia, West Virginia, Connecticut, Arizona and most recently (2014) Oregon.

I grew up in upstate New York to a financially-modest family and did most of my schooling there.  My undergraduate work was in education (music and special education).  I did post graduate work in music therapy (and became an RMT – Registered Music Therapist).  My master’s degree from The New School in New York was in Hospital and Health Care Administration – and also convinced me that along with wonderful advancements, much is wrong with our traditional American medical and health care system (at least at that point).  There was a year more of pre-med courses in the southeast and then a doctorate degree in chiropractic (an industry that also has its many up and down sides).

I often joke that I have had as many professions or jobs as I do fingers.  To live up to that claim, I will name some: waitress, low-level banker, music and special Ed teacher, music therapist, mental health professional, gig performer, real estate agent (for which I had a shot at being the worst ever), probation officer, chiropractor, author and consultant.

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