With billions of people worldwide still struggling through a global health crisis, wellness remains top of mind for many. The pandemic cast a harsh light on dozens of harmful habits we accumulated before and during the crisis. In response, Americans have placed special emphasis on preserving and supporting their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing post-pandemic. In fact, a 2020 Harris Poll found that “80% of participants intended to be more mindful about regular self-care practices after the pandemic.” With interest in wellness rising across all demographics, countless wellness trends have emerged over the last two years. While some are merely fads, other wellness trends are backed by science and have true staying power. From sustainability to corporate responsibility, several themes not only connect the wellness trends listed below but also reflect our new normal. All in all, the trends detailed in this post reflect our growing desire for a streamlined, “whole health” approach to wellness that supports our bodies, our minds and our planet. Follow below to learn all about fifteen wellness trends to try in 2022 -- from flexitarianism to financial fitness challenges.
Health And Wellness Trends You Have to Try in the New Year
#1 No-Contact Spas
Though automated, touchless spa services existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, they are more popular than ever before in late 2021. While touchless spa treatments like massages and facials might seem challenging and counterintuitive, many wellness venues have embraced the trend. In her June 2020 article “Hotel spas transition to digital, touch-free offerings” for Travel Weekly, Christina Jelski explains how no-contact spas work. Jelski writes that spas across the country are now prioritizing offerings without a “high human labor component” like “float tanks, infrared saunas and cryotherapy machines, all of which require minimal human contact.”
With wellness tech now touching nearly every corner of our lives -- from the smart toilets that monitor gut health to the apps that track our sleep -- it makes sense that spas have pivoted towards these high-tech experiences too. Not all contactless spas are high-tech, however. According to Jelski, a growing number of spas are now offering “self-treatments” which are applied by “a partner or family member” in a private suite rather than by a spa therapist.
According to a recent Gallup poll supported by data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, almost a quarter of Americans plan to reduce their meat consumption in the future. Those who plan to cut down commonly cite physical health concerns and environmental concerns. They also cite food safety and animal welfare when asked why they wish to eat less meat. With eco-anxiety increasing and convincing substitutes like Beyond Meat providing new alternatives, flexitarianism has emerged as a popular wellness trend. In her article “What is a flexitarian diet?” for the BBC’s Good Food, dietician Emer Delaney writes that “flexitarianism or ‘casual vegetarianism’ is an increasingly popular, plant-based diet that claims to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health with an eating regime that’s mostly vegetarian yet still allows for the occasional meat dish.”
Delaney credits the rise of the flexitarian diet to “people taking a more environmentally sustainable approach to what they eat by reducing their meat consumption in exchange for alternative protein sources.” As mentioned above, flexibility is one theme that connects many wellness trends on this list. Millions of Americans wish to lessen their environmental impact without completely upending their lifestyles. Flexitarianism offers a customizable approach to eco-friendly eating.
#3 Regenerative Travel or Voluntourism
Third on our list of top wellness trends to try in 2022 is regenerative travel, which also prioritizes sustainability and environmental responsibility. In her June 2020 article “Move Over, Sustainable Travel. Regenerative Travel Has Arrived.” for The New York Times, Elaine Glusac writes that “the new frontier” of sustainable tourism is “‘regenerative travel,’ or leaving a place better than you found it.” According to Glusac, “regenerative tourism addresses impacts [of traveling] holistically, from destination and community perspectives as well as environmental.”
It aims to correct over-tourism by supporting local communities, respecting existing industries and avoiding hotspots that are usually crawling with travelers. Those who book regenerative travel experiences might volunteer in addition to enjoying wellness retreats and other activities. The regenerative travel trend goes hand in hand with other sustainable tourism trends like “voluntourism.”
#4 Improving Gut Health with Prebiotics
The gut health trend has grown the prebiotic industry significantly over the last couple years. According to a study published in 2012 by researchers Seema Patel and Arun Goyal, “prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth of bifidogenic and lactic acid bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.” Prebiotics offer a number of immune health and other health benefits, including “gut health maintenance, colitis prevention and cancer inhibition.” They also support “immunopotentiation and cholesterol removal” while reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and preventing “obesity and constipation.”
Bottled brands like Olipop, Siggi’s and Poppi offer a wide variety of prebiotic tonics to shoppers at the grocery store. However, those who care about their gut health can also blend their own prebiotic drinks at home in the form of smoothies and juices. Celery juice, carrot juice, jicama root juice, apple juice and grapefruit juice all contain prebiotics that can improve digestion and support the immune system. Get the most of your prebiotic juices with the EVO820 Series Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer from Healthier Elements here. With its super wide 3-inch feeding tube, the EVO820 Series Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer can actually fit an entire apple!
