Today is such a gorgeous day to be writing this post! I’m lounging outside with my pupper, catching some rays and just enjoying a relaxing Sunday. I’m a big believer in practicing what I preach and today I’m practicing some self-care with an iced coffee in hand and getting in touch with the outdoors.
Studying wellness trends is one of my fave pastimes. My interest stems from years of chronic pain issues, not liking to waste time on baseless wellness activities, a fascination of the science behind wellness practices and, most importantly, wanting to be the best me I can be.
I love that my passion for investigating and trying out all of these different wellness practices are beneficial to all of you. When something makes me feel Ah-mazing you all are the first people I want to tell so you can get in on this amazingness! When I research and debunk something I want to share that too because no one wants to waste their time and money.
Without any further adieu let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what wellness trends are winners and which ones are flops.
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase through the links, we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. However, all my opinions are my own.
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There’s a reason I’m going with this one first. It’s fantastic!
Let me start off by saying that even though both acupuncture and dry needling use filament needles and are awesome they are NOT the same thing. Acupuncture is kickass for its own reasons and will get that soon!
Dry needling is used to treat muscular pain and soft tissue pain (myofascial pain). The needle is injected into trigger points or overactive muscles to help restore function. Trigger points or overactive muscles are often the sources of a lot of people’s pain. The insertion of the needle can cause a local twitch response which is spinal cord reflexes.
Personally, I can tell you that dry needling has worked wonders for me. I had it done on my frozen shoulder in 2011 when my shoulder flared up super bad post hip surgery. Most recently, I had it done on my scar tissue from my 2018 hip surgery and, holy biscuits, the difference was amazing. We tested my hip movement right before the needling and everything felt very tight and constricted like my skin was too tight (which it basically was). I could literally see it trying to stretch over my hip bone when I’d try to do a bridge. The movement I had after the needling had me jumping up and down. My skin was no longer being pulled taut over my hip and I was actually able to bring my leg behind me while walking instead of having to swing it around.
I’m not gonna lie, needling my scars was horrifically painful and I felt like my hip was on fire. This basically went on for the longest 15 minutes of my life and when we were finished there was a giant sweat angel under me, but it was all worth it because it took only 15 minutes to give me back movement in my hip that even 6 months of PT may not have been able to do.
On a positive note, most of you receiving dry needling won’t be doing it with 3-month-old scars so it won’t be nearly as painful. When I get it done on my fleshier bits like my glutes or my back it’s barely noticeable.
Enough of my anecdotal evidence though because you’re here for the deets. To put it plain and simple, much like acupuncture, science is not exactly sure how dry needling works and more studies need to be done. There’s also not a ton of research done which is quite sad. Given the concern that the medical community has with prescribing things like opioids to those who have chronic pain and the amount of those who suffer from chronic pain you would think that they would be spending more time researching methods that seem like they may be beneficial in alleviating pain without the use of medications.
This article does a pretty good job of outlining the pros and cons that the research has shown without getting overly sciency about it. If you prefer your deets more on the science side then check this one out. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of dry needling and the research is inconclusive either way, but based off my own personal experience with it I highly recommend getting this treatment if you have any muscle pain. And with a qualified PT of course!
Dry brushing is pretty self-explanatory. You brush your skin while it’s dry. So what exactly is a dry brush? Well it’s not a hairbrush first of all. That’d just be silly, haha. You can choose between a body brush like this or a dishwashing brush like this. It all just depends on how stiff you like your bristles.
You then take the brush and start brushing your skin in a specific order. It’s believed that this exfoliates dead skin (that ones obvs), reduce cellulite, increase circulation, help digestion, and, most importantly, stimulates your lymphatic system.
We exfoliate our faces so why not our bodies? If we’re looking at dry brushing from purely a cosmetic place then yes it does help remove dead skin just like exfoliating the skin on your face does. This also helps prevent clogged pores if you tend to get acne from dry skin that’s hanging out. Guilty as charged on that one! My skin is like the Sahara and dry brushing has helped me not only get rid of my clogged pores on getting on top of my shoulders, but it’s also helped my skin absorb my lotion better. I’m definitely less lizard-like since I’ve added this to my evening self-care schedule.
But does this wellness trend actually have the health benefits it claims beyond the cosmetic ones? It does and it doesn’t. Check out this post from Cleveland Clinic here for the specifics.
