Heal thyself: Wellness made effortlessly easy with gadgets
Health trends have quick expiry dates. Social media can’t be trusted fully in these matters, and drawing-room conversations on wellness are not free of misinformation.
Published: 01st January 2023 05:00 AM | Last Updated: 30th December 2022 11:32 AM | A+A A-
Health trends have quick expiry dates. Social media can’t be trusted fully in these matters, and drawing-room conversations on wellness are not free of misinformation. Now people are taking health into their own hands. The global wellness market is expected to reach $7 trillion by 2025, up from $4.37 trillion in 2020—here’s what ‘feeling good’ will look like in 2023.
Feel it, Own it
Extraordinary times means extraordinary measures. Self-monitoring devices are booming. As preventative care is being taken seriously, health gadgets like wearable sensors, at-home diagnostic kits and websites or apps that collect real-time data of vitals are here to stay. Globally, the market for such technologies is slated to grow from $48.7 billion in 2021 to $185.9 billion by 2026. “Monitoring simple things such as blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen level, lung function, and even ECG at home helps to prevent and manage several conditions. This year, 5G-driven health devices, handheld no-wires electrocardiograph (ECG), poop analytics, biosensors, biochips and smart clothing will improve health and personal efficiency,” says Gurugram-based internal medicine specialist Dr Bimal Sen.
According to Statista, around 14 percent Indians struggle with some form of mental disorder. The low number of mental healthcare providers—0.75 psychiatrists and psychologists per lakh people (the appropriate number should be above three, according to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry)—makes self-care imperative. The use of pen-and-paper tools such as colouring and journalling, and digital solutions like apps and websites teaching meditative walking or emotional diffusion is growing.
“They build tremendous self-awareness that helps affected people shed maladaptive behaviours and imbibe progressive ones. Heightened awareness lets them catch the early signs of any illness mental or physical which can be managed at the nascent stage itself,” says Delhi-based psychotherapist Rachit Jain.
The expert view is also that primal prevention, the area of preventative care that looks at foetal development will grow. “This centres on the early months of pregnancy, and includes educating parents about epigenetic influences such as stress, environment and food on the genome structure to prevent any medical setback,” says Jain.
Mend on the Go
The rapidly growing bio-implants market will witness a proliferation of engineered devices that support or replace biological structures, according to Maximize Market Research, the India-based healthcare market research firm.
IIT Kharagpur, which set up a cutting-edge Bioelectronics Innovation Laboratory in 2018 to create implantable biological devices, is developing battery-free devices for the treatment of disorders of the brain, nerve, muscle and the spinal cord. Globally, the next frontier is implants for pain-management that are flexible, dissolvable and relieve pain without the use of drugs.
A team of researchers at Northwestern University, US, has developed one such implant that can be wrapped around pain-causing nerves during surgery, which offers targeted cooling, thereby numbing the area. When it’s no longer needed, the body simply absorbs it.
Let it Sync in
Cycle syncing is a way of aligning a woman’s lifestyle with the four menstrual phases—menstruation, follicular, ovulatory and luteal. It begins by tracking each phase and tailoring exercise regime, nutrition, rest and sleep in a way that supports it, thus regulating hormones, improving fertility and assisting with disease management. “Women have suffered from menstrual imbalances since long. It’s time to make the best use of those period phases to improve mood and productivity, reduce symptoms (if started early) of PMS, dysmenorrheal, fibroids and PCOD,” says Gurugram-based gynaecologist and obstetrician Geetha Mathur.
Fruits of Friluftsliv
Sweden has more night than sun. Hence Swedes love to stay out, go for walks, cycle, canoe, fish, hunt, hike and trek. Called Friluftsliv or open-air living, this Nordic passion for nature found global appeal during the lockdown when all movement was restricted. “People realised the importance of the great outdoors in a big way, making walking, wildlife watching, relaxing outside alone and nature photography,” says Mumbai-based life coach Sid Malhotra, adding that “Friluftsliv topped up the value
of human life and for that reason, will continue to find resonance in the coming times.” The pandemic triggered a 25 percent increase in anxiety and depression. Tapping into the psychological benefits of Friluftsliv such as stabilising mood, invoking calm, honing mental sharpness and creativity, and lowering symptoms of anxiety will not be incidental, but will become an essential.
The Next Frontiers
New research shows that the body responds better to medication if aligned with the circadian rhythm. The science of biological rhythms, the 24-hour light-dark cycle and seasonal change, will go mainstream.
Synthetic ‘magic’ mushrooms
Since naturally occurring molecules such as norbaeocystin, baeocystin, psilocybin, norpsilocin and aeruginascin cannot be patented, startups are creating synthetic blends to relieve symptoms of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental health conditions.
‘I will be older later’ mantra will make the booming longevity industry the biggest and most complex one in human history. It goes far beyond bio-medicine, to cover advances in preventive care, AI, AgeTech, mitochondrial rejuvenation, supplements, senolytics and finance.