It could be said, when it comes to health and wellbeing, that we've never had it so good. Medical care can work virtual miracles, while more and more of us consult alternative practitioners before even setting foot in a GP's surgery. And if meditation and macrobiotics were thought to be freaky fringe 10 years ago, and yoga was considered something rather esoteric, now they're virtually mainstream. Health clubs, gyms and spa resorts are now part of a multi-million pound industry available to us through a fitness industry that has erupted since Jane Fonda suggested we "feel the burn" over 20 years ago.
Latest research from Mintel shows, for example, that the complementary medicines market has risen by almost 60 per cent over the last five years, and over the next five years will grow by a further 45 per cent. One in five of us regularly uses some form of alternative therapy, with acupuncture, osteopathy and homeopathy topping the list. We tend to seek alternative help for those ailments that don't respond well to conventional medicine, such as back pain, stress and sleep problems. But even while interest in, and usage of, complementary therapies is growing, we lag behind France, Germany, Spain and Italy when it comes to really looking after our health. There a regular health check-up is routine, while here it is viewed as the domain of the hypochondriac rather than the sensible precaution of the healthy.
In theory there is no reason why we shouldn't be fitter, happier and better looking than ever before. Yet the paradox is that we are more stressed and overweight than at any time in recent history. It seems there is a reality gap between what we know and what we do. When it comes to considering self-help and what our options are, almost half of us rely on the opinion of family and friends, while information from the media is an important consideration for over a third of us, according to Mintel. An estimated 60 per cent of internet queries concern health, which reinforces Mintel's findings: lack of information is a significant consumer concern.
I cannot be the only fool who paid for a gym membership in a fit of New Year enthusiasm and failed to turn up, even once. I love my work, I love my family, I love my friends - basically I love my life - but sometimes trying to balance it all leaves me hyperventilating in the corner. In short, I am the epitome of the try-it-all, do-it-all but fail-to-have-it-all generation. What this new supplement aims to do is provide a place to look - for ideas, information, resources, facts - on the basis that life is about finding out what works, and what within the context of the individual lives we need. Life is about making the most of things. It might even about having a good time - so go for it.