Heal Thyself

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A new trend promises better mental wellness without the help of Western medicine. Is it unsafe—or just what we need

Over the past few years, self-care has shifted from expensive, instant-satisfaction indulgences such as manicures and massages toward consistently nourishing pursuits such as prioritizing sleep, developing a regular meditation practice, and spending time with loved ones. It’s an evolution, driven by a much-needed awareness for better mental health, that makes self-care more accessible and, as a breadth of research suggests, supports true, long-term well-being.

But even as outdated notions of self-care fade from our social media feeds, a new trend is cropping up: #selfhealers. Its followers posit that Western medicine isn’t the holy grail of healing, that an individual­—as opposed to a physician, therapist, or health practitioner­—already has the tools within…

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