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What exactly is ‘dirty wellness’?

Photo by Muffin Creatives from Pexels

A recent trend identified by the GWI (Global Wellness Institute), ‘dirty wellness’ is described as ‘the new nature economy’ and is set to affect the fitness industry.

As per a GWI trends report, ‘getting down and dirty in nature is crucial to overall wellness’. The report notes that the health of the world’s soil, and likewise the impact of soil exposure on human health, have now become far more critical.

Says the report: “Soil is our planet’s most extraordinary ecosystem, a living microbial stew that for millions of years did its job: from cycling nutrients to plants to capturing vast amounts of atmospheric carbon. For 99% of human evolution, people lived deep in soil, as foragers and farmers. Now we’re soil-deprived, no longer bathing in that bacterial and fungal richness. Yet mounting research indicates that soil exposure has an eye-opening impact on everything from immune to mental health. Industrial agriculture has decimated the world’s soil and the soil crisis is here.”

The ‘dirty wellness’ trend explores how a soil-restoring regenerative agriculture will become a hot topic in wellness: from “regen-certified” becoming the next food label (far more meaningful than organic) to more wellness brands moving to regen-sourced ingredients. Spas and wellness centres may start to offer guests some form of ‘soil bathing’ in a new microbial architecture creating indoor spaces teeming with healthy soil microbes.

In terms of the future, the GWI expects to see more creative, soulful nature-meets-movement experiences: from wild swimming to jaw-dropping walks. It notes that the new farm-wellness resort, Heckfield Place, in the UK offers a whole slate of farm-focused wellness and fitness experiences, from a “Farm Fit” circuit that has you jumping over hay bales and milk churns, to forest meditation.

“At travel destinations, deep-in-nature fitness adventures are now squarely positioned as mental health journeys. Native Like Water’s Mexican retreats use surf therapy to specifically tackle depression and PTSD. In St. Lucia, Windjammer Landing created Underwater Breathwork, a sunrise dive to amplify the calming benefits of scuba diving with healing breathwork,” states the report. (Source: https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/press-room/press-releases/eight-global-wellness-trends/)

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