For obvious reasons, Americans have focused more on their respiratory health during the COVID-19 pandemic. From purchasing IAQ monitors to tossing out furniture that off-gases VOCs, American consumers are committed to protecting their lungs, airways and blood vessels. One way to support a healthy respiratory system while protecting one’s mental health is to adopt better breathing habits. Jessica Ourisman explains breathwork in her article “Breathwork Has Gone Mainstream During the COVID Era” for Harper’s Bazaar. While Ourisman notes that “breathwork is hardly new,” the practice has achieved cult status during the pandemic.
According to Ourisman, regulating one’s breath produces a wide variety of physical and psychological benefits. Quoting Dr. Mark Hyman, Ourisman writes that “‘deep breathing is one easy, accessible practice that can help to balance the mind and body.’” Breathwork can actually “increase parasympathetic activity, heart rate variability, physiological flexibility, [and] is one of the greatest tools...to help individuals manage stress, [which] has become an epidemic in our society.’”
#6 Digital Workouts
Of course, there are several wellness trends on this list that respond to our new lives as remote workers. A Well + Good post about fitness trends from earlier this year expects digital workouts to “become the norm” in 2022. According to Well + Good, “March 2020 saw a 147 percent increase from the prior year in consumption of on-demand" virtual fitness classes. Quoting Mindbody CEO Josh McCarter, the post notes that “‘ninety-one percent of group fitness businesses are offering or planning to offer virtual services.'" These new digital fitness centers have made working out more accessible to those who were previously unable or unwilling to join a gym or sign up for a fitness class.
#7 Growing Your Own Food at Home
Another popular wellness trend with staying power is growing your own food at home. From kitchen herb gardens to hydroponic farm stands, there are many ways to grow your own food at home. With the cost of staples like fruits and vegetables growing due to inflation, micro-gardening has become both more accessible and more desirable. In the November 2021 article “7 Foods You'll Be Eating in 2022, According to Whole Foods” for Food & Wine, Regan Stephens elaborates.
Referring to the wellness trend as “ultra-urban farming,” Stephens writes that growing food at home has “gotten a boost from technology, paving the way for the availability of hyper-local produce grown more sustainably.” Growing your own food at home not only costs less in 2021 but also improves eating habits and supports a healthier lifestyle. To make the most of your home-grown produce, consider juicing leftovers with the EVO820 Series Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer from Healthier Elements. Shoppers can purchase the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer here.
#8 Financial Wellness
According to Colleen Reilly in her article “Curated, Customized And Current Financial Wellness Strategies” for Forbes, “63% of workers claim their financial stress has increased since the start of the pandemic.” As such, the Global Wellness Institute identified developing personalized financial wellness strategies as a key wellness trend for 2021. Financial wellness is usually achieved when a person reduces his or her money-related stress through successful budgeting.
According to Reilly, many workers “do not realize that they can get personalized support that can help them reach their financial goals in a meaningful way,” but hundreds of organizations do offer this type of support. People can capitalize on the financial wellness trend by talking to their employers about related programs and support offered by their company.
#9 Forest Bathing
One of several wellness trends rooted in nature, forest bathing boasts so many health benefits that Kaiser Permanente recently endorsed the practice. According to Kaiser Permanente, the Japanese practice of forest bathing or shinrin-yoku “encourages people to simply spend time in nature — no actual bathing required.” Because the practice is low-impact, most people can forest bathe even if they are unable to “go for trail runs or an intense hike.”
Kaiser Permanente notes that “the goal of forest bathing is to live in the present moment while immersing your senses in the sights and sounds of a natural setting.” In doing so, forest bathers can reduce their stress, regulate their breathing and improve their overall health by taking in fresher air.
#10 Mental Fitness
Mental fitness -- basically “exercise for the brain” -- is another wellness trend to try in 2022. In her September 2021 post “What is mental fitness? A how-to for exercising your brain” for the online mental health platform BetterUp, Jenna Sinclair explains. Sinclair writes that “mental fitness can be defined as having and maintaining a state of well-being." It is also defined as "cultivating awareness of how we think, behave and feel.” Just as staying in shape physically makes us better prepared, mental fitness “provides us more space to choose how to respond to a situation.”
The result of mental fitness is that “we are less likely to sustain (or cause) emotional and relational injury.” As people build their mental fitness through daily routines, they are better able to identify all options available and to choose the best one. They are less likely to hurt others or harm themselves emotionally or psychologically. According to Sinclair, those who practice mental fitness can avoid negative emotions, enhance their cognitive function, develop positive habits and improve their sleep. Wellness experts note that regular therapy sessions -- both in person and virtual sessions -- meditation and journaling can all support mental fitness.
