Alternative Health

What are the biggest wellness trends of 2022?

man in sitting meditation pose surrounded by plants

What are the biggest wellness trends of 2022?

We all want to feel well in our mind, body and spirit each and every day – but sometimes we lose motivation. Looking after our wellbeing is, well, work. But maybe a new approach or new focus could be the key in 2022.

From reframing how to think of our menstrual cycle to putting gut health at the forefront of our wellbeing, here are the health and wellness trends you’ll be seeing everywhere this year. Maybe it’s time to try something new…

Emotional escape rooms

If there’s one place that a lot of us have been spending more time than ever in recent years, it’s… indoors, in our own homes. And that has prompted some people to think a little differently about interior design and what our homes need to provide for us.

Alongside the functional spaces of a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, have you ever considered adding an ‘emotional escape room’ to your home?

Not to be confused with the ‘escape room’ game craze of recent years, these are spaces designed to offer emotional respite, rather than the entertaining stimulation of a cinema-screen TV or the functionality of a home office. Think of a room with soothing decor that’s ideal for meditating in, for example, or somewhere dedicated to listening to music.

Depending on the size of your home, see if the Pinterest boards for calming, restorative ‘emotional escape room’ spaces could be something that you take inspiration from in 2022.

Mind-sharpening supplements

Whether or not you caught Covid-19, ‘brain fog’ has been one much-remarked-upon effect of the pandemic era. Those days when home-working and Zoom calls seemed to blur into one were very much a ‘thing’ in 2020 and 2021, while brain fog is one of the recognised symptoms of long Covid.

The pandemic is still with us, but wouldn’t it be great if the mental lethargy and fuzzy thinking didn’t have to be?

Mind-sharpening supplements are nothing new – just ask any specialist in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) – but they’re set to enjoy renewed interest from a new audience in 2022.

Examples include ginkgo biloba, a supplement derived from the Chinese tree, which may play a role in improving blood flow to the brain and is said, anecdotally, to improve cognitive performance.

The real star of the show in 2022? We’re calling Lion’s Mane, a mushroom extract thought to have a number of potential benefits.

There’s some scientific evidence to support claims that the addition of Lion’s Mane mushroom to a healthy and varied diet might help to regenerate brain cells, support brain function, and alleviate mild depression and anxiety (with the latter thought to be down to its anti-inflammatory effects).

2022 is the Chinese year of the tiger, but could it also be the year of the Lion’s Mane?

Also read: How to use essential oils for focus

Gut health

There’s never been so much attention on our gut health. Google has seen search terms like ‘gut health’ and ‘gut health supplements’ rise by as much as 130% over the last year – and this interest shows no signs of slowing down.

As the scientific research grows (with more evidence confirming just how important our gut health is to our overall wellbeing), so does the demand for more understanding over how to care for our gut.

This year, expect to read more about the probiotic foods that can do you wonders, supplements to support digestive health and our growing knowledge of the mind-gut connection.

Also read: How to keep your gut healthy

Mindful menstruation

person holding pink period cup

Periods will never be the same. Menstruation – a natural fact of biology for most women from the onset of puberty until menopause – is no longer something to be talked about in hushed tones or euphemisms.

Millennials and Gen Z are driving a culture shift towards improved understanding of menstruation as part of their overall health, using apps to track and predict menstrual cycles.

Meanwhile, a new raft of products offers possible alternatives to conventional tampons and pads, such as eco-friendly reusable cups and absorbent, leak-proof period underwear.

Expect to see period-related digital and physical products – one strand of the so-called ‘femtech’ industry – enjoying new popularity and visibility in 2022 and beyond.

Adaptogens

Have you heard of adaptogens? If not, this is the year the word’s likely to embed itself into your vocabulary. Essentially, these are herbs that are believed to have stress-relieving effects on the human body – ashwagandha being one that you might have heard of.

This kind of medicinal use of plants has long been part of the Chinese and Ayurvedic alternative health traditions. The best-known adaptogens include the herbs ginseng and rhodiola.

As the pandemic has put myriad stresses on everyone’s lives, from the minor to the major, it’s no wonder there’s been increased interest in natural ways to de-stress the body.

Plant-based eating

In the reputed words of Albert Einstein: ‘Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.’ He’s thought to have uttered them a century or so ago, but it seems as though we’re finally taking note – even if we’re not all strictly vegetarian or vegan.

The first part of the 21st century has seen plant-based diets go mainstream – with delicious options available in nearly every restaurant, coffee shop, supermarket and even fast-food chain.

That means, in 2022, it’s become a lot easier (and cooler) for anyone and everyone to experiment with a plant-based diet, or at least find more ways to cut out meat from their meals.

The proven success of movements such as Meat Free Monday and Veganuary – which swelled to record-breaking numbers of participants in 2022 – has helped to normalise meat-free eating. This year, it’s really hitting home for many that meat doesn’t have to be the building block for every meal.

Whether or not you call yourself a ‘reducetarian’ (because let’s face it, that’s not very catchy), cutting down on meat and animal products could be part of 2022 meal planning for many of us.

Also read: The best supplements for vegans

Mindful exercise

Man in wheelchair stretching for workout

There’s no doubt that regular exercise can benefit your mental wellbeing as well as maintaining your health on a purely physical level. Almost everyone who exercises regularly will tell you that it makes them feel better, not just look better.

A mindful approach to exercise is a trend that brings together some of the aspects of being fully present in the moment with physical movement.

Watching a TV show on a screen in the gym while you work out on the cross trainer? Playing a computer game while you crush it on an exercise bike? Not ticking the mindful movement box.

Going for a run, feeling fully present in the moment and observing your surroundings? Or having a life-affirming experience swimming in the sea under a full moon? That’s more like it.

Also read: How to change your fitness perspective

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Nature's Truth

Writer and expert