Last updated April 10, 2023
It used to be that when we spoke about holistic wellness, we referred to it as alternative medicine. The truer definition, however, encompasses a more comprehensive and balanced approach to health that looks at the whole person—mind, body and spirit—resulting in an overall feeling of well-being.
Table of Contents
This once niche concept has (ahem) now turned into a mainstream lifestyle. In fact, today’s global wellness market is valued at over $5.3 trillion USD with an annual growth rate of 10%.
We’ve become so invested in upping our wellness game that we are obsessed with a variety of paths that could potentially lead us to a high-level state of well-being. From mushrooms and plant medicine retreats to IV therapy and LED face masks, these are just a few of the trends gaining traction in the holistic wellness space. In this article, we look at the top ten trends in holistic wellness that are making headlines.
1. Wellness Tourism
Wellness tourism is at an all-time high. Instead of booking hotel getaways at casinos where guests can also lounge by the pool, gamble and drink cocktails all day, people are opting to fly across the world to full-on holistic wellness centers where local plants make it into herbal preparations, and where Ayurveda treatments and yoga classes, detox juices and other purification regimens, as well as nutrition counseling, are part of the daily regime. Centers such as these in lush locations offer privacy worthy of stars are finding themselves fully booked one year out.
Lions mane, chaga, turkey tail, reishi, shiitake, maitake and even psilocybin! Over the past few years, mushrooms have found their way into coffee and immunity drinks. Liberal states in the U.S. and many countries have legalized psychedelic mushrooms for healing trauma and PTSD under licensed psychiatrists. This trend continues to grow exponentially as the health benefits of mushrooms can be found everywhere. Dig a little and you will even find retreats offering psilocybin microdose journeys within safe containers to heal, open and foster creativity.
3. Women’s Healing Circles
Sisters! Rise together! Womb reclamation and sisterhood is a major theme and I believe this one is here to stay. As elements of long-standing patriarchal society begin to crumble, women are coming together to unite, teach and learn from each other—laying a softer foundational design for future generations that begin with building on each other’s strengths and making female rivalry a thing of the past.
Women’s retreats and healing circles are not only a great place to heal and let your wild hair down but also to network with other strong, like-minded, visionary women. Retreats like these are for women of all ages and color. Some have more of a sport-adventure-outdoors theme while some are simply geared toward awakening the goddess within, soul searching and meditating in nature.
4. Plant Medicine Retreats
Popular hashtag #thankyouplantmedicine reveals just how grateful millions of participants feel after retreats centered around honoring plant medicine such as Ayahuasca, a psychedelic brew of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. Emotional healing of trauma and spiritual advancement among those who offer a small sacrifice to the plant spirit “dieta,” partial fasting, or giving up caffeine and sweets, is said to be exponential within the intentional group containers set by retreat founders and the integration period. But plant medicine is no joke. Go in with reverence to the plant and the administers. Retreats like these are best had with real shamans such as the Shipibo shaman in Iquitos, Peru.
5. Swapping Coffee for Matcha Tea
I love coffee. The smell and taste of it with Venusian additions of local honey, cacao butter and almond milk. But no matter how I doctor it up, there is still a huge spike in energy for around two hours along with cortisol release, the “stress chemical,” followed by a major crash. Not so with matcha. Matcha energy lasts four to six hours with no crash plus it releases L- Theanine, which produces calming alpha waves for sustained concentration. Matcha also doesn’t stain your teeth. My mom is already on this trend but I still prefer my coffee…
6. Digital Detox
Take off the Apple watch, leave the Oura ring on the nightstand, stow your phone on airplane mode and come join the digital detox party! With immediate stress relief including less tension associated with unplugging from all devices and just remembering how to be human again, top global retreats are strongly advising guests to become fully human and stay present for their healing journeys without the cortisol-releasing dings of their tech tools going off sending a rush of tension to the brain and muscle fibers.
People in general are also fasting from technology. Unplugging for entire weekends at a time or doing the suggested intermittent fasting hours such as unplugging after 7 pm nightly. Disconnect to reconnect!
Centering yourself and letting go of stress throughout the day is a skill; especially for people with high-pressure jobs. Meditation is for sure helpful, yet most of us don’t want to make time to sit still with our eyes closed for hours. Big companies now have found the right compromise. Enter the mini-meditation, consciousness practices and positive psychology. Google implements positive psychology by offering in-house meditations and massage. Nike offers free in-house yoga and meditation. Both companies report more alert, creative employees who take fewer sick days.
But even if you don’t have a high-pressure job, mini-meditations from 5-20 minutes a day, make a big difference. And if you think an app will help you do that, there are many to choose from. Headspace was rated best for adults and Smiling Mind best for kids.
8. IV Therapy
IV therapy treatments allow the nutrients of vitamins and minerals to be absorbed quickly and directly into the bloodstream without having to pass through digestion. So factors such as slow metabolism, age, gut health and genetics can’t get in the way of absorption and the nutrients pretty much get into the system full throttle. People are loving the immediate improvement to skin health and immunity delivered by this process.
It is also easier to correct vitamin deficiencies and up your vitamin C in cases where you may have been exposed to sickness or when you need it to recover after surgery. Common ingredients in an IV vitamin drip are vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium and calcium. That said, the drip melange should be tailored to your specific needs after a doctor’s consultation.
9. Contrast Therapy
Recovery is big this year as experts are finding it equally as important as exercise. Watch for tools such as infrared saunas to be added to wellness centers and for installation prices to drop to make them more accessible for in-home use.
Improved sleep, protection against oxidation damage—the main cause of disease and aging—lower stress, better skin health, cellular detoxification and purifications of all kinds are but a few of the health benefits gleaned from just 20 minutes in an infrared sauna at temperatures of around 120°F/50°C.
Cold water immersion such as ice bath plunges, bathing in glacier lakes or simple cold showers as prescribed in the Wim Hof Method is a favorite among athletes for its affordability, accessibility and effects. Cold water therapies provide longevity benefits such as improved recovery rate, cell repair, boosting immunity, reduced inflammation and speeding metabolism. It is a nice pairing to follow this up with an infrared sauna.
10. LED Face Masks
Move over botox and filler, there is a much more pleasant beauty scene emerging without poisons or anything fake. Also helpful in warding off Seasonal Affection Disorder, LED face masks are surely in the spotlight for good reason. With different settings for acne, solar repair and depression, LED face masks are the latest innovation to cross from the salon to your in-home therapeutic spa experience.
Up Your Holistic Wellness Game
Holistic wellness is a concept that focuses on the whole person, rather than just physical health. It takes into account all aspects of life, including mental, emotional, spiritual and social well-being. Traditional healthcare tends to focus on treating specific symptoms, which are usually physical. But, a more holistic wellness approach encourages us to look at our lives holistically and take steps to improve our overall well-being. By doing so, we can create a healthier lifestyle for ourselves and those around us.
At Vacayou [pronounced VACAY – YOU], we believe that travel has the power to change lives. The power to revive, rejuvenate and redirect your inner wellness warrior. And that’s why we’re here. Take an online staycation with us and change how you think about travel. Let us make it easier for you to search, discover, and book wellness and active vacations. But we don’t stop there. We are with you every step of the way—before, during and after your journey—to make sure you enjoy the most meaningful vacation ever. Vacayou is wellness travel that meets you right where you are.
There’s a whole world out there and Vacayou is here to help YOU explore it! No matter how far or how adventurous, our team scours the globe to curate the best in wellness travel.
We love connecting people to their next wellness vacation or inspiring them to reach higher with access to global retreat centers. Start the trip of your lifetime today with Vacayou!
P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.