This wellness trend can help detoxify your body by increasing blood circulation AND promoting lymph flow. All those claims of peeps feeling super awake after dry brushing aren’t a placebo effect! Dry brushing actually stimulates your nervous system…just like coffee!
Sorry to those of you who are looking to get rid of that thigh and booty cellulite. Dry brushing research shows that it does not help rid stretch marks or cellulite. Guess we’ll have to keep waiting for science to help us on that one and in the meantime love our bodies just as they are.
Sadly for me, it also doesn’t help with digestion, but there are so many wellness trends out there that can help with digestion so I’m still a happy camper.
Platelet Rich Plasma Injection (PRP)
Platelet Rich Plasma Injection is the injection of a concentration of platelets into injured ligaments, tendons, and joints to use the body’s own natural healing process. PRP is used to treat many hard-to-treat issues like strains, rotator cuff issues, back pain, nerve entrapment and many more. It’s claimed that treatment works better than pain injection shots which would be wonderful since those shots can cause degradation of the area.
Your injection is actually made up of your own blood. They draw your blood when you get to your appointment and it takes about 30 minutes to get it ready to go. It is then injected into the place thought to be causing the pain. Depending on the area sometimes ultrasound is used to make sure it’s being injected into the correct location, especially if it’s anywhere near your spine.
I’ve been researching this one a lot lately because of this stupid, nagging psoas tendonitis that just won’t chill out. PRP has been around for awhile as a treatment for athletes, but it’s just now starting to be recognized as a possible solution for those who chronic pain or hard to treat pain producers.
I was super excited to see this research on PRP for tendon issues. The results showed that the injection of PRP into injured tendons helped increase all the good stuff that leads to healing and limit the bad stuff that causes inflammation. This is great news for me since the psoas is a tendon and a very slow healer due to its location.
Unfortunately, ligaments did not seem to receive the same boost in healing that tendons did when injected with PRP. What a bummer! There’s still hope though because other studies showed contradictory evidence. So cross your fingers!
Knee osteoarthritis is one of the biggest health issues senior citizens suffer from and the medical community has finally started to invest more time into trying non-surgical avenues instead of jumping right into the surgical ones. That’s great news since research on knee osteoarthritis and PRP is leaning towards the optimistic side!
Although there needs to be more research, this has been pretty well-researched as far as wellness trends go. If you have chronic pain issues or hard to treat issues like rotator cuff tears I highly suggest doing some research on PRP to see if it may be helpful. It’s almost always worth looking at alternative ways to heal instead of jumping right into therapy, even though surgery is definitely necessary at times.
Acupressure mats have small plastic spikes covering them which you can lay or stand on that apply pressure to your acu-points. The needles don’t actually pierce your skin the way that acupuncture does and you can decide how much contact you want (or don’t want). You can start off with a shirt on so there’s a layer between you and the mat and slowly work your way up to just putting your bare skin on it. The pain is less piercing and more like little pricks with some itchiness thrown in.
In order to get into how the mat is supposed to work, I need to get a little down and dirty with how acupressure works in general. The theory is that there are specific points in your body that when pressure is applied they stimulate wellness and balance. Practitioners use their hands, palms, elbows, etc. to apply pressure to these points. Now with a mat, the pressure is kind of applied everywhere so you do lose out on the specificity that comes with actually seeing someone, but most of us don’t have time for regular acupressure visits sadly.
I’m ecstatic to say that there are some really awesome results from research studies done on acupressure. I couldn’t find any specific ones that use the mats, but I feel like the general process is similar. If you know of any studies that use the mats throw them my way! What’s disappointing is that, like many other wellness trends, they don’t know why it works.
Help ease tricky lower back pain by spending 20 minutes on your beloved acupressure mat and take the edge off anxiety. Even better if you throw in some meditation! It’s had good results with pregnancy nausea, insomnia, bad periods and so much more. I feel pretty valid in my mat time and am armed with a bunch of studies to show my BF when he teases me.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of these wellness trends and I hope you found the post helpful!
I’m loving digging into all these different wellness trends and trying new ones out in the name of science (or not so sciency). Do you have any wellness trends that you’ve tried out recently or want to me to write about? Let me know below and check out the wellness trends you have to try in the meantime!
As Walgreens says…”be well”.
PS. I hate when they do that.