Updated: Jan 5
It’s no secret that 2019 was truly the year of wellness. It’s awesome to see the World beginning to wake up to a more holistic view of health and being open to trying new things.
I wrote a trends report for the new year of 2018 which was published in the Huffingtonpost and thought it would be interesting to reflect on those trends and see if I can spot any new ones for 2020.
Looking back over the old article I had a few trends nailed, a couple which I think I was a bit ahead of my time for and a few where I maybe missed the mark.
Check out below to see how you think I did on my forecast.
Water purification and activation
Back in 2018, I hypothesized that “With the emergence of studies showing plastic and all sorts of other nasties in our water supplies throughout 2017 and the ongoing need to stop using plastic water bottles, I see a growing trend in water purification & in addition activated waters too. Whether this comes in the form of the more natural choice - things like charcoal filters (Filters and activates your water with alkaline ions) or activating your water with crystals by adding amethyst, clear quartz or similar to your bottle. For the more digital health junkie the cool new purification systems which use UVC light at a click of a button, not only clean your water but clean the bottle too. Meaning we can say goodbye to mouldy smelling, hard to clean plastic bottles, yay! On the same subject of purification, I think we will see more people caring about the purity of the air we breathe as a micro trend.”
I haven’t seen the UV filter trend adopted massively on the high street, however, there has been a definite increase in the number of people using reusable water bottles with the rise of companies like S'well and Chilly's and the ones with charcoal (Black and Blum) or inbuilt filters (Britta and Water Bobble etc.). This increase seems to have created a demand for an increase in filtered water stations across the country and you can now see them in public places such as tube stations and airports. According to Allied Market Research, who compiled the report "Water Purifier Market by Technology, Distribution Channel, Portability, and End User: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2019 - 2025," the global water purifier market size was valued at $31,013 million in 2018 and is projected to reach $58,322 million by 2025. So maybe we’ve not seen that filter through just yet… pun intended :-)
As a side note on the air purity… although this is not a scientific or measured result I have seen an increase in the number of people I see wearing surgical style masks when on the tube or cycling in London, suggesting there are more people worrying about this.
Kombucha on tap
Although kombucha and fermented foods have been around for years, with evidence of a primitive fermented alcoholic beverage found in Neolithic China dating back to 7000-6600 BCE and strong evidence of the Babylonians using fermentation processes, it wasn’t until 1910 that fermented foods were first considered beneficial to our health. Commercially, kombucha and fermented foods were the new kids on the block as I wrote, “This year has seen Kombucha (alongside many other fermented products) become much more mainstream. You can now see bottles of Kombucha lining the shelves of Whole Foods and other health food stores as well as in the hands of all East London’s health trendies, however, I predict a bigger rise of Kombucha and other fermented items as gut health becomes more prevalent. Alongside this is the sober curious trend, as more people move away from alcohol. So having a fizzy fermented drink like Kombucha on tap which tastes awesome and is actually good for you will be many people’s dreams. (This will follow on from the Kombucha on tap trends in the US)”
So I reckon I was on point with this prediction. In April 2019, Global News Wire reported that the Kombucha market value crossed USD 1.24 billion in 2018. They predict that the market is likely to expand at a double-digit growth rate by 2025, as a result of rising consumer preferences for functional beverages that are characterized by a high probiotic content. Another piece of evidence to support my predictions is the Boo chi Kombucha taps and The Hoxton Hotel Southwark introducing Real Kombucha on tap too.
Silence was another prediction. With our ever more switched on, high expectation, high energy existence I thought silence would be the perfect antidote as I foretold. “City dwellers will begin seeking more silence as we learn more about the impact of day to day sounds on our immune and nervous systems. Silent retreats, digital detoxes, and noise-cancelling headphones will become more prevalent as we all try to find a bit more peace and quiet. Looking at the success of events like Just Breathe shows this trend is set to rise!” Now I don't know about you, but I have definitely noticed this trend building over the last couple of years. In a recent article in the Metro predicting wellness trends for 2020 they quoted “Digital Detoxing”, “Ecotherapy - refers to any outdoor activity which positively impacts an individual’s health or wellbeing.” and “Blue Mindfulness - Activities such as wild swimming, surfing, sailing or simply walking along by a stream.”
Having just completed my training and fallen fully into the sound healing rabbit hole, there was no way I could have left this out of my forecast as I indicated that, “On the flip side of silence is sound and not just any sound but therapeutic sounds. Just as the woo-woo became more mainstream this year with Reiki, crystal healing and other energy modalities becoming more popular, I think sound will continue to grow into 2018. Gong baths, Crystal singing bowl events where you’re bathed in sounds, tuning fork therapy and sonic acupuncture will all vibrate their way into more people's lives as brain entrainment hits the masses as a new way to relax.”
I was probably a bit biased on this one, but when I wrote that I had only just qualified and was still super nervous playing publicly. I have been really amazed to see how the world has embraced this incredible healing technique. With more and more people training and joining the sound healing family every year.
