When it comes to taking care of ourselves, there are endless ways to go about it. As well as the usual tried-and-tested self-care methods, the wellness world is constantly awash with new trends, usually claiming to be the ultimate key to well-being.
But which have swept the nation in 2022, and which have we left behind? Using Google Trends, we analysed search data to see which wellbeing practices have been on the up, and which have been on the down, over the past 12 months.
The UK’s most popular wellness trends 2022
Building beauty from within
Collagen is officially the biggest trend of 2022, with a whopping 7900% increase in interest. The benefits of collagen for skincare are well known, but it can also support bone, joint and digestive health.
It’s no surprise that collagen supplements are flying off the shelves in all forms — from capsule to powder to liquid — and their popularity continues to rise.
This elevated interest in collagen could also be part of a larger trend of beauty products getting under the skin. Face yoga has also seen an increase in searches (56%), showing that many of us are willing to pay attention to the deeper levels of our facial skin tissue rather than just what’s on the surface.
Wellness at work and homes as sanctuaries
Following a rollercoaster two years, it’s no surprise that these recent events are shifting our approach to wellness in a real and significant way.
Other key trends of 2022 include wellness at work (+4500%), home as a sanctuary (+153%) and minimalism (+117%), likely a result of more time spent at home over the past few years. This has led to many of us realising the importance of a home environment that supports our wellness in every way possible, not to mention an increased focus on maintaining these supportive habits even after returning to the workplace.
Tying into this is perhaps the increased emphasis on rest and recovery as opposed to the nonstop hustle and bustle many of us experienced before the pandemic. Trends like muscle recovery (+100%), sensory deprivation tanks (+92%) and lymphatic drainage massage (+47%) are also on the rise, showing that we want more ways to slow down and recover.
Women’s health is front and centre
Menstrual health has also become a huge focus in 2022, including how to make periods easier on the environment. A new wave of menstrual health products, such as period cups (+733%) and period underwear (+88%), have appeared on the shelves of high-street health and beauty retailers. Not only do these new-age period care products seek to promote improved menstrual health, they also save a huge amount of waste from going to landfill.
Menopausal health has also seen more of the spotlight this year, with search interest increasing 58%. This trend is a reassuring sign that the health of women of all ages is beginning to be taken more seriously, with awareness of the menopause and its effects increasing.
Elevating the senses
Another theme apparent from the most-searched trends of the year is the use and manipulation of our senses to create certain zen experiences.
Binaural beats (+38%) and sound healing (+32%), for example, involve the art of using certain soundscapes and music to relax, soothe, motivate, alter mood, or disrupt unhealthy thought patterns.
Nootropics (+183%) and psychedelics (+44%) are also on the rise. While the gaming community is driving the use of nootropics thanks to their cognitive-enhancing benefits, research into psychedelics and their potential therapeutic uses continues.
The UK’s least popular wellness trends 2022
Superfoods and plant-based diets see drop in interest
Mushrooms (-100%), sea vegetables (-39%) and adaptogens (-35%) have all seen a decline in interest this year, suggesting a realisation that these “superfoods” perhaps aren’t so super after all. While additions like these can certainly be beneficial, offering several cognitive and mood-boosting effects, the cost-of-living crisis may have put increased pressure on food bills leading to a drop in consumption of pricey ingredients.
Plant-based diets have also seen a relatively small drop in interest of 18%, suggesting that perhaps these diets are becoming more accepted and “the norm”, and therefore don’t drive as much hype or curiosity as they used to. Additionally, the cost-of-living crisis could also be having an impact here, leading to people to revert to a way of eating they’re comfortable with rather than experimenting with a new diet.
Decreased focus on mental health, immunity and stress
When looking at wellness trends that lost search popularity in 2022, there is a clear decreased focus on mental health, gut health and immune health. While these things are still considered important by many, search interest for them has dropped off, possibly due to the continued return to normal life after several lockdowns.
That said, the post-pandemic world offers new challenges — the pressures of going back to work, back to social occasions, and the increasing cost-of-living. It’s therefore important that we keep the spotlight firmly on mental health and stress management, so that these issues aren’t exacerbated later down the line.
Immune health should also continue to be important in order to protect against bugs all year round, while gut health also plays a key part in our general health and wellbeing, and so should also be prioritised.
Take Home Message
Whatever your own approach to wellbeing, it’s reassuring to know there’s always something out there to suit your own needs and lifestyle.
If you’re looking for a way to change up your wellness routine for 2023, there are plenty of options to fit around your unique needs and circumstances.
As with any diet or fitness plan, it’s crucial to do your due diligence when considering trying any new wellness practice, and to always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional.
We compiled a list of over 80 different well-being trends, before using Google Trends to track their search interest over the last 12 months. We then looked at the increase or decrease in search interest over that period to uncover the most and least popular wellness trends.