Semi-sobriety is the next health and wellness trend gaining momentum across America. Mindful drinking or semi sobriety is similar to flexitarianism -- which we defined and explored above. The practice of remaining mostly sober -- with some exceptions -- allows those who wish to curb their consumption of alcohol without strict rules. Like flexitarianism, semi sobriety allows for a certain degree of flexibility.
According to Laura Fischer in her article “What Does It Mean to Be 'California Sober'? The Lowdown on This Buzzy Lifestyle Choice” for Real Simple, this is sometimes referred to as the ‘California Sober’ mindset. For those drinkers experiencing increased anxiety, lower quality sleep and depressed metabolism due to alcohol intake, semi sobriety can help. Fischer writes “you can make your own rules” when semi-sober because “it’s about learning what makes you feel your best and ditching the labels.”
#12 Mood Tracking
Next on our list of health trends for 2022 is mood tracking. The practice of mood tracking helps people record their moods over a period of time in order to identify patterns and make changes as necessary once recognizing these patterns. People can track their moods through journaling, with the help of a mood tracking app, with mood charts or through online programs. In their article “Why Mood Tracking Could Be Your Answer for Avoiding Burnout” for Greatest, Dr. Akilah Reynolds, PhD and Christal Yuen outline the benefits of mood tracking.
Yuen -- who is an avid mood tracker herself -- notes that mood journaling has boosted her mental wellness. After six months of mood tracking, Yuen experienced “stronger emotional regulation...self affirmation....[and] better communication skills.” She also felt more empowered to advocate for her feelings and found it easier to recognize dissociation, which she was prone to.
#13 Adaptogenic Juicing
Adding mood-boosting, anti-stress adaptogens to green juices is another wellness trend we cannot wait to try. According to Rachel Hinch in her article “Everything You Need to Know About the Adaptogen Trend” for Baltimore Magazine, adaptogens are “herbs that support the body’s natural ability to deal with stress.” Quoting Charm City Integrative Health wellness coach Hannah Kahn, Hinch writes that “‘adaptogens are incredibly effective’” and have been used for “‘thousands of years, rooting back to Chinese Functional Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine.’” According to Kahn, recent research has found that adaptogens contain “anti-fatigue properties, antidepressant effects, and increase mental work capacity and attention.”
While some drink adaptogens in tea or take them like vitamins, others incorporate them into smoothies and juices. Unfortunately, some sources of adaptogens can taste bitter or earthy. Because of this, Kahn recommends “playing around with different fruits and veggies until you find something you enjoy.” In their article “Adaptogen Drinks to Sip On for More Energy” for Self, Renee Cherry and Megan Falk offer a few recipes. We also love this alkalizing adaptogenic green juice from yoga instructor Crystal Fenton. Create your own adaptogenic juices with the EVO820 Series Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer from Healthier Elements here.
#14 Minimalist Skincare
Though the beauty industry has long extolled the benefits of complex skincare routines, many Americans have turned to streamlined regimes over the past year. Both less expensive and less time-consuming, simpler skincare routines offer just as many anti-aging, brightening and other benefits as the more complicated alternatives. In fact, simple skincare routines might actually be better for the skin than multi-step processes because adding too many products can be irritating.
In her article “The simple skin care routine dermatologists recommend (and it's not complicated)” for Today, Danielle Wolf writes that “simple is often better.” Quoting dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Wolf notes that “‘while 12-step routines are popular, they may not work any better than one or two steps.’” Furthermore, “‘the fewer products to apply means fewer products you forget to use.’” As such, keeping a simple skincare routine “‘usually helps people stay on track with regular use of their products.” Today, buyers are adding fewer beauty products to their daily routine. They are focusing instead on products with transparent sourcing, natural ingredients and zero waste packaging.
#15 Sleep Tracking
With sleep loss linked to all sorts of health issues -- from anxiety to Alzheimer's -- it makes sense that sleep hygiene is the final trend on our list for 2022. According to a McKinsey & Company report compiled by Djavan De Clercq, Nelly Papalambros, and Tobias Silberzahn earlier this year, “one in three Americans does not get enough sleep; globally, up to 45 percent of the population doesn’t.” However, “the rise of smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other consumer wearables” has helped us take sleep health into our own hands.
Sleep technology like the many tracking apps available on the market today not only helps researchers gather more data about sleep disorders. It also helps users monitor and modify their sleep on their own or with the help of their doctor. This article by VeryWellMind writer Natasha Freutel identifies the best meditation apps and sleep trackers for 2022. Through sleep tracking, people may be able to improve their sleep hygiene and their overall health.
Final Thoughts on 2022 Health and Wellness Trends
Though we listed fifteen of our favorites, there are many other wellness and health trends to explore. We suggest adding a couple to your list of new year's resolutions. From virtual therapy and compression therapy to intuitive eating and upcycling food, there are myriad trends to choose from. Best of all, many of these trends could reduce stress levels and improve your overall health in 2022.