WELLNESS TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2017

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While 2016 hailed wellness trends ranging from home sanctuaries to health-inspired vacations, as well as food superstars like turmeric root and avocado, 2017 beckons wellness trends that are cost-effective and awe-inspiring. Explore the newest and brightest trends in wellness, from forest bathing to moringa.

 FOREST BATHING

If you thought gallivanting aimlessly around a forest was only for fairies or festival-goers, think again. In the 1980s, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries created the term Shinrin-yoku, due to the growing popularity of “taking in the atmosphere of the forest” for health reasons.  Forest bathing is the “process of soaking up the sights, smells and sounds of a natural setting to promote physiological and psychological health.” While spending time amongst trees is likely an ancient healing practice, forest bathing is blossoming into a proven and popular preventative medicine practice. Forest bathing does not involve reaching a destination. Rather, it entails soaking in the vibrations and quietude of resilient, life-giving trees.

 INTENTION HEALING

You may have heard of the placebo effect: it is well known for its disruptive impact during clinical trials. Now, there is growing interest in the psychology and science behind the placebo effect, due to its “intention healing” potential. Placebo effect is the when you give a patient a fake treatment and the patient’s condition improves. Research on the placebo effect has focused on the relationship of mind and body… If a person expects a pill to do something, then it’s possible that the body’s own chemistry can cause effects similar to what a medication might have caused. it may be possible for humans to activate a healing response with intention alone. Conversely, actively worrying about your health may increase your chances of illness.. Healing with intention is growing in popularity as people question the “pop-a-pill,” band-aid remedies of Western medicine. For your ally is the Healing Force, and a powerful ally it is.

 SMUDGING

Smudging is used to clear negative energy from a person or place and invite in peace, harmony and fortune, usually through ceremony. Humans have used the smoke of medicinal plants, such as sage and palo santo, for centuries. Smudging is a trending search term and was even featured in Vogue as a tool for “spiritual hygiene.” While the ceremonial aspects of smudging tap into the psychology of positive intention setting, smoke from medicinal plants is also the focus of studies on drug delivery. According to the study, “the advantages of smoke-based remedies are rapid delivery to the brain, more efficient absorption by the body and lower costs of production.” Regarding wellness, our ancestors knew that where there was smoke there was fire.

 HYPNOTHERAPY

Notorious for its entertainment value, the ancient practice of hypnotherapy is resurging as an effective tool for anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and pain. Hypnosis is a natural, yet altered state in which we access the subconscious mind. In hypnotherapy, we utilize this state to reprogram the mind for what we want to happen. During hypnosis, weakened connections in the region normally connected to self-consciousness may liberate patients to do or say things beyond their norm. Several studies have found hypnosis relieves pain and anxiety; it is an effective treatment tool for symptoms associated with severe chronic diseases and cancer. Hypnosis reached celebrity status in 2016 and grew in popularity as variations of traditional hypnotherapy emerge, such as past life regression hypnotherapy. Not everyone is susceptible to hypnotherapy but if you are, it might change your life for the better.

 SENSORY DEPRIVATION

Sensory deprivation tanks (aka “float tanks) are the new high for the health conscious. Imagine climbing into a capsule-like bathtub, filled with warm saltwater, and closing the lid. The water contains approximately 1,000 pounds of magnesium sulphate, or Epsom salt, known to detoxify the body and reduce inflammation. Lacking light and sound, in today’s constant flow of sensory inundation, float tanks induce a deep state of relaxation. This state of relaxation, known as Theta mode, is connected to dreaming, creativity, ideation and cultivating calm. With 172 centres worldwide, and over half of those opening in the last year, float tanks are the new quick fix for the monkey mind.

 MORINGA

Hailed as a “nutritional Swiss Army Knife”, Moringa oleifera is a resilient tree with potent health benefits. Joint research efforts over the last decade found that “the tree’s leaves and pods have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties, and may also contain enzymes that protect against cancer.” It reduces fatigue, boots immune function and aids digestion. There are 13 known species of Moringa across Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Africa. Its edible leaves are rich in protein, iron, amino acids, antioxidants, and Vitamins A, B and C. Vegetable oil may be derived from its seeds and the leftover seeds can be used to purify water. Moringa is now available at health food stores and the market is expected to grow. The plant is extremely resilient: it grows in harsh conditions, ranging from drought to mild frost, at an astounding rate of one foot per month. The nutrient-dense tree could help fight famine and malnutrition

 CRYSTAL HEALING

Crystals are everywhere: makeup and drinking water are now infused with them, spa services incorporate them into foot baths and massages, and people are donning them for self-healing and self-expression purposes alike. In theory, each type of crystal or gemstone is associated with a set of spiritual characteristics and healing properties. For example, rose quartz is associated with the heart, compassion, comfort and is used to heal heartbreak. Crystals may be placed on the body during massage, Reiki or meditation; they also may be worn on the body as jewellery or featured in a space to reinforce an intention, such as increased creativity in your workspace. While crystal healing is not acknowledged by Western medicine, the concept of crystals as conduits of energetic healing dates centuries . Whether you are actually balancing your chakras or inducing a placebo effect, crystals are an effective tool for stress management. Don’t forget to cleanse and charge your crystals under the light of a full moon or in running water.

 SOUND HEALING

Sound is a fast track to the heart. Have you ever heard a song or instrument solo that moved you to tears or resurrected distant memories? As it pertains to wellness, the power of sound is experiencing a new crescendo. Sound as therapy may help people relax and heal.  Sound can be used to rebalance the nervous system, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and balance the right and left sides of the brain, creating a state of calm…through the principles of entrainment and resonant frequency.  Usually calculated in Hertz, everything has a resonant frequency or “frequency footprint,” including humans, bacteria and even the Earth. Through the concepts of entrainment and resonant frequency, sound therapy intentionally soothes brainwaves into a slower rhythm or oscillation pattern, thus inducing a state of calm.

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