What You’ll Learn

Category: Health issues
  • The trends that shaped the health and wellness industry this past decade.
  • The five misses which might fade away in 2020.
  • And the seven hits that are here to stay.

We have now officially begun a new decade. Now is the perfect time to zoom-in on the trends that have thus far shaped the landscape of the health and wellness industry. Taking a closer look at what has and has not worked will help us understand where holistic health trends may lead us in 2020 and beyond.

Short-term Trends:

1. Telemedicine

The practice of caring remotely (for instance, use of apps, online consultation, etc) for the patient is a growing trend. At first glance, the benefits for physicians who adopt telemedicine into their practice are many. It not only helps expand patient base but also is a time and cost-effective way of consulting. For patients, the ability to see a doctor from the comfort of their home can seem appealing.

Yet, medicine at large is a field where remote patient monitoring can have detrimental effects on the health and wellness of the community.

Here’s why: Much of current in-house patient care practices revolve around a nurse and/or the physician establishing trust with the patient.

There is no amount of AI and technological advancement that can replace the tangible connection that improves patient care. Telemedicine, in this regard, is the polar opposite of our goal to humanize medicine.

At Innovative Medicine, we believe that healing has a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual component to it. None of these aspects can be ignored for complete healing to occur. Our take is that technology/patient care practices that deviate from a nurturing mindset might not sustain in the long run.

2.  Medicinal Marijuana

This plant-based wonder remedy has made its way into nearly every household in 2010’s. Almost everybody has embraced it! Legalized marijuana is being used as a cure-all by millions, primarily for its pain-alleviating properties. Recent scientific reports provide evidence for its use in chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and anxiety, among other conditions.

CBD has also proven to be widely beneficial; yet it can have serious limitations that should not be ignored. Holistically speaking, we at IM view excessive use of CBD as a symptom suppressing mindset. A “natural, herbal, plant-based” tag does not always warrant its excessive use. For instance, using CBD everyday for life to treat chronic pain, accounts to employing a symptom-based approach. There is a reason your body is exhibiting chronic pain. Paying attention and investigating the underlying reason is a step towards whole-body healing (vs) resorting to a temporary CBD induced relief.

3. Trendy Foods and Diets

Resveratrol, Acai, Soul cycle, Adaptogens, Keto diet – the list is long! The focus at IM is to approach your life with a holistic perspective and not depend on the individual choices or activities you partake in. While, each of these has shown tremendous health and fitness promise, relying entirely on individual components takes away from the balancing act needed by our mind-body-spirit.

4. Genetic Testing

Genetic screening to detect disease predisposition particularly breast cancer has seen its high in 2010’s. That said, cautious optimism must be exercised. Often times, false positives can result in overdiagnosis thus subjecting perfectly healthy individuals to anxiety. Furthermore, DNA screening often is unable to integrate environmental or dietary impacts on disease. This is yet another way in which genetic screening could misguide individual unintentionally.

Bruce Lipton in “The Biology of Belief” states that, contrary to the conventional model of epigenetics, genes do not control us, the opposite is true. Gene expression is regulated by its chemical micro-environment. Thoughts and conditioned beliefs control neurotransmitters which consequently alter gene expression. As per this model, the future outcome of disease depends significantly on your subconscious conditioning.

5. Tea-toxes

Quick-fix tea-toxes have become a go-to weight loss strategy this past decade. Health supplement companies casually use the word “Detox” to refer to “liver cleanse” or weight loss to market their products. The definition of “Detox” thus has been skewed. At IM, we emphasize the true meaning of what a “Detox” is and also talk about products that can be used to support the body’s natural elimination pathways. Herbal teas certainly have health benefits; but to claim that they provide “tea-toxification” would be a grandiose promise.

What is Here to Stay

1. Plant-based Diet

From non-milk milks (oat, cashew, hemp, almond, soy, coconut – there are so many of them!) to Buddha bowls, plant-based diet has made its way into mainstream food! Because of this trend, two main aspects have come to the forefront of present-day nutritional approach:

  • The realization that alkaline diets are supportive of natural well-being (vs) processed acidic foods filled with additives and preservatives
  • Rising awareness around organic, local, non-GMO foods is a movement in the right direction of prioritizing a quality diet that nourishes the body. This has given the convenience-centric food industry a much-needed push to change their food production practices.

