Written By: Colleen Thompson
We’ve already started adding turmeric to our lattes and taking apple cider vinegar to help us sleep better, upped our kale intake and swapped our coffee for kombucha. As spring kicks in, health and wellness are on our radar so we’ve narrowed down the list for you of this year’s biggest trends.
According to figures from the Global Wellness Economy Monitor, the wellness economy is now worth $3.7 trillion. Wellness has never been bigger or broader. Innovative approaches to fitness, diet, our environment and how we take care of our minds and bodies have taken root. It’s an exciting time to be alive, with so many ways, new and ancient, to improve our health.
Uber, Ben & Jerry’s and Google are all offering nap rooms for their employees to take time out of their busy workdays to catch-up on sleep – a 20-minute power nap has been proven to reduce stress and increase productivity. Most Americans simply aren’t getting enough sleep according to The National Sleep Foundation. The importance of sleep, in terms of quality and hours, has tremendous health benefits and napping is becoming an acceptable form to catch up precious hours. A predicted trend for 2018 is the rise of paid for nap pods, already happening in Tokyo and London. The pods give people the chance to disconnect and refresh in a private space. For those wanting a quick nap – there’s an app for that – the Power Nap app helps you drift off with relaxing soundtracks and Nap Wheel helps you plan the ultimate nap by figuring out when midday slump is most likely to occur.
Mindfulness and Meditation Still Buzzwords
A lot of the unwellness we’ll need to address in the years to come concerns mental health. Many wellness trends are now focusing as much on mental wellness as they are on physical wellness. Meditation has shifted — it used to be about spirituality but people now understand the science behind it and how it empowers them to be their best selves, just by being still for a few minutes every day.
Guided mindfulness retreats, office yoga classes, and company meditation programs are all on the rise. There are also a growing number of products and services at very little cost. Apps like Headspace by founder Andy Puddicombe; a regular Ted talker, known for his talks on simple meditation practices, is the soothing voice behind each Headspace session. Moodnotes is an app based on the science behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and encourages users to check in regularly during the course of their day.
The trendiest diet since paleo, Keto is now trending as the most Googled diet as cookbooks to podcasts emerge almost weekly. The high-fat, low-sugar diet has been used as an effective treatment for epilepsy since the 1920s and is now being studied as a diet option for conditions like Alzheimer’s and autism. The idea is to drastically reduce carbohydrate intake in the body and replace the carbohydrates with healthy fats. The process puts the body in a state of ketosis during which the body burns fat for energy more efficiently. The diet is gaining popularity among athletes like LeBron James, who according to the “Mind Body Green Report” embraces this new way of eating to maximize athletic performance.
These saunas use a different type of heat wave — the same type that hospitals have been using in rehab and for keeping premature babies warm. The heat permeates the body and raises its core temperature. Infrared saunas are actually cooler than traditional saunas and reach about 120 to 140°F, while traditional saunas can reach nearly 200°F. According to the Mayo Clinic, people suffering from issues like congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis have found infrared saunas to be helpful in their treatments. Another study published by the National Center for Biotechnology found that participants who spent fifteen minutes a day for two weeks in an infrared sauna saw an impressive drop in their blood pressure.
In the Maasai culture, the health and well being of a community are determined by the health of its children. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the traditional greeting used by Maasai warriors, which begins, “And how are the children?” The anecdote comes from the Spafinder Wellness 365 report that notes that rest of the world is slowly beginning to embrace the Maasai concept.
Be on the lookout for more mindfulness and meditation in schools, kid-focused yoga classes, massage for toddlers and wellness-centric family vacations. More parents will be willing to dedicate time, attention and money to what promises to be one of the wellness industry’s most significant areas of growth. “Parents are learning that to raise healthy children in the 21st century means more than just teaching them to eat their vegetables or look both ways before crossing the street,” states the report. “The poor diets, technological obsessions, and ubiquitous stressors that plague adult life offer no immunity to the young.”
Salt Rooms (Halotherapy)
Halotherapy or salt therapy has been popular in Europe for a long time. In a natural setting, this treatment would mean sitting in a salt cave and breathing in the dry, salty air, which is supposed to be good for respiratory and skin conditions.
In recent years, the salt therapy trend has gone global, and it’s now being used to treat everything from allergies to asthma, colds to eczema. Spas and wellness centers are replicating these salt caves creating rooms filled with salt and negative ions that have darkened ambient lighting to replicate natural caves.
Also known as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy — floatation therapy focuses on the deliberate elimination of sensory stimuli to achieve relaxation and, potentially, a meditative state. Some research shows that floatation therapy sessions have the ability to relieve stress and anxiety, ease pain and even treat addictions– all reasons why people are flocking to float. You lie back, face-up in a darkened tank, which is filled with Epsom salt (so you’re completely weightless) and the water is at body temperature, blurring the line between body and water.
By now, we’re all familiar with the term Superfood. From Goji berries to kale, it’s safe to say we’ve probably tried at least one of them. Whole Foods Market released their top food trends for 2018 that included floral flavors, super powders, functional mushrooms, Middle Eastern influences, plant-based foods and root-to-stem foods. Below are a few more you can expect to see in your diet.
Moringa – made from the leaves of the moringa tree that are crushed into a powder, it has been nicknamed the “miracle tree” for its superfood capabilities. Used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine, research reveals it contains more than 90 nutrients, including 19 amino acids. Expect to see it showing up in energy shots, snack bars, teas and flavored water.
Kava – made from grinding the roots of the kava plant. It’s been a staple of South Pacific cultures for thousands of years. Look out for kava bars, as enthusiasts claim it produces a more euphoric and relaxing effect than alcohol.
Crickets – yes, you read that correctly. Turns out crickets are very high in protein and contain all nine essential amino acids, as much potassium as spinach, more calcium than milk, and a more absorbable form of iron.
Black Garlic – fermented at a high heat for about 30 days, then aged for 20 days at room temperature. The process renders it soft, sweet and spreadable. Several sources link black garlic to cancer-fighting properties.
Aerial Yoga and Acroyoga
Yoga is moving beyond the studio floor. Both aerial and acro yoga have been around a few years, but they are gaining popularity and showing up in yoga studios.
Aerial Yoga is practiced with the support of a soft, aerial fabric hammock to explore, refine and advance traditional asana, both in the air and on the ground.
Acro yoga is a blend of partner yoga and acrobatics. Acro in Greek means high, or elevated. Yoga in Sanskrit commonly translates to notions of union, or joining.