Whilst I was dreaming up the ideas to build Welford Wellbeing I was also dreaming of napping at work as I suggested, “The cult of busy continues to die as city dwellers, in particular, begin to pay more attention to their mental health and their work/ life balance. More people are realising that when asked the question “How are you?”, “busy” is not a cool answer. Sleep will become more important to people with corporate companies beginning to improve on their wellbeing programs by including things like sleep pods and designated meditation spaces within the workplace to help support their burnt-out workforces.”
Now I stand by my statement that the cult of busy seems to be slowing down (even if only in people's awareness) but I haven’t seen too many companies introduce sleep pods specifically. However, I have seen a trend towards improved sleep and designated spaces within companies for meditation, relaxation and break out spaces which is great to help people have mental health breaks. According to a BBC article published in November 2019, “Ben & Jerry's, have set up nap rooms to make it easier to snooze. The accommodations are hardly luxurious - the 10-by-10 room, nicknamed the "Da Vinci room", contains a futon couch and a thin blanket.” and “Canada's first napping studio - called "Nap It Up" has launched in Toronto they claim to “provide you with a safe and serene environment for a midday nap.” and have loads of 5-star reviews. So maybe this one will catch on once the stigma of sleeping on the job dies down.
AI/ VR Health
I have no question that this trend will continue to grow. Back in 2017, I suggested, “Whether it’s AI weighing scales, personalised AI health coaches guiding you through gym sessions in your headphones or an AI sleep assistant, artificial intelligence is going to begin to shape the way we monitor and deliver our health goals as we move into 2018. Items like the OneX monitor which tells you about your health via measuring your antioxidant level directly in the palm of your hand and eventually the emergence of graphene tattoos which can be scanned and enable us to monitor our health in new ways. Interactive meditations with VR headsets will also help you to journey into various levels of VR consciousness, measuring your reactions to stimuli and changing the location or where you are, you need no longer ‘imagine’ your on a desert island you can keep your eyes open and virtually be there.” I may have been a little too out there with my suggestions overlooking the growth of platforms like Fiit and Peleton for the now failed One X sensor Project and the still-developing graphene tattoos which have been showing promise in medicine as electrocardiograms, for assessing breathing, and for monitoring temperature changes. This means that the e‐tattoo model could be the basis for a new generation of epidermal electronics. But needless to say, the AI and VR health trend is going nowhere and looks set to grow even further.
This trend seems to continue to grow with Technology Review reporting over 26 million people using DNA tests and sharing data from an MIT report which showed “As many people purchased consumer DNA tests in 2018 as in all previous years combined, MIT Technology Review has found.”
“As technology becomes more accessible and affordable for all, I see a trend moving towards DNA testing. Enabling people to personalise their health plans based on their potential historic predisposition to certain illnesses. Personally, I am a follower of Bruce Lipton and the epigenetics scientists who are conducting groundbreaking research which shows our perception of our environment controls our genealogy, so this will not be something I would buy into but I believe the masses will. The piece of mind that could be brought to people by potentially being able to prevent disease before it starts through lifestyle choices could be huge!”
Now there was one additional trend I predicted that they wouldn’t let me print back in 2017, I predicted plant medicines as a trend and over the last 2 years, we have seen CBD oil in everything from massage oil and scented candles to ice cream and even… yep … lube! We’ve also seen the launch of the Worlds first Centre for Psychedelics Research, here in London at Imperial College and more and more research is being released on how plant medicines are helping people overcome depression. Long may the research continue!
"As Cannabis continues to be legalised in more countries for health usage with CBD oil becoming a regular edition to Cacao ceremonies and the like the world over, I think we will see an emergence of more plant-based medicines. Sacred plants such as Ayahuasca, Peyote, Brugmansia, Yopo and African Dream Root, Psilocybin mushroom and mugwort will likely become more mainstream. Whether this is in ceremony (Ayahuasca, Mugwort, Yopo etc..) or micro-dosing (mushrooms and CDB oil like many in Silicon Valley already do) I think plant medicine is here to stay."
“...as we move away from wellness fads and towards prolonged wellbeing.”
The Wellbeing trend I’d love to see for 2020?
Keeping it simple:
As the cult of wellness grows more and more each year I think people will become apathetic to the ‘trend’. Sick of being told what to do, which class to attend, and what to eat alongside all the crazy wellness combinations popping up which are completely out of alignment with the original meaning of the practice for a fad financial gain - yoga and beer evening anyone?! My thoughts are people will go back to simplicity.
Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and using food as medicine as we move away from wellness fads and towards prolonged wellbeing. As we learn more about the food chain via documentaries and whistleblowers showing the sometimes questionable links between what’s advertised as good for our health and what may actually be good for our health, I see more people moving towards keeping things simple. Taking the stress out of wellbeing, following their intuition and doing what is right for their long term wellbeing, not what we predict will be the next wellness craze.