The 5 Weirdest Wellness Trends Of 2020

To put it lightly, sh*t’s been weird these past eight months. If you think back to a year or two ago, we would leave our houses with a terrible cold without a second thought. (TBH, we’d even go out to the bar on antibiotics because “alcohol kills the germs”.) Now, you probably look back at your past self and wonder how you ever went through the day without washing your hands after every surface you touched, or ever stood less than six feet apart from a stranger. 

Wellness has had a big year, to say the least. A lot of the changes we’ve seen have been good (i.e. hand washing, virtual workouts—more of that, please!), but some have been just plain bizarre. Let’s take a look at some of the weirder wellness trends that have popped up while we ask ourselves, “Who is actually doing this?!”

1. Bee-Venom Therapy

One of the weirdest things to gain popularity in 2020 is bee-venom therapy, which claims that being stung by bees heals old or current injuries. Interesting; if I knew that, I wouldn’t have spent so much time running away from bees, screaming. BTER Foundation says that, “Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) is the therapeutic use of honey bee venom, either injected by stings from live bees or injected by needles.” It’s a practice that has been used for ages, but has recently become a topic of conversation and up for consideration for some since watching Netflix’s (Un)Well.  Getting stung by bees sounds more like a form of torture than therapy to me, but sure, let’s go with it. Beyond this form of therapy, bee venom itself can be found in the ingredients in skin care and other topical products. IDK, I thought the point was to save the bees, not to slather their venom on our skin.

2. CBD Everywhere 

There is literally CBD everywhere now. You can find CBD in drinks, snacks, lotions, bath bombs… the list goes on and on. Although CBD has been around for a while, we’re seeing it in more random sh*t than ever before as of late, and I gotta be honest, some of this stuff feels like a reach.

Like, there are activewear brands that sell CBD-infused leggings and sports bras. The infused fabrics are strategically placed throughout the garments to align with your major muscle groups. As you workout, the micro-capsules open to release CBD. Yes, CBD does help with muscle pain, but are you really going to feel it from your leggings? No studies have been done on the effectiveness of CBD clothing, so we can’t say for sure. Worst-case scenario, you get some cute leggings, I guess. 

But it doesn’t stop at leggings; CBD has even made its way into our toilet paper. And you thought the wildest 2020 toilet paper craze would be about the hoarding. I see your toilet paper hoarding of 2020, and I raise you: CBD-infused toilet paper. This TP says it “may relieve feelings of anxiety or improve quality of sleep.” I’ll stick with my gummies, thanks.

3. Ice Baths

Voluntarily freezing oneself in a body of water or shower is a wellness trend that’s having a resurgence we haven’t seen since the Ice Bucket Challenge. Although ice baths have been used in many different forms for years, they have grown in popularity during a time where most of us are concerned about their immune systems, thanks to Wim Hof, aka “The Iceman.” Gwyneth Paltrow featured Wim Hof’s methods on her Netflix series, The Goop Lab With Gwyneth Paltrow.

The ice baths have been credited with everything from optimizing athletic performance, to improving immunity, to managing symptoms of chronic disease and more.

Your vessels constrict because of the cold and open back up when your body warms up after the ice bath. This process helps to flush metabolic waste from your body, while also getting oxygen and nutrients to your muscles,” Hof’s website says. If you can’t give up your hot showers, the good news is that there hasn’t been a ton of research done on this particular method, and there are many other ways to improve immunity.

4. Ear Seeds

If your eyes are the window to your soul, your ears are apparently the gateway to wellness. They have pressure points that can help with issues such as chronic pain, migraines, and anxiety. (Anyone who’s gotten acupuncture in their ears can relate.) There are also pressure points that assist in quitting smoking and weight loss. Since 2020 has been the year of bettering ourselves in the health and wellness aspects, ear seeds are a godsend.  

I know what you’re thinking: WTF are ear seeds? They’re not just a tiny addition of sparkle you add to your ear. They’re literally small seeds used to stimulate pressure points in your ear. It’s like a type of acupuncture, but without the needles. Basically, you stick them on your ears, wear them for a few days, and, depending on the location you place them, they can help with all sorts of physical and mental issues. Whether for actual wellness needs or for a trendy accessory, wellness gurus and influencers alike have been sporting this cute accessory all throughout this past year.

5. Celery Juice

Celery juice is quite simple to understand. It’s literally just juiced celery, though some people add lemon or other fruit to get the dirt and grass taste out of it. This juice cleanse is supposed to help improve the function of the digestive tract, working as a natural laxative (sounds like a nightmare, yet intriguing ). It’s a cleanse many use daily, but according to Parsley Health, although there’s no harm in downing celery juice daily, it does not have much scientific backing yet—just a sh*t load of praise from celery juice addicts.

