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In 2016, healthy living became a huge trend, which is one piece of positive news at the end of an overwhelmingly anxiety-inducing year. We started drinking matcha, using coconut oil for everything and buying apple cider vinegar in bulk. So, what’s next in this wonderful, sometimes weird world of wellness? Here, 12 health trends that will be huge in 2017.
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Wellness vacations As writer Sadie Stein recently posited in the New York Times, "We live in a golden age of the wellness vacation, a sort of hybrid retreat, boot camp, spa and roving therapy session that, for the cost of room and board, promises to refresh body and mind and send you back to your life more whole." Whether this trend appeals to you or, as with the aforementioned writer, you're wondering "whatever happened to a good book and a martini?" it's going to be everywhere you look in 2017. Companies such as Well & Being are bringing customized fitness, nutrition, integrative medicine, mind-body therapies, and advanced skin care to luxury resorts, and even everyday hotels are dipping a toe into the game—select Marriotts and MGM Grands now offer Stay Well rooms, which feature amenities such as air purifiers, organic mattresses, and posture-supportive flooring, for a $30 upgrade.
Dream meditation As a trend, meditation reached critical mass in 2016. So it only makes sense that 2017 would take it to the next level. One company, Dream Reality Cinema, is hoping to help us do so by teaching us how to lucid dream (think, Inception). According to founder (and cybernetics researcher) Sandor Lengyel, Dream Reality Cinema is "the ultimate brain hack," one which promises to unlock information stored in the subconscious while helping with sleep and stress disorders. In an increasingly chaotic world, we'd certainly pay the $45 price of admission for a regular nap—if it helps us "master our lives by mastering our dreams" in the process, all the better.
Black garlic Black garlic comes to us via Asia, where it's long been touted for its health benefits. Created through a process similar to fermentation, it boasts twice the antioxidant levels of unfermented garlic, according to some studies. Black garlic can be used in cooking the same way as roasted garlic. You can buy it at select Whole Foods markets or online at Black Garlic City.
Adaptogens Adaptogens are a specific class of plants known for their ability to heal the body's adrenal system, thereby helping it cope with stress. We call them adaptogens because they're able to identify the specific needs of your body and act accordingly. They've been utilized in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Ashwagandha is the buzziest of the adaptogens at present—it's noted for improving sleep and anxiety disorders. Other adaptogens include astragalus (cortisol reduction), tulsi (anti-aging) maca, Rhodiola, and more. You can buy most in supplement form.
Magnesium We keep hearing that Americans are deficient in magnesium, which can cause negative side effects like muscle cramping and insomnia. You can buy magnesium oil or take supplements—either is recommended nightly. Epsom salt baths are also a great, and perhaps unexpected, way to up your magnesium levels.
Palo santo The ancient practice of smudging, or purifying a room with the smoke of certain sacred items, is thought to clear negative energy from a space. Palo Santo is a sacred wood used for this purpose—it's in the same family as myrrh and frankincense. Sage is also an option. We're obsessed with Earth + Element's Holy Dust, a heavenly mix of Palo Santo, Lavender, Rosemary, Myrrh, and Wild Sage.
Mushrooms To gain some insight into the growing mushroom trend, we spoke to Four Sigmatic founder Tero Isokauppila. "Mushrooms have been staples among hard-core health enthusiasts for decades, but now they're starting to have a real moment among mainstream consumers," he said. "This makes total sense as their ability to protect our bodies from toxins and help balance out the stressors we constantly face has never been needed as much as today. The two trendiest right now are Chaga, which can help fight pathogens and lower inflammation, and lion's mane, touted for its possible brain and nervous system protecting properties. More and more companies are offering food options (like our mushroom coffee) that give you an easy way to enjoy healing benefits."
Akashic record readings This one's a little out there, but whenever we start to hear buzz among the spiritual sect in Los Angeles about something, we know it's only a matter of time before it hits the (wellness) mainstream. According to author Alice A. Bailey, "The akashic record is like an immense photographic film, registering all the desires and earth experiences of our planet … The life experiences of every human being since time began, the reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom, the aggregation of the thought-forms of a karmic nature (based on desire) of every human unit throughout time." Wowser. In L.A., groups of people are meeting to access this record as a means for personal enlightenment and clarity. If you're interested in learning more, we suggest picking up a copy of "Why We Are Born," by Akemi G.
Avocado oil Make room next to your coconut oil for this trendy substance, made from the flesh of avocados. It's light in flavor but rich in benefits—it's high in oleic acid, monounsaturated fats, vitamins D, E and A, antioxidants, and even magnesium. Some studies show that avocado oil has the unique ability to improve the function of our cells, and it may help to reduce gum disease and symptoms of arthritis.
Flotation therapy This one has come a long way as of late. In the six or so months since this writer first tried it this past spring, fancy float studios like Pause in L.A. have begun to pop up everywhere, making the isolation tank experience more spa-like than extreme. Regular float sessions have been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and pain and improve sleep quality. We're obsessed.
Nutritional yeast Nutritional yeast, aka "nooch," is an inactive, pasteurized form of the same yeast strain bakers use to leaven bread. It's favored by vegans for its cheese-like taste and high-protein content. You can sprinkle it onto salads, roasted veggies, pasta, and more.
Sound baths Sound baths might not be for everyone, but this insomnia-plagued writer swears by them. The increasingly trendy form of meditation utilizes crystal bowls, which are "played" with a mallet in various patterns. This type of sound therapy is said to reduce anxiety and pain and aid sleep disorders.