Over the last two years the global pandemic has redefined what wellness means. From lockdowns that forced us to get creative to vaccines that provided us with hope for a post-pandemic world, the future of a more accessible and simplified wellness routine is looking brighter in 2022. From tracking your stress to sober-curious living, here’s a look at a few of the top wellness trends experts say we’ll be seeing in the New Year.
Improving your gut health
With more than 40 trillion bacteria in your body, most of which are found in your gut, experts say a focus on gut health is on the rise. “There is an old saying: ‘you are what you eat’, however, the more appropriate adage should say: ‘you are what you eat and absorb’,” said Joel Totoro, Director of Sports Science at Thorne, a supplement and health test company. “The health of your gut dictates your ability to digest and absorb nutrients in your food, which impacts every area of health and wellness.”
Research on gut health is one of the fastest-growing areas of science and with the gut providing direct communication to the brain, and having a direct impact on sleep, emotions, behavior and physical performance, your gut’s specific bacteria is as unique to you as your fingerprint. However, most people’s average diet cannot provide the optimal combination of healthful and correct bacteria, so gut health promoting supplements like prebiotics and probiotics provide that needed boost.
“If probiotics are the soldiers on the frontline of gut health, prebiotics are the support troops,” said Totoro.
With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing Americans to take a step back and reflect on their overall health and well-being, a new trend has emerged. Hyper Wellness, or the practice of seeking optimal balance of energy, well-being and focus, is on the rise as more Americans are seeking to take their health into their own hands.
“Hyper Wellness places an emphasis on proactive, preventative health and embraces a wide spectrum of complementary approaches to keep people healthy,” said Jim Donnelly, CEO and Co-Founder of Restore Hyper Wellness. “Hyper Wellness is becoming the model of choice as more and more Americans focus on staying healthy, as opposed to the broken, outdated model of sick care that waits for a person to get sick before they interact with the medical system.”
With this new practice, people are opting to assess their overall health by testing for food sensitivities, genetic markers and micronutrient and antioxidant levels which in turn can help them understand where their health is and then develop a customized plan to help them achieve their goals.
Companies like Restore Hyper Wellness provide these tests and solutions that range from treatments like cryotherapy to hyperbaric oxygen, Cryoskin and HydraFacial modalities. “We found that all of these modalities help you feel better right away, whether you’re feeling pain, fatigue, lack of focus or just need a pick-me-up,” said Donnelly.
As we enter another year of a global pandemic, experts say that many Americans are more stressed and worried than ever. But rather than trying to eliminate those worries, managing and tracking where that stress is coming from might be more beneficial.
“Stress is more accurately the body’s defense mechanism,” said Totoro. “Any perceived threat to the body causes a stress response. Threats can include injury and illness, environmental stressors as simple as crossing the street in New York City to improper nutrition and sleep. Our bodies must account for all these stressors.”
Still, as science emerges, many people are looking for even more information. Tracking your stress can help you take inventory of the different causes and timing of stress in your body, and ultimately help you understand what your body’s reaction is and help you better prepare for any future stressors. Thorne’s Stress Test, an at-home test, tracks the stress hormones, cortisol and DHEA. “Typically, cortisol is at its highest in the morning and follows a downward curve throughout the day. By monitoring stress hormones throughout the day you can understand the body’s responses,” said Totoro.
Mocktails and alcohol-free living
In the last year, non-alcoholic beverages sales increased 33% to $331 million according to a Nielsen report. With more “sober-curious” young people seeking out alcoholic alternatives that provide a fun social drinking experience without the buzz, hangover or addictive tendencies, more non-alcoholic products are hitting the marketplace that fill this void. From product lines that offer non-alcoholic hard liquors that can be stirred and shaken like any regular cocktail to heavy hitters like Anheuser-Busch’s launch of a zero-alcohol, zero-sugar Budweiser, experts say to expect even more offerings in the new year.
It should come as no surprise that with a global health pandemic forcing people to work from home and stay in when they can, telehealth appointments have skyrocketed. The most recent data from the United States Department of Health reports that since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, telehealth appointments have increased 63-fold since 2019. And experts say this is likely to become the norm.
“We can see more patients, and provide quicker turnaround on prescriptions and diagnosis with telehealth appointments,” said Dr. Kenn Brooks, a primary care physician. “It also lets us see sick patients in real time, and avoid the risk of transmitting any virus, since they can stay home, keep everyone safe and we can almost always diagnose them through Zoom.”
Before you go, check out our favorite quotes to help inspire healthy attitudes about food and bodies: