8 of the World’s Strangest Wellness Practices and Traditions
It’s no secret that wellness trends in the United States have absolutely exploded over the past few years. Teenagers, celebrities, companies, and even entire industries have shifted their focus to meet this growing, millennial-driven market–one that’s valued at trillions of dollars.
The very notion of wellness itself has quickly evolved. No longer focused solely on physical health, it encapsulates a holistic, top-to-bottom ‘bettering’ of the body, mind, and emotions. Wellness now includes everything from specialized, organic diets and new fitness routines to health supplements and planetary healing.
The many branches and sub-branches of wellness all can trace their roots back to one defining theme: consumers increasingly want to be healthy and happy.
Wellness is seen and practiced in a variety of ways across the world - sometimes in manners that’d make you chuckle, shake your head in wonder, or grimace in disgust.
Check out these unique wellness practices:
Watching Your Own Brain Waves
For those self-proclaimed bio-hackers out there, watching your own brain waves with electroencephalography (EEG) tracking could be the key to inducing a deeply meditative state—without the need of monk-like mindfulness training.
The Penis Facial
Yes, you read that right. The Penis Facial. A beauty practice that Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock both professed to doing. Part of the treatment uses skin cells taken from Korean newborn baby foreskin (we’re not kidding) and, according to Cate, it smells not unlike sperm.
In the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia, there is a not-so-beautiful pre-marital tradition of tooth filing. Both the bride and the groom have to get two teeth filed to ward off malevolent forces such as greed, anger, and confusion.
Bee Sting Therapy
Fancy getting stung by a bee? We don’t, either. Gwenyth Paltrow, a renowned wellness advocate, made headlines when she announced she had tried out the ancient practice of voluntary bee stings, called apitherapy, meant to reduce skin inflammation and scarring.
The World Health Organization (WHO) referred to noise pollution as a modern plague in 2011. As such, resorts around the world have begun offering silent retreats in addition to digital detoxes. Rancho La Puerta in Mexico has a meditative dinner in which guests are asked to remain completely silent as they eat, listening only to music, while the Springwater Center in upstate New York has a week-long silent retreat.
In the forests of Gabon, a country on the west coast of Africa, you can take a psychedelic known as iboga. A shrub containing at least twelve mind-altering ingredients, critics argue that the hallucinogenic practice is dangerous. Ayahuasca, another psychedelic drug made out of plants, only has one mind-altering ingredient and is already banned in the US and UK.
Called Otonamaki in Japanese, adult wrapping focuses on bringing out your inner child...by enclosing you in cloth like a baby in a womb. You hug your knees to your chest and, once the fabric is tied, you’re gently rocked back and forth to relax and improve flexibility. Definitely not for the claustrophobic type.
You may have heard of this one. Technically called Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy - also known as Sensory Deprivation Flotation - numerous startups such as Next Level Floats are popularizing this wellness practice. You enter a pod filled with epsom-salted water and, when the lights turn off, you experience a host of crazy, out-of-body feelings. In the first few minutes of floating in complete darkness and silence, you may panic, hallucinate, feel disassociated from your body, or hear music that your brain generates. But after the initial uneasiness subsides, you relax in a way that you’ve probably never felt before.
Perhaps the most scientifically-backed wellness trend on this list, flotation therapy has been hailed to treat insomnia, depression, anxiety, and stress.
These practices a little out of your wellness comfort zone? Hydrant provides ridiculously easy, at-home hydration for those looking to add just a dash of self-care to their busy lives.