Dear Holistic Wellness Spaces and Holistic Wellness Providers:

We can do so much better!

Can we really call it a Holistic Wellness Practice without awareness of oppression and injustice?

Can we really call it a Holistic Wellness Space without implementation of systems to combat those oppressions and injustices? Without protecting those affected by oppression and injustice?

How is it health and wellness if your clients spend days being anxious about the kind of care they will receive before their appointment?

Will this person be racist? Will this person be transphobic? Will this person be fatphobic? What will they say to me? What kind of horrible things will I have to hear? How triggering will this health/wellness appointment be? Maybe I just won’t go see a health care provider? Maybe I will just keep fighting through the pain rather than face this very likely reality?

As “health and wellness” providers we need to asking ourselves who are we creating these health and wellness spaces for? Are they only accessible to rich, white, able-bodied, cis, smaller-bodied people? I’d like to hope we can do better than this because I don’t really think we can call ourselves health and wellness providers otherwise.

Some specific examples of things that need to change (and I know there are so many more so if you have ideas please share in the comments):

  • Intake forms with only binary gender options (do you really need to know the person’s gender at all?)
  • Asking for someone’s weight when it’s not medically relevant
  • Asking for their weight in a public setting
  • Clinics staffed with all white/cis/hetero/smaller-bodied providers
  • Calling your process holistic and including mental health, but still promoting weight-loss and ableism
  • Promoting weight-loss and ableism period
  • Shaming your clients if they don’t follow your treatment protocol

Some specific things you can do as a Wellness Provider (and I know there are so many more so if you have ideas please share in the comments)

  • A truly intersectional analysis of your offerings, space, systems, processes, messaging, seating, staff, forms, etc.
  • Only asking for relevant health histories and information
  • Training staff and yourself in systems of oppression and especially how they present in health and wellness settings
  • Creating a public statement about your ability to create safer spaces and how you will address different clients’ needs for safety

I know this is a huge topic. These are just some of my thoughts today and I look forward to further discussion with everyone.

For more information and resources on making your wellness spaces better, please see the work of Melissa Toler who has a course starting this weekend January 19 called, Redefining Wellness: An Online Class for Health and Wellness Professionals.

And for training in being able to analyze your practice for systems of oppression, please see the work of Desiree Lynn Adaway who has a course starting January 29 called, Freedom School.

Thank you for reading.


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