From CBD to digital detoxing – here are the 9 wellness trends of 2020

People are increasingly looking for wellness solutions to help them cope with greater stress in their lives. Photo: Destination Deluxe

As humanity is increasingly exposed to daily stresses from our urbanised lives, there has never been more of a need for a focus on wellness. We explore some of the newest wellness trends in 2020 to help you slow down and keep you happy and healthy.

1. Plant medicine – CBD everything

Photo: Esteban Lopez

We live in a world where chemical human-made prescription medicines and treatments run modern medicine. Have you stopped to consider the alternative? Plant medicine is rapidly gaining attention in 2020, in a bid to heal holistically and naturally.


Cannabidiol (CBD) treatments are being used to treat ailments such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, pain, inflammation, and even reduce acne. Evidence suggests that CBD can ease the symptoms of schizophrenia, seizures, prevent diabetes, and manage the side effects of cancer treatments.

So what is the magic ingredient? CBD contains tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Although CBD is not psychoactive, it still delivers the same medicinal goodness as marijuana. Research suggests that THC affects the endocannabinoid system, a regulatory system in humans that consists of naturally occurring molecules acting as neurotransmitters sending messages to the body. Cannabinoids are said to limit the number of neurotransmitters that are released, positively affecting how messages are sent, received and processed by our cells.

You can find CBD in a range of applications from oils, creams, pills, vapes, and edibles such as drinks, gummies and chocolates.

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2. City wellness centres

Photo: The Well

The United Nations estimates that 68 per cent of people will be living in urban areas by 2050. If you are living in a highly urbanised city, wellness centres may be just the solution if you can’t hop on the next flight out for a retreat or detox centre.

City wellness centres integrate a range of healing and detox facilities, customised health plans and modalities to aid people to live healthy lives. Manycentres aim to help people to slow down, manage stress and anxiety, relax and ultimately live happier lives. Whether it be spas or relaxation areas, yoga and meditation studios, holistic, alternative, functional, or Western and Eastern medicinal practices, these centres can be a one-stop-shop or specialise in one area.

City wellness centres also offer bodywork, energetic and intuitive healing, vibrational healing, immersive and sensory experiences, sound therapy, breathwork, skincare treatments, aromatherapy, and treatments such as light, electromagnetic wave and oxygen therapy. Nutrition and culinary approaches to wellness, Ayurvedic medicine, health coaching and the presence of integrative medical doctors and skilled practitioners are all aspects of the future of city wellness in urbanised areas.

3. DNA testing – personalised medicine

Photo: Michael Longmire

DNA testing has gained interest because of the benefits in detecting predisposed illnesses such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. DNA testing can also identify how people are affected by and can better optimise their diets and nutrition, stress, sleep, family planning options, and fitness to better suit their individual characteristics for better health for themselves and their families.


As these tests becomes more affordable, the science advances, and the technique is simplified; genetic analysis is becoming a valuable tool to health care and preventive care, allowing a proactive approach to health and wellness.

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4. Intermittent fasting

Photo: Joah Brown

Intermittent fasting is all the rage when it comes to the benefits it can have on ageing and disease and is backed by research as the key to a longer, healthier life.

Research has shown that IF can protect against diabetes and cardiovascular disease, reduce body fat, blood pressure and inflammation. Research also indicates it can delay the onset and slow the progression of degenerative diseases while allowing cells, tissues and organs to resist stress and disease linked to ageing.

So how does it work? It’s all in the fat. Fasting causes glycogen reserves to drop, when there is little glycogen left, fat is released into your bloodstream and converted into energy for your body and brain. The key is to fast for 12 to 24 hours to see these effects, most significant changes occur at the 18-hour mark, putting your body in a state of ketosis and allowing you to reap health benefits.

5. Sleep

Photo: Vladislav Muslakov

The trend is not only to make sleep a priority but how to achieve it and optimise it through progressive means. Sleep is an essential aspect of health and wellness and hugely valuable to human cognitive and physical functioning.


Some of the standard modules for sleep efficiency include gear and bedding, the manipulation of light, environment, body temperature, habit, routine or ritual, and good health and lifestyle choices.

Other methods include manipulation of air quality and sound frequency, supplementation and determining your chronotype and circadian rhythm. More technological-based modules include lowering your exposure to electromagnetic frequencies, sleep applications and pulsed electromagnetic field devices (PEMF).

6. Mindful digital wellness and digital detoxing

Photo: Oleg Magni

Overexposure to digital technology is linked to issues with sleep, stress, burnout, depression and anxiety. The need to ditch your phone and devices is highly unlikely. Instead of deeming our digital lives unhealthy, the trend is to turn to a more mindful use of our devices. Developing a healthy relationship with your devices and shifting your awareness to your screen time.


Not only can you attend workshops and training programmes, track screen time with apps, you can also make it a point to create rules and conscious choices of when you use or don’t use your phone, even disconnecting from time to time. Many experts suggest the key is to create balance in your digital life.

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7. Ecotherapy

Photo: Vero Photoart

The positive impact of spending time in nature (as highlighted by the Global Wellness Summit in our Wellness Trends for 2019) continues to be a major trend in 2020, as our connection to it is diminished due to our urbanised lifestyles. Research indicates that nature has a healing effect on our physical and mental well-being, and that it is essential to our health. Indoor lifestyles and behavioural patterns related to urbanisation are linked to chronic disease, social isolation, lower emotional well-being, anxiety and unhappiness.


Ecotherapy, also called “green therapy” or” nature therapy,” focuses on the human and nature relationship. Ecotherapy aims to provide balancing and calming effects on our physiology, like lowering blood pressure and slowing breath, as well as improving our mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and stress.

Some applications of ecotherapy include meditation in nature, forest bathing (shinrin-yoku), horticultural therapy, animal-assisted therapy, physical exercise in nature, and ecological restoration and conservation.

8. Spiritual wellness

Photo: Post Ranch Inn

As the need to find purpose becomes important to many people, spiritual wellness is increasing in popularity. Experiences and practices that allow people to connect with themselves on a deeper level are sought out like never before.


Spirituality encompasses the belief that there is a higher power at play, whether you choose religion or other pathways to enlightenment, spirituality enables people to live more fulfilled lives.

Holistic practices such as shamanism, chakra balance, rebirthing, shadow work, energy healing and numerology are becoming more popular as people search for answers and try to reconnect with parts of themselves.

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9. Ice baths

Wim Hof is covered in more than 700kg of ice cubes. Photo: ANP

Ice baths are becoming increasing popular as a wellness tool, as Wim Hof, “the Iceman” continues to gain followers around the world with his Wim Hof Method to reboot the immune system. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Madonna have also taken advantage of the ice bath’s healing properties. This trend gained traction with the introduction of cryotherapy, which uses extremely cold temperatures of between minus 110 to minus 150 degrees Celsius to destroy abnormal tissue, relive muscle pain and headaches and boost the immune system. Bathing in cold water as a cure for diseases has long been a “trend” in Europe with Kneipp baths (walking or bathing in hot water, followed by a dip in ice cold water) dating back to 1850. If you’re not benefiting from cold showers yet, don’t miss out.

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This article originally appeared on Destination Deluxe .

Greater urbanisation is raising the daily stress levels in our lives, and forcing people to look for solutions