Health & Wellness Trends 2021

The coronavirus pandemic shaped our entire world in 2020, placing health at the forefront of society, and it is no surprise that we’ll see its influence extend into the 2021 health and wellness trends.

The world of wellness is forever bursting at its seams and now even more so. New trends, products, and experiences are popping up left, right, and centre, especially as more and more of us are adopting holistic practises into our everyday lives.

So what can we expect to see in 2021?

Mushroom Adaptogens1

Medicinal mushrooms are referred to as adaptogens because they help the body to ‘adapt’ itself, depending on our emotional and physical needs. The go-to varieties: chaga, reishi, and cordycep mushrooms have been shown to boost immunity, fight inflammation, provide sustained energy and a raft of other wonderful benefits.

Shiitake mushrooms are another type adaptogenic mushroom and probably the only sort that you will find in your local supermarket or grocers. They are a rich source of Vitamin D, zinc and essential B vitamins, and have been shown to boost the immune system and promote cardiovascular health. One Japanese study showed that eritadenine, found in shitake mushrooms, helped reduce serum cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol.

We will see people “leaning more towards a wholesome approach to getting their caffeine and focus”; regular coffee and protein bars are expected to be replaced with adaptogenic protein powder, latte/cacao mixes, says Melissa Rifkin, a registered dietitian and nutrition influencer in New York at Chicago Suntimes.

Eye Yoga2

A shift towards greater screen time has brought an increase in adults suffering from blurred vision, itchy and watery eyes, headaches, double vision, and other symptoms of eye strain. Screens—including those on computer monitors, tablets, and smart phones—force users to focus their eyes intently at a single distance near the face. “The eyes were not made to do extensive close work,” said Marc Grossman, a behavioural optometrist at Yoga International. It puts extra strain on the eye muscles.

Fortunately, simple eye yoga exercises can help rejuvenate the eyes. Chatty Dobson, a yoga teacher and the owner of Flex Chelsea fitness studio says ”it’s great to do after a long day spent looking at a screen and less is more when it comes to exercising your eyes”. Tiny movements such as looking up, down, left and right for 10 seconds each, gently kneading the brow bones and ‘palming’ (cupping your hands over your eyes) are all extremely effective, quick and easy to do.

Many organisations, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, have noted that users’ blink rate falls by more than 50% when staring at a screen.3 Among their recommendations, they suggest people make a conscious effort to blink more often when using screen devices, and employ the 20/20/20 rule, which means that every 20 minutes you should shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.3   

Infrared Sauna Blankets4

Infrared saunas have been a staple on the elite wellness scene for a few years now, with Jennifer Aniston, the Kardashians and Lady Gaga all fans. But with the pandemic causing closures and limited availability, users have had to think outside the box. For extreme devotees – such as Paris Hilton – this means building your own, with luxury sauna brand Sunlighten reporting a 50 per cent surge in interest in home saunas during the first lockdown.

The slightly more affordable answer, though, is infrared sauna blankets – a cross between an at-home sauna and a sleeping bag. They tend to retail at £400-£500 and claim the same glowing benefits of the real deal: deep relaxation, improved skin, and better recovery.

Simply set up the blanket on your bed, plug it in and wait for it to warm up before wrapping yourself in it for anything up to 40 minutes.

Hard Kombucha5

New research from independent alcohol education charity, Drinkaware, reveals that more than a fifth (22%) of people in the UK – around 11.7 million – are drinking more since the lockdown began (no surprise!). It is anticipated that more of us will adopt the more nutritional option in the form of ‘Hard Kombucha’.

Kombucha is an effervescent beverage produced by fermenting tea and sugar with a living culture called a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The main difference between regular kombucha and high alcohol kombucha is the amount of added sugar, type of yeast, and the length of the fermentation process, yielding an alcohol content of 4.5-6.5% ABV.

Kombucha is brewed with natural ingredients like black or green tea, bacteria and yeast, which can provide a raft of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You also reap the benefits of the polyphenols and acids found in regular kombucha, including lactic, acetic, glucuronic, and butyric acid.

Whether it’s taking time to refresh and recover with a beauty or wellness service or product, or finding a workout that fits your schedule and comfort level, it is safe to say many more of us will be more proactive with our overall health in the future than we were in 2020.