Ice baths in winter, mystical super‑juices and why K‑pop stars could be your new personal trainers — welcome to the breaking news in woo‑woo for 2022.
1. Pelvic floor workouts
It's time to talk about the big squeeze. And no, we don't mean getting out of your overdraft after Christmas. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles (PFM), which run like a hammock from your tailbone to your pubic bone, is going to be a big health focus for 2022. The market in electric pelvic floor trainers, for example, is predicted to grow by 11.5 per cent each year until 2028. Thousands of women suffer from pelvic floor issues, particularly after giving birth, and for too long the topic has been taboo or left to the likes of Gwynnie, whose Goop site has previously suggested squatting down and peeing in the shower to strengthen the muscles. Strange, we know. Now at last it's being normalised. TikTok's Pelvic Floor PT (self-dubbed), Dr Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas (@scrambledjam), has had more than eight million likes for her tutorials on PFM-strengthening exercises, while Instagram's @the.vagina.whisperer (aka the pelvic floor therapist Dr Sara Reardon) has 289,000 followers.
This year Ten Health and Fitness studios in London will be rolling out workshops on how to improve your pelvic floor health as part of its Women's Wellbeing programme. If you prefer to work on yours at home, Kendall Scales, a physiotherapist and women's health lead at Ten, says: "Spend some time educating yourself and build a connection to your pelvic floor now — don't wait until there's a problem. A great way to maintain good pelvic health is through low-impact exercise such as Pilates, which helps to strengthen your whole body with a focus on the pelvic floor and core muscles as well as your breathing — both important for good pelvic health."
2. Better breathing
Yes, O2, the thing we need to survive, is trending and simply breathing it in isn't enough. Lanserhof at the Arts Club, in Mayfair, has a cutting-edge Airzone treatment that alternately supplies and deprives the body of oxygen. The theory is that the oxygen deficit kills weak cells so they are replaced with stronger ones and optimises post-exercise recovery. It's not just about how much oxygen you're getting either — it's the quality too. Sign up for a session inside a hyperbaric chamber to breathe in oxygen-rich air that allows far more of the stuff to be absorbed into your bloodstream. This is the sort of treatment once only available to professional athletes and the A-list, but now weekend warriors can recover with an hour in a hyperbaric pod.
3. The new (old) super-juice: jamu
Forget green goddess juice, this year everyone is going to be drinking jamu. A natural herbal tonic made with turmeric, honey, lime juice and ginger, it is claimed to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits. It's one of the key pillars of the centuries-old Indonesian wellness philosophy also called jamu, which prioritises pursuing wellness with a mindset of joy. Leading the new wave is the Indonesian-American Metta Murdaya, who has her own jamu-inspired skincare line, Juara, and last year published a book on its history and practice, Jamu Lifestyle: The Indonesian Herbal Wellness Tradition.
4. The return of 'cosmic ordering'
Want a new year's resolution without all the effort? "Cosmic ordering", aka the manifesting movement that first became popular in the early 2000s, is back. (Noel Edmonds claimed the original book by Barbel Mohr is what got him his gig on Deal or No Deal, don't ya know.) On Selling Sunset Christine Quinn was sent off to a special coach to manifest being less of a biatch and, in fact, she puts her career down to "manifestation", recently telling People magazine: "I wanted to be in these beautiful houses so desperately, and I knew, one day, I would live in one." Other celebrity fans include Oprah Winfrey, who promoted the bestselling manifestation guidebook The Secret on her show, and Lady Gaga, who says she used affirmations to help manifest her success. There are various ways of manifesting but the most popular is the simple 369 method, which involves writing down what you want to achieve as though it has already happened. Scribble it down three times at breakfast, six times in the afternoon and nine before bed. The "law of attraction" will then get to work and make it happen. Right?
5. Supercharge your meditation
Yes, vibrating meditation aids are the latest bit of zen tech, promising to help increase relaxation and boost resilience to stress. Try Sensate 2: first, find a comfortable place to lie for ten minutes, then place the palm-sized "pebble" on your chest. While you listen to a meditation session via the accompanying app the gadget transmits infrasonic waves through your body, helping to spread calm. And coming soon is Core by Hyperice. Hold the Core ball while you meditate or listen to one of its app's breathwork-training sessions or guided meditations — the soft vibrations and lights pulsing from it are to help you focus your attention and regulate your breathing. And during each use the Core's ECG biosensors measure your heart rate so you can track how deep you go.
6. K-pop fitness
K-pop stars are famous not only for catchy songs but also epic dance routines. Around the world gyms have launched virtual K-pop-inspired dance cardio classes so you can learn the moves and get your heart racing. KpopX Fitness offers daily classes for all levels for free (kpopxfitness.com). Meanwhile the online learning platform ED Kpop will help aspiring stars with virtual workshops on fitness, dance and singing for students around the world by the experts who have trained mega-bands including BTS and Black Pink.
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7. Personal ice baths
Because who doesn't want to get into a freezing cold tub in the middle of winter? Ice baths have long been loved by the hardcore wellness devotees for their muscle recovery benefits, so it seems natural that the next fitness flex is to have your own at home. This year sees the launch of Monk, a personal temperature-controlled ice bath, with a cold water therapy app, that people can set up in their own bathrooms. These are the Peloton of the recovery world.
Written by: Hannah Evans
© The Times of London