From Five Day Fasts to Diaphragmatic Breathing, Nutritionist Kim Pearson Reveals the Hottest Health and Wellness Trend Predictions for 2020
Bridging the Gap Between Spirituality and Wellness
We’re already well aware of the benefits of regular meditation, and the trend for incorporating therapeutic and spiritual practices into our everyday lives is only set to continue. Increasing in popularity are ancient practices such as chanting and sound baths, used for thousands of years across many different cultures for their therapeutic effects, and forest bathing (also known as nature therapy), originating from Japan. Increasing numbers of Westerners are travelling far and wide for their wellness fixes, visiting ashrams in India and shamans in South America. Plant-based medicines such as medical marijuana is becoming increasingly more accepted and research continues into the potential benefits of psychedelics like ayahuasca, san pedro and Ibogaine. However, it’s important to note that these plant medicines are still illegal in the UK.
You’ve tried the 5:2, sometimes you manage 16:8, now it’s time for next generation fasting. While intermittent fasting and time restricted eating do have proven health benefits, experts argue that you need to fast for longer than a few hours to experience more profound benefits such as upregulated autophagy and stem cell generation. Traditional prolonged fasts involve consuming nothing but water for days on end, but this can be a daunting prospect for many. Enter ProLon, a next generation fast that has the same benefits of water only fasting, while allowing you to eat specially designed, nutrient-dense, plant-based mini meals. Designed to be carried out three times a year, ProLon is the result of two decades of clinical research trials by Professor Valter Longo and his team at USC. Their ground-breaking studies are now focussing on how fast mimicking diets can support chemotherapy treatment for cancer, as well as their effects on autoimmune diseases.
You can’t have failed to notice CBD pop up just about everywhere in 2019, and it is set to continue throughout 2020. CBD health and wellness treatments are on the rise and CBD oil is now hugely popular and found in everything from skincare and shampoo to cookies and chocolate. If you’re new to CBD, you should know that while it is one of the chemical compounds or ‘cannabinoids’ found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, it won’t make you high. Tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC), is a psychoactive cannabinoid, while CBD possesses many of the health and healing benefits of the marijuana plant, without the high. Pain relief, treatment of skin conditions and anxiety relief are just some of the ways CBD is currently being utilised in the wellness industry and with more research being done and increasing numbers of locations legalising marijuana, our knowledge of how to utilise the oil will develop.
Virtual Consultants and Trainers
In my own clinical practice, I now consult more clients remotely, via my virtual consulting platform, than I see at my practice in Harley Street. This is a huge shift from just five years ago when all of my consultancy was in-clinic. Remote consultancy allows clients across from all corners of the world to access the expertise they need, while not having to travel long distances to do so. Even many of my London-based clients choose to have online consultations, preferring to save the time it would take them to travel into clinic. As well as healthcare consultants, we’re also likely to see an increase in online personal training and workouts. The comfort of working out at home is especially appealing for those who find the atmosphere of a gym intimidating, while still benefiting from the accountability that comes from working with a trainer. Working with experts virtually also allows us to access professionals from around the world. From leading consultants in niche fields of health and medicine to Indian yoga teachers and low-cost personal trainers in countries like South Africa.
The global wellness industry is now worth $4.2 trillion USD with wellness tourism worth $639.4 in 2017 and growing by 6.5% annually. Holiday resorts are waking up to the demand, increasingly teaming up with health, wellness and fitness professionals to offer masters in residence programmes, attracting holidaymakers who wish to use their annual leave to do more than just sip cocktails on a beach. From leading Swiss clinic, Clinique La Prarie launching their Master Detox Programme to Shangri-La in the Maldives hosting fitness retreats, there is no end of offerings for those who want a healthy holiday but don’t find muddy bootcamps or restrictive juice detoxes appealing. While there are many luxury options available, retreats are no longer just for the rich and famous, with numerous easily accessible and affordable options in the UK and Europe, too, from yoga weekends in the country to wellness festivals where spiritual talks and group meditations replace beer and mosh-pits.
As meditation grows in popularity, the breathing practice mastered in the practice has become a wellness activity in and of itself. Diaphragmatic breathing is abdominal breathing (sometimes called ‘belly breathing’) and the exercise not only has meditative and relaxation benefits, but the practice also helps to strengthen your diaphragm, the muscle that is key to your breathing. Benefits of diaphragmatic breathing are thought to include stress reduction, lowering heart rate and blood pressure and improving core muscle stability. Group meditation sessions are a good place to get to grips with the techniques, or there are dozens of breathing apps available to offer guidance and daily practices, such as Prana Breath or Breathe2Relax.
The Great Environment Debate
Netflix and co may be on a mission to turn us all onto a plant-only diet with documentaries like What The Health but can it really save the planet? Eating a lot of meat isn’t advisable but nor, arguably, is the world turning vegan the answer to all of our environment’s challenges, due to the intensive farming techniques used to meet the increased demand for soya and maize. The answer? Another year of a hotly debated topic and further drives toward more sustainable diet and lifestyle processes. As with all these world challenges, change begins at home, so whether it’s cutting down on your food waste, dipping your toe into a grow-your-own lifestyle or cutting single-use plastic from your kitchen, every little helps.