From breathing better to living healthier, here are some of this year’s health trends to keep your eye on – or even try.

The year is in full swing, but right now is the point where a lot of health goals start to sputter and fail. Instead of trying to muscle through with an extra dose of determination, try adding a little variety to your workout instead because it’s not always about ticking off miles on the treadmill. To help, we’re taking a look at some of this year’s biggest health trends. 

1. Holotropic Breathwork®

Holotropic Breathwork® isn’t necessarily new, but it’s gaining a lot of steam in 2020. Essentially, Holotropic Breathwork® is a practice first developed by psychiatrists Stanislav and Christina Grof in the 1970s that involves controlling one’s breathing patterns to influence mental, emotional, and physical states. 

The practice comes from the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “trepein” (to move toward), the word “holotropic” translates to “moving toward wholeness.” And helping people move towards a state of transcendence is exactly what it aims to do. During holotropic breathwork, participants breathe rapidly to induce an altered state of consciousness that, in turn, produces a deeper understanding of oneself. This occurs throughout the session as the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen changes within the body. Consider it a form of meditation offered by trained facilitators and conducted as you lie with your eyes closed.

What we love about Holotropic Breathwork® is that it’s designed to help people heal emotionally and grow personally through its potential to bring about improved self-awareness and a newfound, positive outlook on life. Plus, the practice may also lead to physical benefits as well. To get started, we recommend finding a trained facilitator as the experience can be both intense and emotional. Facilitators aren’t just there to guide you – they can support and help you as new emotions arise. For more information, you can click here. Or if you want to find a Holotropic Breathwork® event near you, click here

2. Restorative Biohacking. 

If you know us, you know how much we love biohacking. But biohacking isn’t simply a catch-all term. It can take on many flavors depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Restorative is a specific kind of biohacking that’s focused on helping your body recover and become fitter, faster, and stronger. 

Optimizing your body for physical performance means pushing it to new limits, and this comes with a lot of incredible benefits, including muscle growth, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and better overall cardiovascular health. Sound good? Of course it does! But far too often we forget to budget in sufficient time to let our bodies rest and recover enough for those changes to take place before we hit the rinse and repeat button. That’s why restorative biohacking is becoming so popular in 2020 – it’s designed to help you recover with an emphasis on nutrition, sleep, stress, and healing. Here’s how. 

Active Recovery

Post-workout recovery helps you increase your overall health as you increase your heart rate. It can also help your body stay injury-free as you demand more out of it. However, active is the operative word here. Active recovery doesn’t mean taking a day off to watch Netflix and eat whatever you want. Yes, the human body needs rest, but it needs active rest. This means taking a day to help your muscles repair and rejuvenate – but doing it strategically. Consider meditating, eating right, and finding low impact ways to keep your body moving. Do some light cardio, go on a longer walk, or opt for the stairs instead of the elevator at work. The goal is to turn all those hours you put in at the gym into twice the results. 

Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy doesn’t just improve physical performance, it also prevents muscle soreness and fatigue after workouts. That’s why so many athletes and trainers are incorporating this infrared light technique into their daily workout routines in 2020. With its clinically-proven ability to enhance muscle recovery and growth while also cutting down on pain and injuries, you might want to give it a try too. 

Cryotherapy

Bringing your body temperature down to freezing temperatures that force it into survival mode might sound like a nightmare, but it’s actually really good for you. That’s because freezing temperatures redirect blood flow from the extremities to your core, creating a rebound effect after the session. This recirculation delivers nutrient-rich blood to your muscles and joints and delivers a wide range of benefits, including faster recovery times, general pain relief, more flexibility, and increased weight loss.

3. Kundalini Yoga 

You might have heard about Kundalini Yoga before. That’s because the practice has become so popular over the last year or two – and for good reason. Kundalini Yoga and Kundalini meditation go hand in hand during sessions that are focused on increasing self-awareness. 

A Kundalini Yoga class consists of breathing techniques, body awareness, and a focus on Kundalini energy, which correlates directly with the meaning behind the practice’s name: a spiritual energy – a life force located at the base of the spine. Kundalini was brought to the United States by Yogi Bhajan in the late 1960s. 

Kundalini, for beginners, might seem like many other yoga practices with a series of different poses. However, Kundalini Yoga differs in one important aspect: an emphasis on self-awareness. This is achieved through dynamic breathing techniques and a mantra that practitioners repeat audibly or internally as the session progresses. In addition to a stronger sense of self-awareness, Kundalini Yoga also strengthens the nervous system through continually holding poses for extended periods of time. So if you feel your body shaking, have no fear – your nerves are becoming stronger. In this way, Kundalini Yoga is both a physical and spiritual practice that’s gaining a lot of traction among dedicated yoga practitioners as well as beginners. If you know anyone who practices Kundalini Yoga, just ask them. We guarantee they love it. And you will too. 

