Monday, March 22, 2021

#2454: Sangeeta Agarawal

Sangeeta Agarawal is the founder of health startup Helpsy, and an ardent champion of all things woo and New Age shiny and flimsy. Helpsy is supposed to be “a platform that brings together health care experts from all evidence based health care modalities, researchers and health care centers to combine their efforts together to offer an all-in-one interdisciplinary health solution to treat all aspects of health,” and might have been a good idea if it had actually cared at all about “evidence-based” and not gone full woo. Agarawal herself has, apparently, a background as a nurse, ayurveda practitioner, and yoga teacher, and has, according to herself, “studied integrative medicine by studying, practicing and conducting research in both eastern and western medicine” and worked with “the Mayo Clinic, Stanford Cancer Center, and UCSF Cancer Center”, which, if correct, is downright horrifying. She was at least an invited participant to a panel at Stanford University’s 2016 Medicine X Conference

Her schtick is fairly typical for the contemporary urban hipster approach to health wellness, though: apparently Agarawal “found ways to empower herself to be healthy and happy” by taking everything into her own hands, “decid[ing] to devote her life to empowering everyone to living their best quality of life”. Yes, the sales pitch is all about empowerment, self-affirmation, individualism and finding your own way to take control over your health, and not be restricted by the oppressive chains of reality or the authority of those who actually knows how reality works – it’s basically the updated, fashionable version of the human potential movement. “Our solution is ready to help everyone live their life to the fullest,” says Agarawal. 

Meanwhile, Helpsy appears to have become mostly a marketing company for quacks, with the “health care experts” it helps patients find being mostly, it seems, acupuncturists and chiropractors.  

Diagnosis: Garbage through and through. The scary thing is that real medical institutions are giving the empty fluff and nonsense of people like Sangeeta Agarawal a microphone and a sheen of legitimacy.

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