There’s been a shift in the wellness world that’s come in the past two years. People are focusing more on their overall wellbeing and the idea of what it means to be “well” has changed. The definition of wellness is no longer exclusive to fitness and exercise. In fact, a mind-blowing 75% of Americans say they have a better understanding of the connection between physical activity and mental health.1

There is also a growing part of the population that understands how gut health impacts overall physical and mental health. These two concepts are what will encompass health and wellness trends in 2022. However, these trends are nothing new. Some of these health and wellness trends have been practiced in functional medicine for decades. 

From gut health to mindful vacationing, let me tell you what I believe will be the biggest health and wellness trends in 2022. 

Contents hide
Health and Wellness Trends – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®Health and Wellness Trends - Infographic - Amy Myers MD® https://www.amymyersmd.com/article/health-wellness-trends-2022/Health and Wellness Trends – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®

A Focus On Gut Health

More people will focus on gut health as part of their health and wellness goals in 2022. However, if you’ve been following me for any amount of time you’ve likely heard me talk about how your gut is the gateway to your health. 

It’s a major part of your digestive system, yet it also is a key player in your immune health and brain health. If your gut health is compromised, it can lead to an array of issues that you may not know originate in your gut, such as seasonal allergies, hormonal imbalances, mood imbalances or even autoimmune disease

As a matter of fact, healing your gut is the first pillar of The Myers Way®. This proven method is based in functional medicine, a medical approach that looks at how the body’s systems interact and seeks to get to functioning optimally. We look at the body as a whole instead of a bunch of different systems. 

If gut health is your focus in 2022 I recommend taking the 4R approach to healing your gut. Here’s a quick summary: 

  1. Remove the bad – Get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract, such as inflammatory and toxic foods, and intestinal infections such as yeast overgrowth and SIBO.  
  2. Restore what’s missing — Adding digestive enzymes and HCL to your daily regimen will help support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as assist your body’s intestinal repair and inflammation responses. 
  3. Reinoculate with healthy bacteria — Restore beneficial bacteria with probiotics to re-establish a healthy balance of good bacteria to heal your gut. 
  4. Repair the gut — Provide nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself. L-glutamine is an amino acid that will support gut lining. Drinking bone broth or collagen will also help to heal your gut, as will supplementing with omega-3s and zinc.

Toxic-Free/Eco-Friendly Living

Toxic-free products will become more popular this year. A growing health and wellness trend recently is ditching conventional cleaning supplies, beauty products, and plastic food storage containers. I expect it to pick up steam in 2022. 

Toxins are commonly found in home cleaning products, body products, cookware, and even clothing! A toxin is a poison that is dangerous to both your body and the earth. While it’s nearly impossible to completely avoid toxins, you can lighten your body’s toxic burden by keeping your home environment as clean as possible. That means using toxic-free cleaning supplies, beauty products, and clothing, and using glass storage containers.  

Focus on Immune System Health 

It’s no surprise more of you are putting a larger emphasis on your immune health. The Covid-19 pandemic has put immune health center stage. I expect this health and wellness trend to be a big one in 2022, and with good reason. Remember that your gut health impacts your immune system. That’s because over 80% of your immune system lives in your gut. Without a healthy gut, you can not have a healthy immune system. 

Your immune system is a network of cells, organs, and tissues that work harmoniously to fight off infections and disease. When bacteria or a virus enter a healthy body, your immune system sends out antibodies to defend against foreign invaders. 

Supporting your immune system is really quite simple. The best way to support your immune response is to supply your body with all the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients it needs. Natural ways to support your immune system include: 

  • Healing your gut
  • Eating foods high in zinc such as grass-fed beef, foods rich in vitamin C such as watermelon and leafy green vegetables, ginger, and bone broth. 
  • Reducing stress by meditating, listening to music, or exercising
  • Getting optimal sleep

These days, added stress and environmental toxins mean our bodies require more immune-supporting nutrients than ever before. And to make matters more complicated, many of those same immune-supporting nutrients are incredibly difficult to get from diet alone.