4. Mindful Snacking 

It seems like no matter how hard we try, it’s hard to shake the craving to snack. Too often, snacking is triggered during the day by moments of unease, anxiety, stress, or even boredom. This becomes a problem when we reach for the bag of potato chips or M&Ms without thinking about it. The results can derail even the best-intentioned diet, new year’s resolution, and have you feeling sluggish for the rest of the day. That’s why mindful snacking is one of this year’s biggest health trends. 

Mindful snacking means viewing food as nourishment for your body and soul instead of a way to pass the time or avoid hunger pangs between meals. Like we mentioned before, when and how we eat go hand in hand with our feelings and emotions. Eating fried, greasy, high-sugar foods can decrease energy or make you feel sluggish, while eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can lead to increased energy. 

Snacking mindfully starts with revamping your diet to one that’s balanced and nutritious and tossing all your pantry items that contains added sugar, processed food, and convenience food. Getting rid of the high-salt/bad carb stuff won’t hurt either. 

The next step is to become more aware of each bite you take. Consciously tasting and enjoying ultimately leads to less — especially when healthier food is concerned. When we eat our thoughts are usually somewhere else: our schedules, the show we’re watching or the next meeting we have to attend. However, when we become present and pay attention to tastes and aromas, we’ll enjoy smaller portions and acknowledge when we’re satisfied and full.  

5. Sleep 

Sleep? How can sleep possibly be a health trend? While it might not be a trend by the normal definition of the word, people are starting to pay more attention to the quality and duration of their sleep. And they should. After all, sleep is one of the most important gifts we can offer our bodies during the day … or night. 

Most of us are chronically sleep-deprived. In fact, 68% of Americans struggle to sleep at least once a week. And it’s not just from burning the midnight oil at the office either. From the technology we use to our eating habits, we’re constantly interrupting our sleep cycles and natural circadian rhythms. This, in turn, leads to negative effects that carry over long after we open our eyes in the morning. To combat chronic fatigue, consider the following: 

The Anti-Snore Pillow

Snoring could be keeping you from the deep REM sleep your body desperately needs. If it is, consider investing in an anti-snore pillow. The Motion Pillow, developed by 10Minds, analyzes your sleep position and automatically adjusts the pillow’s shape accordingly. 

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Blue light blocking glasses can help cut down on the negative effects that come with staring at your phone and computer screen late into the night. Because the blue light emitted by our technology can throw off our body’s circadian rhythm, limiting it as much as possible can lead to a better night’s sleep. 

6. Digital Detoxing

Do you feel anxious or stressed when you can’t find your phone? Do you feel compelled to check your phone or email every few minutes? How about feeling depressed after using social media. If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might need a digital detox. Truth be told, we could all use a digital detox – a period of time without using all our devices in favor of focusing on real-life social interactions with real-life people. 

Digital detoxing has advantages that extend beyond enabling a richer social connection. It can improve sleep, improve your mental health, and help you maintain a healthier work/life balance. 

7. Plant-Based Diets

Plant-based diets forgo anything that comes from animals, including meat, cheese, milk, and even honey. These diets also avoid oil while minimizing sugar and processed ingredients in favor of whole foods. These diets are on the rise because today we’re more aware of what we’re putting into our bodies as well as the effect those ingredients are having on us – as well as the environment.

Skipping the steak dinner and replacing traditional animal proteins with vegetable proteins means paying closer attention to what you’re eating to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients – especially as you get started. Like any new skill, there’s a slight learning curve. 

It also means making sure you’re getting enough of the proteins and essential amino acids your body needs to grow strong muscles and bones. Eating plenty of beans, lentils, and nuts and seeds should fit the bill here. As far as your vitamins and minerals go, use milk alternatives like almond, soy, rice, or hemp milk along with plenty of dark leafy greens for calcium. Mushrooms and fortified cereal, which will give you all the Vitamin D you need. Also, supplement your plant-based diet with zinc and B12, eat whole grains, beans, and fortified cereal, along with nutritional yeast. 

Plant-based diets are becoming so popular that companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are partnering with fast food restaurants like White Castle, Burger King, and KFC to create meatless, plant-based options. 

On the surface, this might not seem all that new. After all, veggie burgers have been available for decades. But there’s one important distinction today. Companies like Impossible and Beyond are engineering their new plant-based products to taste and feel almost exactly like actual meat – and while it might not be enough to convert the most ardent of omnivores, it’s certainly enough to convince a large portion of consumers to consider plant-based as their first choice. In North America alone, meat alternative sales grew 37% between 2017 and 2019 – and sales that went from $584 million to 800 million. Apparently there are plenty of Americans who are willing to go meatless as long as it’s tasty and cheap. 

Health and wellness is on the rise. For more and more people, health has become more than hitting the local gym. It’s now a concept that impacts how we eat, sleep, breathe, and move. More access to new information is giving us more options than ever when it comes to improving our minds and our bodies, and 2020 is just the start. Which of the trends will you be adopting this year? Let us know!