In an effort to sleep better, reduce stress, lose weight, and increase energy, people are looking for natural wellness solutions without the use of medication or chemicals. More and more people are turning to natural health and wellness options like infrared saunas, crystals, and essential oils to address a number of issues.

Do Alternative Medicines Work?

Not too long ago, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and alternative medicine, might have seemed “woo-woo” but are now gaining in popularity and advocates swear that these alternative medicines work. However, it can be difficult to determine which trends are worth trying and which might not be so effective.    

We’re going to cover five popular wellness trends and tell you what you need to know about how they work, in case they’re something you or your coaching clients want to consider trying. 

Practice Common Sense Wellness

Before we start, it’s important to say that we’re not doctors or scientists here at Health Coach Institute. We love all things wellness and are always looking out for ways to be happier and healthier, but we’re experts in health and life coaching. Students often come to HCI to improve their own health, wellness, and mindset and get to the root cause, as do their coaching clients. 

We suggest that before you try anything on this list that you do your research and consult with your doctor.  

All About Infrared Saunas: Do Infrared Saunas Work?

The popularity of infrared saunas is on the rise. They’ve long been popular with celebrities and health and wellness enthusiasts and many believe that infrared saunas offer numerous health benefits. A long sweat session can help you feel relaxed and rested, along with soothing sore muscles.  

How Do Infrared Saunas Work?

Infrared saunas use lamps (that, in turn, use electromagnetic radiation), to directly warm your body. Proponents say that the warmth penetrates more deeply than other types of saunas. 

Where Can I Try an Infrared Sauna?

You can try infrared sauna treatments at health clubs, spas, or even some doctor’s offices. You can also buy a personal sauna for your own home, which some coaches and clients do, and place either inside or outside of your house. You can even purchase infrared sauna blankets and portable tents!  

According to this Healthline article, here are some infrared sauna health benefits:

  • Better sleep
  • Relaxation
  • Detoxification
  • Weight loss
  • Relief from sore muscles
  • Relief from joint pain such as arthritis
  • Clear and tighter skin
  • Improved circulation
  • Help for people with chronic fatigue syndrome

What is the Best Choice Between and Infrared or Dry Sauna?

Another consideration is how to choose between an infrared sauna vs. dry sauna. In an infrared sauna, heat is provided directly from the infrared lamps that use electromagnetic radiation. In a dry sauna, the air around you is heated. It’s thought that heat directed to the body is what makes infrared saunas a better option. 

To safely use an infrared sauna, be sure to drink plenty of water, set the recommended temperature, and work your way up to extended sessions. 

What To Know About Crystals: Do Crystals Work?

The use of healing crystals is another trend that has a long history. Some believe it goes back as much as 6,000 years. It was a popular treatment again in the 1970s and is gaining in popularity now. Proponents of crystal healing believe that crystals have the power to heal our bodies, ward off illness and negative energy, increase relaxation, and more. 

What is Crystal Healing?

Crystal healing involves placing crystals on your body or nearby to help draw out negative energy. Some people wear them as jewelry, keep them near in small bags, on a nightstand, or placed around their home. 

Different Types of Crystals Have Different Healing Properties

Not all crystals are the same. Each type has unique properties that target specific maladies.

Here is a list of different kinds of crystals and their healing properties, according to an article on Elle.com:

  • Amethyst: It helps get rid of addictions, disruptive behaviors, enhances your intuition, and increases your spirituality. 
  • Citrine: Known as the stone of success, citrine brings in energies of personal power. It’s great at getting rid of negative energy and perfect for people in demanding careers. 
  • Aventurine: This is known as the stone of luck. It’s good for mental powers, money, peace, and good fortune. When people hold this stone they say spontaneous opportunities of luck suddenly start to drop in front of them. It’s a great stone to help enhance your career. 
  • Clear quartz: It’s great for focus, balance, positivity, and clarity. Rose quartz is a favorite among women because it’s known as the love stone, helping to enhance one’s sense of self-love before opening them up to the love that awaits them in the world.

How Do Essential Oils Work?

Essential oils are one of the most popular trends on this list—and one of the oldest, going as far back as ancient Egypt. Now, there are a number of network marketing companies devoted to selling essential oils and you can even find them in your local grocery or big-box store. They can be used in aromatherapy, cooking, and for topical application. 