Alternative Therapies

Cryotherapy has been a growing health and wellness trend for a few years. This alternative therapy has numerous benefits from weight loss, reducing inflammation, supporting your immune system, and recovery from exercise. As cryotherapy has grown in popularity, other forms of alternative therapy have started popping up. Alternative therapies will be a fast-growing health and wellness trend in 2022. Here are some of the ones I’ve recently discovered: 

Float Therapy

Float therapy, also known as restricted environment stimulation technique (REST), involves floating in a tank of warm water with a high concentration of epsom salts to put a person in a relaxed state. Epsom salts are high in magnesium, which supports a healthy inflammatory response, muscle recovery, boosts metabolism, and supports brain health.  

By reducing the force of gravity on the body, float therapy can ease pressure on the joints and muscles. Many people report calmness, tranquility, and total mind and body rejuvenation after a float therapy session. 

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy was developed as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and has been used to reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling.2

The word cryotherapy literally means “cold therapy.” It is an umbrella term for a range of therapies that use extreme cold as a form of treatment.

This type of therapy is usually done in your underwear while wearing gloves and slippers to protect your hands and feet. When you are in a cryogenic chamber, your body is exposed to extreme cold temperatures between -200 and -280 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Contrast Bath Therapy

Contrast bath therapy is gaining popularity in the United States. It involves immersing all or part of the body in hot water at a temperature between 98-110 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by cold water immersion of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Most physical therapists provide this therapy by alternating three minutes in cold water and two minutes in hot water for a total of 15 minutes. 

Research suggests one of the benefits of this type of immersion therapy is that it increases blood flow. Hot water causes your blood vessels to widen, and cold water causes them to narrow, improving blood circulation.3

Furthermore, studies suggest that contrast bath therapy supports the lymphatic system, which can help speed up injury recovery. Unlike your circulatory system, your lymphatic system doesn’t have a central pump. By alternating hot and cold, the lymphatic system moves fluid out of the injured area, which creates a healthy inflammatory response, leading to a reduction in swelling.4

Cold Plunges

Cold plunges, also known as ice baths, are a fast growing health and wellness trend. This type of therapy is exactly what its name suggests: plunging in cold water that’s roughly 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 2 minutes.

This type of therapy has many benefits from immune system support, boosting metabolism, promoting optimal sleep, supporting a healthy inflammatory response, and affects your mood by boosting the release of happy hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine.5

It’s becoming so popular that specialized cold plunge tubs for your home are showing up everywhere. Unfortunately, they are very expensive and can cost up to $5,000. You don’t really need an expensive tub to reap the benefits of a cold plunge. You can fill your regular bathtub with cold water and ice. 

Mindful Drinking

One health and wellness trend that should be big in 2022 is mindful drinking. People are reevaluating their relationship with alcohol and being more mindful about the long-term effects it has on your body. Mindful drinking is the practice of being aware of why and how much alcohol you drink. 

Your body can process approximately one drink per hour. The time it takes your body to metabolize a drink ultimately depends on the type of drink you consume. For example, a pint of beer can take up to two hours to digest, while a small shot of liquor can take up to one hour. The longer alcohol is in your body, the stronger effect it has.

Here is how to practice mindful drinking in 2022: 

  • Pause and evaluate whether each drink is needed
  • Prepare in advance to know how much alcohol you want to consume
  • Order first 
  • Rehearse how you tell people you’re ordering sparkling water or not having a drink
  • Savor your drink. 

It’s important to remember alcohol is a toxin. As a matter of fact, there are two toxins in alcohol the body has to work hard to eliminate. These are acetaldehyde and acetic acid. The form found in most alcoholic beverages is known as ethyl alcohol, which is produced during the fermentation process. Activated charcoal can help “mop up” the toxic aftermath of drinking alcohol. 

