Never have we been more dedicated to the pursuit of holistic health than over the past decade. We’ve cupped the skin on our backs, pulled coconut oil through our teeth, traded stilettos for sneakers, moved standing desks into our home offices and propagated vegetable gardens on our window sills, extended meat-free Mondays to better integrated plant-based diets, tracked and biohacked our steps and snores, obsessed over the latest and most powerful superfood and haven’t been shy to explore ideas around pleasure and psychedelics.
We want everything we put in and on our bodies to stave off illness and stress and delay our mortality, and it’s changing the way we travel, what we stock in our bathroom cabinets and how we try to stay young.
As a result we’re either zigzagging between ancient wisdoms and hi tech to check every box as the pandemic accelerates or affects the latest trends. Here are four you can expect to see more of in the next year.
1. Beyond the spa: treatments are moving out of dedicated rooms
Transformative therapy is becoming more sought after than the standard, traditional treatments. There will always be a place for the half-day experience to sort out an ache or pain, but centres are inviting you to spend more time with them (book a half-to-full week) to better see how we move, play and self-regulate so we can heal somatically, spiritually and mentally. It’s not just about removing a knot from an overworked neck muscle during a hot stone massage.
Breathing exercises, sound healing and creative workshops, or experiences that give you the tools to create lasting changes and habits will be as commonplace as a body wrap or scrub.
Luxury sanctuary Sterrekopje in Franschhoek offers retreats and journeys with similar holistic practices and also encourages outdoor bathing and yoga, farm walks, pottery classes, fire ceremonies and more to rest and restore your body back to its factory settings.
2. Wellness travel: resetting in nature trumps retail therapy
There’s been a marked shift in mindset when it comes to travel. So says a recent New York Times feature focused on “Travel as Healing”. It shared an American Express survey which found that the majority of respondents are hungry for holidays that will “improve their wellbeing” and are even willing “to pay extra for these services or activities”.
Nature and the space to breathe will continue to be the new luxury, with high-net worth individuals booking private villas or entire hotel floors, incorporating wellness regimes with health-focused fine dining as top priorities, and even choosing accommodation with in-room gyms.
3. Pins and needles: acupressure may be as beneficial as acupuncture
A practice from Traditional Chinese medicine is now available for same-day delivery in 24-carat gold or Swarovski crystal. Ear seeds, which look like tiny piercings are placed in your ear (DIY or by a professional) to stimulate the nervous system and “relieve insomnia, pain, stress, digestive issues, and more”, according to Allure, the US-based women’s magazine.
In the same article, Daphne Lim, an acupuncturist based in Los Angeles says that “ear seeding is a form of auriculotherapy — a system [that] sees the ear as a way to access the entire body — that uses tiny vaccaria seeds or metal balls and adheres them to energy points on the ear to affect the body and energy systems”.
4. Alternative healing: once controversial, now mainstream
First there was the cannabis revolution, which is now gaining renewed interest and now there is the potential decriminalisation of the use of certain mushrooms. From functional or medicinal morels (no hallucinations and totally legal) to psychedelic toadstools, healing properties of fungus are being celebrated by many brands and practitioners.
You can spoon a sachet of different types of powdered adaptogenic mushrooms into your hot drink of choice for a number of benefits that could include combating the effects of stress, helping to balance blood sugar levels and cholesterol and boosting your immune system and gut health, according to the New York Times Style Magazine.
On the racier side, microdosing or treating individuals with mushrooms containing psilocybin are being trialled to relieve anxiety and depression at places such as Johns Hopkins Medicine.