UnWell is the Netflix documentary series that takes a look at six different non-medical trends that some experts claim to have to healing powers. Each episode focuses on one trend with experts from both sides of the argument giving their opinion as to why a certain thing works or doesn't work.
The series opens with a look at the multi-billion essential oils market. Of course, there are people who believe they work. They also happen to be the ones that profit the most from it. Whether it's blogger Dr. Z with his beauty pageant wife who sell their master class online for a snip at $70 (eye-roll), or those that are comfortably sitting at the top of a pyramid scheme selling them every month, essential oils have their fans.
Thankfully the show also takes into account those who have studied and researched the industry. Generally, the more information garnered, the less likely it is that essential oils provide any real health benefits. In fact, some of the ways that they are used are actually quite dangerous. So do they really work? For some people they are a lifeline, for others, they cause a huge amount of health issues. But at least the topic is well balanced, even if a few of the interviewees are little nausea-inducing.
Each topic thereafter in UnWell follows the same theme. Extreme fasting looks at those that do prolonged water-only fasting – sometimes for weeks at a time, or intermittent fasting to boost the immune system. Again, the series catalogs people for whom the process works to great effect but also those who have had tragic results from pursuing something as dangerous as not eating for a month.
UnWell also covers fads such as Bee Sting therapy and drinking breast milk – yes, adults actively go out to buy and drink breast milk! So expect to be shocked and a little dismayed at just how gullible some people are. This is a deep dive into the very lucrative wellness industry questioning if the trends live up to their promises.
Overall it's a balanced approach to quite debatable topics. I do wish there had been more science and research used to corroborate the claims being made, especially those that believe they can cure cancer. Likewise for the detractors who only give unsubstantiated opinions. A little more science and a little less opinion would be good, but it's still an interesting show and worth watching. It makes Goop Lab look like child play.