Tracking Your Mood

You likely remember when fitness trackers were all the rave. Well, a new type of tracker is going to be popular in 2022 – mood trackers. This health and wellness trend is popular as more people seek to be mindful of trends in their moods. A mood tracker is a tool that is used to record your mood each day. The purpose is to look for patterns or how your mood changes due to situations and circumstances. 

Tracking your mood can be as easy as writing in a daily planner or journal or keeping a chart and noting any factors or symptoms that could affect your mood. There are a number of mood tracker apps for your phone, but they are limited and may only focus on being happy or sad. Some apps come with a subscription while others are free. It’s best to find one that fits what you are looking for such as if it tracks diet, activity, and sleep or if it just records your mood and feelings. 

Ashwagandha

One trend I noticed towards the end of 2021 was the number of ashwagandha supplements popping up at my local grocery store. Ashwagandha is a shrub found in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. It’s been used in Eastern medicine for centuries because of its benefits to mental and physical health.6 

Studies have found that ashwagandha can help manage stress, promote a healthy inflammatory response, and support your heart and brain health.7

I expect ashwagandha to grow more popular as more people focus on mindfulness and reducing stress. 

ZenAdapt™ is my adaptogenic herbal blend to help you with managing stress and formulated with botanical ingredients such as ashwagandha and other micronutrients to support optimal cortisol levels to promote a balanced stress response.

Bathing Rituals

One health and wellness trend that I see picking up steam in 2022 is the creation of bathtime rituals as part of bedtime routines. Who doesn’t love a good bath? Whenever I’m feeling stressed or have had a long day, nothing beats taking a hot bath with homemade bath salts with some relaxing music in the background. 

Research shows that a 30-minute bath in water that’s 104 degrees Fahrenheit can improve depression levels.8

A warm bath can also lower stress hormone levels and improve your overall mood. 

Mindful Vacationing

As with most of the health and wellness trends to watch in 2022, mindfulness is front and center when it comes to vacations. People are ditching itineraries, busy beaches and amusement parks, and rigorous plans for vacations that encourage peacefulness. Some of these include a cross-country road trip camping in national and state parks or taking weekend getaways to a nearby destination. 

The idea is to get away from the stressors of everyday life and find peacefulness. Here are some tips on how to make your next vacation more mindful: 

  • Welcome adventure by taking a detour on a country road or getting rid of your plans. 
  • Put away your camera, especially if it’s on your phone. 
  • Enjoy nature by taking a moment to stop and look around. 
  • Put the focus on the quality of your activities, not how many you can fit in.

I love the idea of getting away from the constant distractions. It is a great way to reset and take care of yourself. 

Being mindful about your health is the perfect way to get on the path of optimal health. While these new “trends” aren’t really that new to functional medicine, it’s encouraging to see that people are beginning to notice how their physical and mental health are connected. Whatever your health and wellness goals are, I invite you to try these new health and wellness trends as you take back your health in 2022.

Join my newsletter and get $10 OFF plus a FREE eBook! Get your recipes now.

 

Article Sources

  1. Exercise linked to improved mental health, but more may not always be better. Science Daily. 2018.
  2. Local Cryotherapy, Comparison of Cold Air and Ice Massage on Pain and Handgrip Strength in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Nadica Laktašić Žerjavić, et al. Psychiatria Danubina vol. 33. 2021.
  3. Contrast Water Therapy and Exercise Induced Muscle Damage: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. François Bieuzen, et al. PLOS One Journal. 2013.
  4. Contrast Therapy Does Not Cause Fluctuations in Human Gastrocnemius Intramuscular Temperature. Diana Higgins ATC and Thomas W. Kaminski, PhD. Journal of Athletic Training. 1998.
  5. Why Cold Plunge. The Cold Plunge. 2021.
  6. What are the benefits of ashwagandha?. Debra Rose Wilson, PhD. Medical News Today. 2020.
  7. An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Narendra Singh, et al. African journal of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines. 2011.
  8. 4 Reasons to Take a Bath. Cleveland Clinic. 2020.