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated natural extracts from the flowers, stems, and leaves of various plants. The compounds are extracted through distillation or cold pressing. “True” essential oils are obtained without chemical processes. Once extracted, they’re ready for use. 

How Do Health Practitioners Use Essential Oils?

Essential oils are most commonly used for aromatherapy, for both their amazing scents and therapeutic properties. You can use a diffuser or humidifier by simply filling them with water, putting in a few drops of whatever combination of oils you like, and letting the diffuser disperse it into the air. 

You can also combine them with a carrier oil and apply them directly to the skin. Some essential oils can sting when applied directly to the skin, so when combined with a carrier oil that is safe (such as coconut oil), it “carries” the essential oil to the skin. 

What Do Essential Oils Address?

Aromatherapy can address a number of issues including: 

  • Pain management
  • Digestion issues
  • Soothing sore joints
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Boosting immunity

Here’s a list of popular essential oils and their common uses, according to an article on  Healthline

  • Peppermint: used to boost energy and aid digestion
  • Lavender: used to relieve stress
  • Sandalwood: used to calm nerves and help with focus
  • Bergamot: used to reduce stress and improve skin conditions like eczema
  • Rose: used to improve mood and reduce anxiety
  • Chamomile: used to improve mood and relaxation
  • Ylang-Ylang: used to treat headaches, nausea, and skin conditions
  • Tea Tree: used to fight infections and boost immunity
  • Jasmine: used to help with depression, childbirth, and libido
  • Lemon: used to aid digestion, mood, headaches, and more

What About Fasting?

Intermittent fasting(IF) is a schedule of eating in which you eat for only certain periods during the day, often a short window of time. This is usually primarily for weight loss.  

How Does Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

Here’s a short explanation on the science of intermittent fasting, according to Dr. Monique Tello in Harvard Health Publishing

Intermittent fasting makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains (think white flours and rice), are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells don’t use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well…, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.

Between meals, as long as we don’t snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.

As with most diets, it’s important that you make the right decision for yourself and your body. This requires extensive research and consulting with your doctor and nutrition experts. 

Example of Intermittent Fasting Eating Schedule

If you’re interested in intermittent fasting there are a number of ways you can schedule it. 

16:8. Eat eight hours of the day, fasting for 16. 

5:2. Eat normally five days a week and restrict calories to 500-600 the other two days. 

24-hour fast. Fast for 24 hours once or twice a week.

Alternate-day. Fast or restrict calories every other day. 

Warrior diet. Eat a small amount of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and eat one large meal at night.

No matter how you choose to fast, you should continue to eat healthy foods. Check out our post on meal prepping so you can plan healthy meals! 

Should I Use Herbal Supplements?

If you check out the vitamin aisle of your local health food or grocery store, you might be overwhelmed by the number of options available to you. Many of them include herbal supplements that address any number of concerns including sleep, anxiety, digestive issues, allergies, and more. They’re widely used, to varying degrees of success. 

According to a report from the National Institute of Health, “The amount of scientific evidence we have on dietary supplements varies widely—we have a lot of information on some and very little on others. Studies have found that some dietary supplements may have some benefit, such as melatonin for jet lag, and others may have little or no benefit, such as ginkgo for dementia.”

So what does this mean for you if you’re looking to use probiotics for digestion issues or melatonin to get to sleep? 

As with many natural options, it’s all about being informed. Be sure to do your research, read labels carefully, and consult with your doctor. Take only the dose suggested and use precaution if you have preexisting conditions, are pregnant, or are getting ready to have surgery. 

You can find herbal supplements in the form of a pill, capsule, powder, tea, or liquid. 

Passionate About Health and Wellness? Learn More with HCI

At Health Coach Institute, we’re passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and creating real and lasting change in our lives and the lives of our clients. Some members of our community love taking advantage of the trends on this list and even use them in their coaching practice. 

Find out more about living a healthy lifestyle and becoming a Health and Life Coach with our exclusive 6 month program. Find out all about our mission to revolutionize healthcare and how our program prepares you to become a masterful coach of all things health and wellness!