If there’s one thing we know about wellness, it’s that trends are completely subjective and personal. What might work wonders for you may do nothing for someone else, and vice versa. That’s what makes the world of health and wellness so alluring – you never know what treatment or practice is going to be the thing that takes your routine to the next level. If you’re on the hunt for a new way to shake up your regimen or just want to try something new and fun, one of these trends might be for you!
GUA SHA FOR FACE & BODY
Gua sha is a traditional Chinese medicine practice. You’ve probably seen people raving about it on TikTok as part of their skincare routine. A gua sha tool is usually made out of jade or rose quartz, and is curved to fit into the contours of the face. It is wonderful as a facial rejuvenation and contouring tool. Gua sha for the face can also be a great method for promoting lymphatic drainage, meaning it encourages stubborn fluid to keep it moving. Say goodbye to puffy skin and inflammation! If puffiness isn’t your problem but TMJ pain and migraines are, gua sha is also a perfect massage tool to relieve tension.
Before people discovered the facial benefits of gua sha, it was used on the entire body. There’s been a resurgence of popularity in this method, as it “may help to break down scar tissue and connective tissue, improving movement in the joints” (Medical News Today). While gua sha treatments on the body can cause bruising, they can also be effective pain management alternatives. If you suffer from joint, back, or neck pain, you might want to give this method a shot!
It may seem like submerging into a freezing body of water is the absolute antithesis of what you should be doing to take care of your mental health. Cold plunging has long been touted as one of those “serious” wellness trends, you know, the kind that encourages you to live more like a CEO by waking up at 4am and starting the day with an ice cold shower – because you mean business. However, there’s been recent evidence to suggest that cold plunges do a little more than just proving to yourself how hard core you are.
According to psychiatrist and Stanford professor Anna Lembke, a few studies have suggested that taking cold showers (or doing a cold plunge), triggers a dopamine release in the brain, along with other feel-good chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter that “helps us feel pleasure as part of the brain’s reward system” (Harvard Health). Cold plunging is a way to get that dopamine high naturally, without the crash that is inevitably felt with substances like sugar, caffeine, or drugs.
It has also been suggested that cold water exposure can help to reduce anxiety through reducing the stress hormone cortisol (Healthline). Cortisol is also linked to inflammation, so cold plunging may address a trifecta of common health issues – mood, stress, and inflammation. Next time you’re looking for a boost, you might want to try turning that shower knob towards cold. More research needs to be done, but right now it looks promising that a little bit of discomfort can lead to lasting benefits to your overall mental and physical wellbeing.
You might think sound machines are for babies, and you would be correct. But, they can also have amazing calming effects on adults. Noise affects babies and adults alike, and “since your brain continues to process sounds as you sleep, different noises can affect how well you rest” (Healthline).
White noise incorporates all frequencies of sound equally. “Researchers have studied the effect of white noise on humans for many years, finding evidence it can reduce crying in infants, improve work performance, and potentially help counteract symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)” (Sleep Foundation). Some examples of white noise are:
- Whirring fan
- Air conditioner
Pink noise is balanced and even, but the higher frequencies are less prominent than that of white noise. This gives the sound a deeper tone. Some examples of pink noise are:
Brown noise (also called Red noise), has an even deeper tone than pink noise. High frequencies of sound are almost nonexistant in brown noise (How Stuff Works). Some examples of brown noise are:
- Heavy rainfall
- River rapids
If you live on a busy street or have been experiencing sleep issues in general, try a sound machine! Soothing background noise can make a world of difference in your sleep environment.
Photofacials, or Intense Pulsed Light facials (IPL), have become more commonplace both at your dermatologist’s office and medical spas. IPL is less invasive than laser treatments, and has much less down time. You may only experience redness or discomfort for a day or two. If you have sun damage, rosacea, acne scarring, or an uneven or splotchy complexion, IPL might be the thing you’ve been looking for! Here are the facts:
- IPL sends out multiple wavelengths of light, which treat a multitude of skin concerns (webmd)
- If done correctly by a board certified dermatologist, it can help with:
- Redness / rosacea
- Broken blood vessels
- Dark spots
- Age spots
In the age of Covid it can seem more risky than rejuvenating to treat yourself to a spa day. Luckily, spas have adapted, and now most offer touchless options! This is the perfect trend to hop on if you’ve been missing the spa experience. Sure, these options may not give the relief that massages do, but anything that will promote less stress, allow you time for yourself, and are safe are worth your time and money! Here are a couple treatments that are safe and relaxing:
- Sound baths
- Salt float baths
- Facials using tools like jade rollers and gua sha
- Reiki, or other energy healing treatments
Which wellness trend are you curious to try? Let us know in the comments below or on social media: @carrieannconversations. We would love to hear from you!