Image: rukxstockphoto / Shutterstock.com

Does Dry Brushing Do Anything? Here’s The Deal With This Wellness Trend

Self-care has never seemed as important as it has in the last few months, and with everyone having so much more time at home, there’s no excuse not to show your skin some love. Although wellness trends seem to be a dime a dozen, some of them are actually a worthy addition to your weekly routine, even if they don’t perform all of the miraculous functions they’re touted for. 

Dry brushing has been around for centuries as an ancient way to detox the body, increase circulation and aid in digestion. In recent years, it’s ridden the wellness wave into our homes as an easy way to reap major benefits and rid the body of toxins from the comfort of your own bathroom. But what is it, and does it actually work? We spoke to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adam Mamelak and pharmacist and natural health and wellness expert Dr. Lindsey Elmore to comb through the details (see what we did there!)

What Is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is a centuries-old practice that is well known in Ayurvedic healing. It employs a brush with stiff yet soft bristles and a wooden handle to softly and methodically brush away dead skin cells over large portions of the body. Although primarily an exfoliation practice, dry brushing has been plugged for potential detoxifying properties. It’s also been heralded as a way to miraculously brush away cellulite (if only it were that easy!). Unfortunately, there is no hard evidence to support the idea that dry brushing is the dream technique your tush has been looking for, but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of all benefits. 

What Are the Health Benefits?

That’s a bit of a gray area. It’s been said that dry brushing can help reduce cellulite, increase circulation, and detoxify the body. Wellness influencers and celebs alike have been drawn to this trend, with beauties like Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria’s Secret model Josephine Skriver adding it to their routines. Hell, even dream girl Cindy Crawford calls it a “miracle tool.” However, the results are mixed, and there isn’t much hard science to support all of the things you’ve heard. 

Dr. Mamelak says that “Exfoliation is by far the greatest benefit of skin brushing. The dry bristles help remove dead and flaky skin from the surface, leading to a brighter, healthier and more vibrant glow.” As we know, exfoliation is a great way to scrub away dead skin cells, unclog pores, and leave you with a more lively look. It is also thought to increase circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage, which would in turn encourage detoxification, says Dr. Mamalek. Dr Mamalek says “Rubbing the skin could theoretically increase circulation to the area and encourage lymph movement. While this could help encourage fluid movement in and out of the area, the brushing itself would not necessarily eliminate toxins from the body.” Dr. Elmore goes on to explain that by stimulating the skin’s lymphatic system through brushing, it could help to release waste and environmental toxins from cells.

When it comes to reducing cellulite, Dr. Elmore says, “Unfortunately, though many women swear by it, there is little to no evidence that dry skin brushing can improve the appearance of cellulite. What is likely happening is that the increased circulation makes the cellulite dimples plump up. 

How Do You Do it?

As the name suggests, neither the brush or the body should be wet. Use a brush with soft, yet stiff bristles and a wooden handle (this one from Goop is specifically designed for those hard-to-reach places). Dr. Elmore suggests starting at your feet, then “gently drag the brush bristles over the skin in sweeping patterns towards the heart.” She recommends adding this practice to your morning routine (before your shower) as it’s thought to have some energizing properties, and could give your skin a more vibrant appearance.  Dr. Mamelak recommends starting with 5-10 sweeping strokes per area of the body about 1-2 times per week.

Can Anyone Do it?

Although almost anyone can dry brush, Dr. Elmore says there are certainly some people who should exercise caution or avoid it altogether. If you have inflamed or irritated skin, or if you’re experiencing a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, it’s best to skip it. Also, she notes, you should definitely not use a dry brush on wounds or skin with an infection.

The Bottom Line?

Dry brushing is a fantastically effective way to exfoliate and reenergize dry or dull skin. It can also increase blood circulation and might help to support lymphatic drainage. If you want to add an easy, energizing and indulgent wellness practice to your routine, this is a great one to incorporate. All other miracle cures should be met with a skeptical eye.

Images: Zainchkovska Kateryna / Shutterstock.com

The Absolute Worst Wellness Trends Of The Past Decade

It’s no secret that we live in a society obsessed with wellness. According to one statistic, the global wellness market is estimated to reach $4.75 trillion in 2019. And while some wellness trends are genuinely beneficial, plenty are complete and utter bullsh*t. Read on for some of the worst wellness trends over the last 10 years.

