Health and Wellness

From cupping to IV drips: Top 5 wellness trends, according to Yelp

Leila Milaya | Twenty20

"Wellness" encompasses much more than just gyms and diets — it also includes spas, personalized medicine, tourism and real estate. It's an industry worth $4.2 trillion, according to a 2017 report from the Global Wellness Institute.

To trace the way that wellness trends have evolved over the years, business reviews site Yelp analyzed data from customer reviews dating back to 2004 (when Yelp launched). They noted the treatments that have grown the most since the first time they appeared on the platform, and highlighted some of the trends.

These are the top businesses that Yelp reports are "on the rise."

Cupping

Cupping, which involves creating suction on the skin typically with a glass or ceramic cup to reduce pain, is a traditional practice used in China and the Middle East that has been around for centuries, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

This therapeutic treatment is popular among athletes, who seek it out to heal sore muscles. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, swimmer Michael Phelps had visible cupping marks on his back, which sparked a discussion about the practice.

But Yelp noticed the trend really took off in 2015, rising over 150% between then and 2019.

IV drips

Receiving an intravenous solution of vitamins has gone from a medical treatment for extreme dehydration to a wellness trend. Yelp first noticed the trend in 2008, but between 2016 and 2019 the site experienced a 900% increase in mentions of "IV drips."

When vitamins are administered intravenously, they enter the bloodstream immediately, so they work more efficiently on the body than an oral vitamin supplement. People seek out these treatments for various reasons, including fast-tracking hangover recovery, warding off a cold and getting more energy. The vitamins used in the solutions vary, but typically contain a blend of saline solution, electrolytes as well as C and B vitamins.

While IV drips are increasingly popular, and some say they are effective, there are still risks. For example, certain IV mixtures can interfere with medications, and the IV itself could cause injury or infection if it's not administered properly.

Infrared sauna

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, uses an infrared sauna regularly. He told the podcast Ben Greenfield Fitness: Diet, Fat Loss and Performance that he uses an at-home near-infrared SaunaSpace tent in addition to a barrel sauna, which he alternates with an ice bath, daily.

Dorsey said using a sauna has had a big impact on his mental clarity. Specifically, he told Ben Greenfield that the infrared sauna "feels more like daily restorative kind of clarifying and cleansing."

Infrared saunas have been hot since 2014, per Yelp's survey. While a traditional sauna heats the air, infrared ones use lamps that emit far-infrared waves that heat your body from the inside out. Research suggests that using this type of sauna can reduce pain, help your heart and possibly improve your mood.

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Reiki

Reiki, an Eastern form of healing in which a practitioner places their hands over someone's body to redirect their energy, is on the rise, according to Yelp. Research has shown that Reiki can be useful in treating pain, anxiety and depression, but there hasn't been solid proof that it does anything at all.

Although the practice is relatively simple (a practitioner will barely touch the person receiving Reiki), some say it has a profound effect on their mood and quality of life.

According to Yelp, Reiki is currently making a comeback after declining from 2006 to 2010.

Breathwork

Meditation is a mind-body practice that has been around for thousands of years, and has been touted as a mental tool.

Breathwork is essentially a term used to describe specific breathing techniques people use to increase their focus and creativity, as well as to relax. Deep breathing will help increase the oxygen coming into your body, as well as activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This has a physiological effect on your body, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, and allowing you to feel calm.

Deepak Chopra is an advocate; for example, he recommends this technique to help you fall asleep.

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