2020 highlights include trends, CBD, and Bif Naked on the Women and Wellness Panel
In 2019, the climate crisis (which was just declared the word of the year) came sharply into the spotlight, championed by the unflagging efforts of a 16-year-old girl, Greta Thunberg. The meat-free revolution went mainstream, thanks to Beyond Meat being available at most fast-food chains in North America.
The upcoming Wellness Show in Vancouver is the best place to discover wellness trends for the upcoming year and decade, and is one of the staple shows I enjoy going to each year. Some highlights include:
Technology is increasingly taking workouts from the gym or yoga studio and bringing them into living rooms. We’re seeing a focus on in-home workouts, based on the popularity of workout interfaces like Mirror and Peloton. Nintendo is about to release Ring Fit Adventure, an add-on to the Nintendo Switch that incorporates you physically into the virtual world of a video game, and delivers a smart workout to boot. You’ll be able to try this new interface at the show. When I owned a Wii Fit, I used it regularly until my sensor broke — so this is good news in the gaming world!
As science begins to keep pace with wellness, getting intensive doses of holistic care becomes more accessible. IV therapy is a pumped-up version of taking vitamins, infusing your body with a strong dose of B-Vitamins or iron if you are feeling droopy. Intensive stays at spas include massage, yoga, aromatherapy, healthy food and the naturally healing waters of hot springs. Hollyhock on Cortes Island also offers immersive wellness programs, from yoga and meditation to mindfulness and Qi Gong. Core Potentials creates a holistic wellness plan that includes food, exercise and mindfulness.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is derived from the hemp plant, a cousin to cannabis. Unlike the key ingredient in cannabis, THC, CBD does not get you high. (Read my primer on why I use cannabis here!) CBD has been proven to have many health benefits; hemp or CBD oil has been shown to limit oil production, making it a great treatment for acne-prone skin. It’s soothing for sensitive skin and is loaded with antioxidants, making it a great choice for aging. It’s equally great for pain relief if you have arthritis, muscle or joint pain, and can be found in balms or even soaps! TnT Botanicals sells it in bath bombs (above), and Chii, a Canadian line of natural hemp oil skincare products, will be making their debut at the show.
Wellness from your phone
As technology gets smarter, more wellness applications are being delivered through our devices. Earlier this year, Telus launched Babylon, an app that allows you to see a doctor through video chat. There are now a variety of tests that you can take via your smartphone, and a “smart sleep mask” that gently lures you to sleep and then wakes you up using red and blue light technology. Helthe Connect is an app created to connect people and organizations with wellness practitioners—like a matchmaking app, but for your health and wellness journey. Bios Medical offers blood pressure monitoring devices that send data to your phone to help determine your average blood pressure over a week, and to figure out how to manage it better.
There is a growing body of evidence that light therapy is hugely effective—especially during these dark winter months when natural sunlight is increasingly rare. Light Therapy can be accessed both at home by using commercially-produced lamps that help mimic the effects of the sun’s rays. This therapy is effective in dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Other, more powerful forms of light therapy are thought to help with sports injuries and pain, relaxation, and stress relief. Try the Helight (above), or you can try a Bioptron session at The Wellness Show.
Everything old is new again, it seems, and sound bathing, an ancient wellness practice, is no exception. I myself have only had one experience of a sound bath (using gongs) at a Kundalini yoga class many years ago, and I’m craving to try it again. In a session, participants lay on the floor on yoga mats and get comfy. The practitioner plays sounds on singing bowls made of crystal. The overall effect on your brain is much like meditation; it causes a state of deep relaxation. Sound bathing may have other positive effects, both physically and mentally. Personally, I love the goosebumps and electric currents that run through my body when I’m at a great concert– only at a sound bath, it’s more for relaxation/good vibes, and there’s no additional harm to my eardrums! At The Wellness Show, you can pick up some singing bowls from Crafts of Tibet, and experiment at home!
Though the name implies you’ll be submerged in water, that is not the case with Forest Bathing. And it’s more than just taking a walk in the woods. Based on the ancient Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, Forest Bathing is more like a walking meditation in the woods. It’s about mindfulness and observation, breathing and seeing, rather than cardio. Connecting with nature is proven to lower levels of cortisol, reduce blood pressure, and even increase immunity. Curious? Join in on a Bagua Walking Meditation, as demonstrated by Bodhi Meditation. Participants in this group meditation walk in circles around a tree, focusing their energy on it, while holding various poses. I did something similar at a nature walk at Hollyhock while attending the Social Venture Institute in 2017, and it was extremely powerful. Hollyhock is a special place for this connection to nature and spirit.
What we put in our bodies is a growing concern for many, but we’re also feeling short on time to prepare healthy meals and snacks. An increasing number of businesses are getting into the “healthy convenience” shelf-space in grocery stores. This includes pre-packaged “fast” foods, but created with health in mind. Naked Coconuts is debuting a brand-new line of paleo and vegan energy balls, with such intriguing flavours as Pistachio Cardamom, Mocha, and Lemon Coconut. Vegan & non-GMO cookies by Maple Wellness are made with sprouted spelt for an extra nutritional punch, and come in five different flavours, including Crunchy Ginger.
Bif Naked on the Stage
I got super excited when I saw that Bif Naked was on the roster for the Women and Wellness Seminar Series, which has been a staple for a few years now, and where I got to chat with Lori Joyce in 2018. Bif Naked is a Gold and Platinum selling performer, songwriter and producer, best-selling author, human and animal rights advocate, humanitarian, artist manager, beloved Canadian icon, and arguably, one of the world’s most unique and recognizable (vegan!) celebrities. Bif has launched what she calls the “hottest and freshest” international online CBD brand, MonaLisaHealing.com. She’ll be joined by singer, TV personality, producer, and podcast host Mary Zilba and long time high-profile cannabis and civil liberties advocate Jodie Emery at 2:00pm on Saturday, February 1st, and will also speak Sunday, February 2 at 2:00pm on the Living Well Seminar Stage. While there’s no description on what the speakers will be discussing on Saturday, judging by their common interests, I expect CBD to be the topic. I plan to be there, so say hi if you see me!
Other interesting topics in the Women and Wellness series include hormones, the link between gut health, depression, and breast cancer/mental health, detoxing, light bladder leakage, and the adrenal & stress weight loss connection.
Topics on the Living Well Stage include ADHD & concussions, IV Nutrient Therapy, collagen, immune health, mineral imbalances, and more.
Other things to see at The 2020 Wellness Show
Among the many products and services you’ll find at the show — including plant-based foods (who doesn’t love samples?) — Rolling Cashew will be serving up vegan food! I vouch for their buffalo cauli “wings” and still need to get my ass out to their weekly wing Wednesdays.
The Wellness Show takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre West building (1055 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC V6C 0C3) on Saturday February 1 (10:00am – 7:00pm) and Sunday February 2 (10:00am – 6:00pm), 2020. The show includes 250+ exhibitors, five stages with 100+ demonstrations in fitness, celebrity and other local chefs, tons of free samples, and more. For tickets and info, visit thewellnessshow.com.