2.    Meditation, Mindfulness and All Things Yoga

The CDC reported that meditation and yoga were the fastest growing wellness trends of the past decade. The global markets state that a “Mindful revolution” is here. With distraction and lack of focus being the dominant and prevalent issue of this age, the growing numbers of Meditation and Yoga studios, mindfulness apps have established a strong foothold for this ancient Indian practice in the western world.

3. Biohacking

Per Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey (of Bulletproof nutrition fame), tweaking your body’s input for better output and performance, outside the domain of conventional medicine is what biohacking is all about. There are ample technology-enabled tools to help biohackers engage in this type of DIY biology. Cryotherapy (Derived from Wim-Hoff model of building immunity), near infra-red saunas (an EMF-free Faraday sauna that blocks out all EMF radiation), fitness and activity trackers like the Oura ring are just a few. If these technologies seem out of radar for you, don’t worry! Biohacking your body for optimal performance can be done right at home with minimal hassle. Intermittent fasting, Rewiring your brain for better health, Productivity enhancing supplements, Bulletproof coffee, are all considered effective ways to biohack your biology for long term health and wellness.

4. Gut Microbiome

From personalized at-home Microbiome kits to fecal transplants, the Gut microbiome has gone viral this past decade and has claimed center stage in health and wellness. Harnessing the microbiota for better health has been the focal point for many researchers. Significant progress has been made. Erin Elinav, a Microbiota scientist predicts that the future of microbiome research in 2020 and beyond lies in understanding the crosstalk between microbes in the gut and other systems (urogenital, skin, brain, respiratory). This will help develop personalized medicine that takes into consideration microbiota of the body as a whole. 

Which brings us to the final trend we foresee will stand strong in 2020 and beyond.

5. Energy Medicine

Healing with Crystals/gem stones is a form of energy medicine. Even as scientists claim crystal work to be merely pseudoscience, use of crystals has seen a significant uptick. Crystals are not just pretty rocks, they are in fact power houses of energy. Harnessing this energy can be a powerful tool to promote energy balance in our body. More recently, the ancient practice of using crystals to revitalize water has seen an upsurge.

Crystals used in this way, not only transmit their energy to drinking water, but also contribute to increasing its alkalinity.

It is now a well-known fact that alkalinity in the body promotes health while acidic pH imbalance is the reason for most disease states. Gem water by Vita Juwel is a BPA-free crystal encased water bottle for energizing the water we consume. At IM, we believe this is a great way to promote Qi in the body. 

Meditation is also a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and practice of removing energy blocks with micro-needles to ensure proper Qi flow, has come a long way from “alternative medicine” to now gaining insurance coverage. Acupuncture thus far has been employed by practitioners to relieve migraine headaches, neck, spinal cord and lower back issues amongst other ailments. Acupuncture is now a well-accepted standard practice and is here to stay.

Holistic health awareness has seen a huge upsurge in the past decade. The year 2020 and beyond will hopefully see this rise up a notch with temporary health trends fading out, giving way to more long lasting health practices that are targeted towards mind-body-spirit wellness.

Overall, as we enter the new decade, we are looking to help our readers develop an open perspective so as to appreciate what integrative medicine can do for chronic disease. Doing so will help create more awareness and understanding regarding future holistic health breakthroughs of 2020.

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About Anupama Sataluri

Anupama began as a clinical researcher with a Master’s in Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics. Working in healthcare for the past seven years gave her a bird’s eye view of how the industry operates. She worked with state-of-the-art diagnostics and witnessed the tremendous progress made by western medicine in robotic surgery, but also noticed disappointed patients walk away with minimal relief because of symptom based treatment. Her work in healthcare combined with her personal interest in ancient holistic practices has urged her to believe in a future of integrated medicine. As a content writer at Innovative medicine, she strives to make IM readers aware about their health & well-being. Through her articles, she hope to encourage them to rethink their beliefs about disease & healing, with a goal to ultimately empower individuals to become self-healers.
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