Trends come and go in many aspects of our lives — fashion, food, decor, and even TikTok. But perhaps no industry sees buzzy products, trends, and treatments jump in and out of the conversation as frequently as health and wellness.
It seems that every week we are being promised that the next latest and greatest thing is here to stay, whether it’s a new skincare hack, beauty secret, or exercise regime. But it’s fair to say that there are a few particular trends — some that have even been circling in wellness circles for several years — that need to stay well behind in 2022.
Crystal Bethea, an army veteran, licensed medical massage therapist, and experienced cosmetologist who owns C3 Wellness Spa, runs us through her top four wellness trends that we need to leave behind this year, and what we need to see in their place. “If you’re going to invest in anything in 2023, make it your health and wellness,” she says. “There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to our well-being, but there are certainly some things we should all be avoiding.”
1. Synthetic Essential Oils
It’s true, we all love an essential oil, whether it’s to sprinkle into a warm bath at the end of the day, pop into a diffuser to give our bedroom a spa feel, or dab a few droplets onto our pillow before bed. But Bethea insists that the type of essential oil we use is crucial, insisting that we should always make sure to be using natural oils instead of synthetic ones.
“Those essential oils in the grocery store that say they are 100% pure, really aren’t,” she says. They are in fact, she adds, filled with toxic chemicals that are actually labeled as fragrances. In other words, they are not capable of having any real, positive effects.
“Pure essential oils have a divine quality to be antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory,” Bethea continues. This is why, she insists, it’s great to use topically or to inhale, explaining that everything you place on your skin enters your bloodstream in 20 minutes, while everything inhaled enters your bloodstream in about 20 seconds.
“These are the reasons I suggest natural products overall; you can imagine the taxing effects on our bodies that pollutants in these products alone can cause. It’s one reason why it’s so important to pay attention to what you place in your diffuser and to the products you put on your skin, just as you would with the food you put in your body.”
2. Salt Lamps
Fear not: we’re not suggesting that you should bid farewell to salt therapy altogether. Bethea just suggests that a salt booth is better.
“I think there might be a misconception about having salt lamps and rocks in the house as a form of therapy,” she explains. “Really, all it does is draw moisture and humidity out of the air.”
Instead, Bethea suggests that salt therapy in a room or booth is the best alternative, which uses a halogenerator to grind therapeutic-grade salt and circulates it around for easy inhalation. “Halo therapy, or salt therapy, really helps open up the lungs which allows for better flow that results in you calming down. Dry salt is calming and detoxifying, supporting the respiratory, immune, nervous, and lymphatic systems.”
The result is that salt combes the hairlike structures in your respiratory tract and “dramatically” calms inflammation, as well as removes debris from the lungs, for which a series is recommended.
Salt therapy is also known to improve conditions like asthma, bronchitis, COPD, cystic fibrosis, and respiratory allergies. “It’s excellent for post-care from covid and flu season,” Bethea adds.
3. Diet Pills
Even decades after we first established the negative side effects of diet pills — headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting — people are still using them. “Fad diet pills can prove to fall flat,” Bethea explains. “Without proper monitoring from a health professional, they could even be dangerous, and I wouldn’t go on this journey alone.”
Not only this, but diet pills prevent people from establishing a healthy relationship with food and exercise, which is the most effective and important way to ensure good health. “Diet pills, like so many fads, offer the false promise of a shortcut to weight loss,” explains Bethea. “For many people, it’s also counterproductive to associate health and wellness efforts with a ‘diet’, when really what most of us need is a lifestyle change, not restrictions to the things that make us happy.”
Bethea suggests that if people could do with a little push to kickstart the change, they maybe explore IV weight loss therapy to supplement a health regime, which is usually full of B vitamins and serves as a much more hydrating alternative. “These types of therapies can also bring their own risks if administered poorly or not properly regulated, so it’s important to thoroughly do your research before pursuing anything new.”
Douching has been found to be associated with many negative side effects, from pelvic inflammatory disease to sexually transmitted infections and even cervical cancer. Because it disrupts the vagina’s natural balance of bacteria, it’s really doing more harm than good.
“With the constant rush of society, I suppose I understand it as a supposedly convenient hygiene option,” says Bethea, though she insists there are other options. “Vaginal steaming might be a viable option (which I enjoy personally), but the benefits of steaming haven’t been clinically proven. My suggestion is to listen to your body, no matter what. I can feel the difference.”
Bethea’s alternative is something much simpler. “I love adding Himalayan salt to my baths and purchasing a crossover rack to hold a glass of wine,” she says. “Incorporate a candle and a good book. Cleansing for the mind and body is a win-win.”
A new year is as good a time as any to go back to basics and realize that there are plenty of better options to invest in when it comes to our well-being. Let’s leave behind fads and false promises in 2022 and invest in our health, wellness, and happiness.