2010: The Shake Weight

It’s hard to believe that just ten years ago, millions of people thought they could outsmart common sense science and lose weight by remaining sedentary and holding an oscillating weight for a few minutes each day. *Sigh* a girl can dream. Despite the claim that the Shake Weight can provide a total upper-body workout “in only 6 minutes per day,” this is highly unlikely. What it will do is make the holder look like they’re giving a hand job to a disembodied robot dick.

2011: HCG Diet

The HCG Diet involves taking the hormone HCG, eating a 500-700 calorie diet (not a typo) and forgoing exercise altogether, all for almost a month. There’s way too much to unpack here. First, altering your hormones is far from casual and should be a larger decision made under the care of a doctor. But even without that element, the diet is absolutely insane. The average woman needs to consume 2,000 calories per day to maintain weight and 1,500 calories to lose one pound per week. While these figures are obviously not one size fits all, suggesting that a person should eat one-third or half that amount is not sustainable and frankly, is probably starvation. And no exercise at all? Something’s not adding up here.

2012: Raw Food Diet

Not even Smith Jerrod could convince me to try this farce of a diet. Adoptees eat a diet, usually only plant-based, consisting of completely raw (that is, never heated over 104-118°F or 40-48°C) and unprocessed foods. I could eat 100 pounds of raw carrots and still be starving, so I do not understand how this diet is sustainable for more than one meal. If that weren’t unappealing enough, experts say that all of the slicing and dicing required to prepare raw foods actually strips them of many of the nutrients that proponents of the diet claim are lost to traditional cooking methods. Hard pass.

2013: Open Bar Gyms

I’m not here to ruin your good time on this one. In fact, I’m the first person to crave a cold, hard glass of Chardonnay after a moderately difficult grueling workout class. So why not save yourself the trip and have a one-stop shop in your gym? The issue is that alcohol decreases the level of glycogen in your muscles, which creates the energy the muscles need to repair and strengthen themselves, not to mention increase your metabolism. I guess there’s a reason most gyms don’t have a vodka fountain, and it’s because alcohol basically sabotages your workout. So as tempting as it might be to toss one back immediately after barre, opt for some water instead.

2014: Hot Exercise

We all have that one friend who swears by hot yoga and insists that she “doesn’t feel like she’s getting a real workout” unless she leaves the class in a pool of her own sweat. Unfortunately, these hot classes can do more harm than good. While many hot exercise classes turn the heat upwards of 100 degrees, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends temperatures between 68° and 72° F degrees for athletic facilities. In other words, there’s really no reason to make the room that hot, except for the false perception that you got a great workout because you sweated out half your water weight. Then there’s the risk of dehydration, heatstroke, and heat exhaustion. I’ll stick with my normal temperature yoga, TYVM.

2015: Vaginal Steaming

This list wouldn’t be complete without an entry from our favorite pseudo-medical professional wellness expert, Gwyneth Paltrow. In 2015, she recommended that women steam their vaginas, claiming “It is an energetic release—not just a steam douche—that balances female hormone levels.” The hormone claim is patently false. But that’s the least of the troubles with this bogus trend. First and foremost, the vagina doesn’t need help regulating itself. Second, steaming raises body temperature, opening the door for unwanted bacteria and yeast and poor lubrication. No thanks. And finally there’s the risk of, you know, burning your cooch. As with most things Gwyneth says, you should probably ignore this one.

2016: Detox Teas

Detox teas are yet another product of dubious efficacy shilled by celebrities and, in this case, Bachelor rejects, Kardashian-Jenners, and Real Housewives. Funnily enough, none of the #ads promoting these products show the user sitting on the toilet, even though that’s where these teas will take you. As we’ve explained before, detox teas are essentially liquid laxatives, and prolonged use can cause diarrhea, cramps, dysfunction of the bowels, and dependence on the laxatives. Yikes.

2017: Activated Charcoal

I’ve never really understood this one. The idea of drinking a black smoothie, or worse, brushing my teeth with black toothpaste never really held much appeal. I can kind of see where we went wrong with thinking this would be a wellness product, since activated charcoal is most commonly used in the case of an overdose because of its ability to absorb toxins. But as far as its detoxing properties go, there’s no need to use it to filter out toxins because we have kidneys and a liver to do exactly that. There’s also no clear evidence that it whitens teeth, clears acne, or controls odors. Even worse, it can reduce the effectiveness of certain medications. So basically, it makes you look demonic in pictures and that’s about all we can guarantee.

