I have a confession to make. I am a writer, hiker, and dog-loving, sun-bathing San Franciscan. I love poetry, music, and art. But I also answer to another label: wellness junkie. Skincare addict. Trend-following fanatic. And I’m not the only one: the wellness industry is worth about $3.7 trillion globally and continuing to grow at a rapid rate. Unsurprisingly, this expansion may be due to the current climate of our society: “We’re living in an age of anxiety, with political and economic uncertainties around the world driving anxious consumers to find ways to escape and de-stress from their everyday hectic and demanding lifestyles,” WGSN beauty editor and trend expert Theresa Yee tells Fashionista. I don’t disagree—with gun control debates, immigration reformation, the recanting of women’s productive rights, the list of anxiety-inducing societal issues goes on, and wellness continues to rise.
A recent study by WGSN defined key emerging trends in the health and wellness world. These trends are far from new—they’re derived from ancient holistic practices. We’ve seen this before, when bone broth, activated charcoal, and oil pulling were all the rage. Yee isn’t surprised by this reemergence. “Ancient rituals are celebrated more than ever—the benefits are well-known and have been around for thousands of years, so there is a greater element of trust,” she says. Read below for four health and wellness trends, brought to you by the past:
According to HealingEnergy, energetic healing is an umbrella term used to describe any form of therapy that changes our energetic circulation or helps our bodies regain balance. Energetic healing has been studied for thousands of years in different cultures and capacities. Chakra healing, a practice that involves seven energy transmission centers of the body, can be found in ancient Hindu texts. Reiki, a younger form of healing from Japan, dates back to the 20th century. Chinese energetic healing utilizes meridians to perform acupuncture. Some other well-known healing practices include reflexology and kinesiology. Though energetic healing was primarily dismissed in the past as new-age nonsense, it has become fairly mainstream among consumers: spas are offering energetic healing practices as a sector of their services, and energy healers can be found around the world.
The first written account of hemp medicine dates back to 2737 BCE. According to MinistryofHemp, “Emperor Shen-Nung developed topical hemp oils and teas to aid in pain relief.” These findings were recorded, along with the medicinal benefits of the flowers, leaves, and seeds of cannabis. The use of marijuana have also been realized across the world: in ancient Asia, cannabis was used to treat clots, infections, and stomach pains; in ancient Rome, it removed bugs from ears; in ancient Egypt, cannabis oils were buried with Pharaoh Ramses II. Today, cannabis aids epilepsy, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and addiction, and its role in wellness is continuing to grow. At the forefront of this trend are marijuana massages, which are quickly becoming a part of the mainstream spa scene.
Halotherapy, otherwise known as salt therapy, mimics the climate of a natural salt cave. Patients breathe in the salty air created by the cave, helping to heal depression, anxiety, skin conditions, and respiratory problems. Salt can balance out a positive charge in our physical energy by fusing the excessive positive ions with its negative ions, negating the harmful vibrations surrounding us. Though the origins of halotherapy date back to the medieval era, researchers only recently began noting the benefits. According to HealthLine, halotherapy can be done using two different methods: dry and wet. In the dry process, a human-made salt cave is set to a cold temperature with no humidity. In this more traditional form of halotherapy, patients usually spend about 30-45 minutes breathing in the air. The wet method can be done at home using a mixture of salt and water, which includes gargling, drinking, or bathing in salt water.
Though it is suspected that hay bathing has been around for many centuries, the first documented use was in 1871, according to Hotel Heubad. Hay bathing involves fermented hay from the alpines. After cutting their grass, alpine farmers would spend the night sleeping in their hay. In the morning, despite the grueling demand of farming jobs, they woke up full of energy. The higher the pastures, the more varied the meadows are, containing more healing herbs and essential oils. This practice can treat hip, back, neck, muscle, and joint pain.
Photo: Erik Witsoe via Unsplash