Doctors sharing wellness advice on Instagram

Making doctors relatable

Dr Anjali Hooda: 66.8K followers

Posts on: Workout videos, nutrition, weight loss, and promotions of her book, Think, Eat, Live, Smart.

This general physician from New Delhi, specialising in obesity and metabolic diseases, gives out tips and advice in captions accompanying her photos, generally looking way glamorous than your average doctor. “I don’t always post just wellness advice, but also personal photos. So that people see that their doctor is just like them. They should know that doctors don’t always give advice or lectures. If people relate to me, it makes a big difference,” she says. “I share what I have experienced, what helped me, what changes I have made to my lifestyle.”

Most of her advice is shared on either IGTV or live videos. “I used to do a lot of Insta lives, regularly, for one-and-a-half years, discussing topics such as PCOS, thyroid, anti-inflammatory foods, and so on,” she says. But this year, she doesn’t go live often: “I feel like I’ve exhausted everything I know. So right now, I am attending conferences, and until I have gained more knowledge, what is the point in repeating myself!” Meanwhile, on IGTV, she puts up videos of healthy-cooking recipes.

Reaching a follower count of 66K was a long journey, propelled by promotions once in a while. “Now I have enough visibility that I need not promote myself, but to be honest, in the initial days, a picture with a Bollywood star here or there helped!” says Anjali, who is the sister of actor Randeep Hooda.

The battle against fear of judgment

Dr Amy Shah: 23.2K followers

Posts on: Nutrition, gut health, women’s health, mindset, and wellness

Doctors sharing wellness advice on Instagram

Double board certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy & Immunology, US-based Dr Amy Shah’s posts are less pictures of herself and more feel-good memes and quotes on positivity. The pictures may be annoyingly simplistic, but her captions delve deeper into the topic, and discuss the issue at hand.

She takes to social media to discuss topics that are relatively new in Western Medicine, such as gut health, intermittent fasting, the health benefits of Indian spices. However, initially, she was quite hesitant about joining the platform, afraid of how her colleagues and senior doctors in the field would see her: as frivolous. “I used to worry a lot about the criticism I would face by other doctors, about putting myself out there, talking about things that haven’t been well established in medical literature,” she says.

The second-guessing was at a level deeper than professional: “Growing up as an immigrant child in Arizona, we would move around a lot as my father tried to provide for us, and I never fit into the American school system completely. As an adult, I realised I used to be embarrassed of my background. But now I appreciate it all the more, after having found success,” she says. To Amy, her presence on social media translates as giving a face to the South Asian medical community.

Expert opinion vs Promotion

Dr Renita Rajan: 27.4K followers

Posts on: Skin and hair care tips, cosmetology

Doctors sharing wellness advice on Instagram

In the past two years, Chennai-based dermatologist Dr Renita Rajan had been on an active mission to increase her engagement on Instagram. Her target was to cross 10k followers, but today, she is well past that. Her topical posts on skincare have made her quite popular among her followers, as have her considerate replies to the people commenting on those posts, asking follow-up questions.

“I try and engage with my followers as much as I can. For example, we discuss the best treatment options for a particular zone, and I stay available for an hour after posting to reply to almost all responses. It’s about making it interactive and educational at the same time,” she says. She also holds contests, polls, lives and offers giveaways. “I feel like I have a lot more space to discuss an issue at depth in the hour-long lives, than in a consult that wraps up in minutes,” she says.

Her bio explicitly states ‘no influence, expert opinions only’. “Sometimes on social media, you have people ruthlessly promoting a product that clearly requires an expert medical opinion. I personally don’t promote a product unless it is something that I already use in my clinic and I know will be beneficial,” she says, agreeing that there is bound to be an overlap between promotion and expert opinions. “But even if I promote a product, it will be democratic. We can discuss its merits and demerits, and use science to defend it.”

Simplifying the science behind skin, hair and cosmetology is another one of her passions. “If my patients are well-informed before they come to my clinic, it makes the process much easier for me too,” she says.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 6:40:00 PM |

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