2018: Colonics

Continuing the theme of completely unnecessary detoxing procedures is colonics, popularized by, you guessed it, the GOOP-meister herself. Colonics are procedures that flush your colon with water in an effort to detox the body. As we’ve covered above, our bodies are more than capable of purging themselves of toxins without any outside help. In addition, colonics can cause cramping, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance, rectal tears and even death. Just a few more reasons to spare your butthole.

2019: Vaping

Despite the douche factor, as vaping began trending, it was thought to be a healthier alternative to smoking. And when used as a means to quit cigarettes and other tobacco products, it may be effective, though it hasn’t been approved by the FDA for this purpose. We are, however, starting to see its risks. Just a month ago, a study found that Juul e-cigarettes deliver nicotine similarly to regular cigarettes. Considering that teenagers are some of the biggest users of e-cigarettes, this raises the concern that e-cigarettes are creating a whole new customer base of nicotine addicts, some of whom will eventually either turn to regular cigarettes or supplement their vaping with smoking. Then there’s the potential link between vaping and lung disease, and the instances of people who have ended up in the hospital because of vaping. While there’s still a lot we don’t know, it’s safe to say that vaping is far from the miracle it was originally thought to be (and still incredibly douchey).

If this list is any indication, our collective obsession with wellness, no matter how absurd, will continue for many decades to come. What other ridiculous wellness trends have you noticed over the past decade? Sound off in the comments!

Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (10)

The 2019 Health Trends We’re Looking Forward To In The New Year

Just like Shake Weights came into our lives unexpectedly (and uninvited) back in 2010, so do a lot of other weird fitness trends. 2018 is basically over, which means we’re already looking to 2019 for new ways to magically improve our lives. While the past year was all about wearable fitness trackers and High Intensity Interval training, the upcoming 2019 health trends are predicting a little variation on the fitness trends we’ve come to know and love (or hate, depending on who you are as a person). There’s already a bunch of incredible and weird upcoming 2019 health trends to look forward to. While I’m sure that fitness influencers will have no shortage of bizarre health trends to try to push on us in the new year, I’m choosing to focus on the 2019 health trends I can actually get behind. Here’s what we can look forward to in the new year.

1. Shorter Workouts

THANK GOD. No more dying a slow death by losing our breath on the StairMaster anymore. Fitness experts are saying that we can decrease the amount of time we work out if we just work out the right way at the right intensity. Think of all of the things you can do if you only exercise for 15 minutes a day. You can spend those leftover 45 minutes ruining your diet eating delicious post-workout food!

2. Fitness Streaming Services

Fitness streaming services are giving gyms a run for their money (see what I did there?). There’s no need to go to the gym anymore when you can just stream a good workout from your phone, TV, or laptop. Exercising from the comfort of our apartments in 2019? Sign me tf up. Some awesome workout streaming services include CorePower Yoga, Peloton Digital, ALO Moves, or MNDFL Video. If you’re balling and have a ton of money to blow, get that interactive fitness MIRROR for $2,000.

3. Vibrations

No, not the type of vibration you’re thinking of… although that could burn calories too. Vibration therapy and percussion guns were trendy in 2018 and will stay throughout next year to continue to stimulate and loosen our aching muscles. These vibrations help to penetrate deep into your skin, tissues, and muscles to recover and repair your body pre- and post-workout. Time to whip out your vibrator wand for the right reasons!

4. Sleep

This is another amazing trend that we totally approve of. Sleep is a vital part of any wellness routine—specifically, how well we sleep, including how long we sleep for, how long we stay asleep for, and how deep our sleep is. The real trend here involves managing and tracking our sleep through wearable devices and mobile apps that enable us to analyze just how many quality Zzzs we’re actually catching every night. Fitbit, Beautyrest, S+, and Beddit are just a few of the more popular sleep trackers available. Some will even sync with your Apple Watch.

5. Treadmill Classes

Yup, you read that right. You already know about the cycling/SoulCycle craze that took over the world last year. According to ClassPass, we’re kicking bicycles to the curb and hopping back on those treadmills. But they won’t be boring this time around. Group treadmill classes are a new trend that will get you, your friends, and a bunch of old ladies in shape in no time.

6. Personal Training

Maybe you hate the gym. Or maybe you hate the idea of working out and getting all sweaty in front of strangers. Well, personal training is predicted to become way more popular over the next 365 days. Everyone has different needs, both in terms of diet AND fitness. Certified personal trainers are here tell us what to eat, kick our asses and give us six-packs, and transform us into better, healthier versions of our 2018 selves.

Images: Spencer Dahl / Unsplash