Estimates as to the size of the global wellness market vary, but the consensus is that it’s around $4 trillion – which is a bit more than the GDP of Germany. It’s no surprise, then, that everyone from one-man start-ups to thriving multinationals wants a piece of the action. There’s a lot of money in feeling good. For the average bloated, stressed-out consumer, the returns are just as tempting. Promises made by the wellness industry include work-life balance in blissed-out equilibrium, boundless energy and a six-pack to go with it. Who doesn’t want that kind of self-love? Yes, there’s hokum out there, but there are also habits and ‘movements’ that can make a genuinely positive impact on your life. These are the wellness trends we’re jumping on this year.
The Rise Of Pseudo Meat
Much has been written about American company Beyond Meat, whose meat-free burger patty “bleeds” onto the plate in a thrilling impression of an undercooked Whopper. The burger’s launch was a headline grabbing moment for the fast-rising, vegan-friendly, plant-based faux-meats movement, which is built upon tasty products made entirely from things that grew as opposed to things that were born.
The market is set to expand – so much so that genuine purveyors of meat are getting worried. The BBC reported recently that French lawmakers have been busy passing legislation to prevent fake-meat brands from using certain ‘meaty’ terms in their advertising and descriptions. The reason for the mild panic is that faux meats can be really good. And in 2019, we’ll see more carnivore imposters enter the mainstream with such delicacies as plant-based prawns, vegan tuna and even ersatz salmon appearing on the shelves. One of the names to watch is American start-up Good Catch Foods, whose stated goal is “to preserve the ocean’s natural resources while introducing awesomely delicious ‘seafood’ choices that benefit you and the world.”
Well, not quite, but America’s increasingly relaxed attitude to cannabis (as well as Canada’s outright legalisation) is causing considerable ripples in the wellness market, where products based around Cannabidiol (CBD) now abound. CBD is one of the 100+ compounds to be found in the cannabis plant, and while it won’t space you out like THC – marijuana’s most-famous compound – it is being touted as having multiple medical benefits.
Studies have shown that CBD-infused oils can help with pain relief, reduce anxiety, work as an an antidepressant and a whole lot more. Imminent new legislation in the US is expected to legalise it across the country and, if that happens, it looks certain to rapidly accelerate CBD’s growth (experts predict that it will be a multi-billion dollar industry within three years). As the industry matures, expect niches to emerge, with everyone from organic makers to confectioners who pop it into their chocolate vying for a slice of the market.
The world is slowly (reluctantly?) cottoning on to what Scandinavian people have known for centuries: namely that immersing yourself in freezing water is a great way to reduce stress. In September The Guardian suggested that a few laps in an ice-cold pool comes with certain anti-inflammatory benefits and British company CryoAction claim it’s a growing trend especially amongst elite athletes in the United Kingdom.
According to CryoAction, many of the UK’s top football teams are onside for the cold revolution: they list Everton, Leicester City and Arsenal as among the many clients they’ve worked with. And by ‘worked with’, we mean giving players three-to-five minutes in a ‘cryotherapy chamber’, where the temperature can be rapidly dropped to as low as -135 degrees C. The idea has been put forward that the more used you become to sudden, horrible sensations (the freezing cold bit), the less the rigours of everyday life will bother you. It’s said to improve recovery times, too. We’ll let you decide.
Keto Goes Green
Fans of the much-debated keto diet who are starting to feel bad about gnawing their way through the world’s livestock in pursuit of their low-carb, high-fat existence may be tempted by a more environmentally-friendly version this year.
Wellness channel Healthista termed the trend “eco-Keto eating” for keto fans who preferred to do it the meat-free way. The goal, as fans of ketogenic diets will tell you, is to put your body in a state of ketosis, which sees it burn fat in a very efficient way. By swapping the steaks for things like avocados and nuts you can keep the fats pouring in without killing anything. Businesses are catching on – the UK’s first vegan keto meal delivery programme Nosh Detox will do all the hard work for you if you have a spare £444 lying around. Available in 20 Pullman hotels globally, including Pullman London St Pancras, the hotel chain have just launched an Active Breakfast menu, curated by wellness ambassador, Sarah Hoey, which includes eco-Keto meal offerings such as amaranth and organic tricolour quinoa porridge with salted caramel and rice milk. And if you want a less taxing way to get involved, check out functional medicine practitioner Dr Will Cole’s new book The Ketotarian, a mostly plant-based keto diet plan that claims to ‘boost your energy, crush your cravings and calm inflammation’.
Noise To Make You Better
You don’t need a degree in audiology to know that sound can greatly affect how you feel – who hasn’t been left churned up inside after listening to a warbling ballad about a failed romance or a three-legged dog? The basic idea of an emerging trend named ‘sound therapy’ is that different sounds have different frequencies, and in the right hands these can be used to help heal you of the ailments that riddle your body. The British Academy of Sound Therapy says, for example, that a Himalayan bowl strategically-placed on a tense muscle and played in a certain way can sort you right out.
If you’re not convinced, then there’s one overarching concept that could win you over. Everyone knows that stress can cause and exacerbate a multitude of health problems; a calming session of sound and music, therefore, can only be a winner.
Sleep Less… But Better
Global insomnia epidemic… blue light exposure… poor sleep hygiene – you’ve yawned your way through this “news” a thousand times before, but what if this was the year, as many wellness-watchers feel it will be, that you truly aced your sleep, and started to enjoy the multitude of health benefits that go with it? The first step – and it’s one that people are starting to accept – is to acknowledge that eight hours of shut-eye is nigh on impossible these days. What’s more important is that the six or seven hours you do get should be premium-grade, uninterrupted sleep of the purest kind, and there will be ever-more apps, gadgets and techniques to help you.
Start with a commitment to improving your sleep routine (there are a million tips online), and if you still struggle, try signing up for an on-trend sleep-performance/sleep-enhancement vacation: The Shanti Resort and Spa in Mauritius, for example, has a sleep package that uses an ancient relaxation technique named yoga nidra to “unwind the nervous system” and induce restorative sleep while Lake Garda’s Lefay Resort & Spa will be offering a sleep programme that includes energy work and acupuncture, thereby promoting sleep. Equally in are ‘silent retreats’ where you shut the hell up, calm the mind and – hopefully – get a restful night, too.
‘Biohacking’ emerged as a thing in 2014, and the basic idea was that people used science, biology and personal knowledge of what makes them tick to make their lives better. Coming at things from a similar – tailored – angle and gathering momentum for the year ahead is nutrigenomics, a fast-growing field in which experts look at your DNA to give you a precise idea about what you should and shouldn’t be eating.
It begins with a blood test and cheek swabs and starts to make sense when a nutritionist sits down with you to explain what your body needs. A company named Habit make the process rather simple with a mail-order kit – currently one-third off at $199 – which will result in a bespoke nutrition plan, they say, that is based on your unique needs and lifestyle.