Trump. Brexit. Climate change. It's only two weeks into 2019 and we've already had spiders falling from the sky.
It's understandable to crave a little bit of self-care, a trend clearly reflected in our Internet histories. Search results for "wellness" has almost doubled over the past 10 years, with a particularly noticeable spike in February 2017.
But while we credit the wellness movement for encouraging people to prioritize their mental wellbeing, we have to admit, at a certain point, it goes way too far. That point is gushing about the life-changing benefits of hyperbaric oxygen chambers, human chargers, and pink coconut water. Because white coconut water, apparently, is just not hydrating enough.
These are just a few of the frankly bizarre wellness practices mentioned in a recent Times article, which has gone viral for all the wrong best reasons.
Not all of the suggestions made in the article are too wild (think: green smoothies and blue-light blocking shades), but others make Goop’s hormone-regulating jade eggs sound vaguely plausible. Take, for example, nail beds, quartz crystals, and salt lamps said to absorb radioactivity.
One person recalls going barefoot to receive electrons from the Earth.
Another respondent reports waking up extra early to ensure he has time to rehydrate, meditate, and, erm, re-charge with his HumanCharger before heading off to work. These sleek-looking devices promise to increase energy levels and mood and prevent jet lag by channeling a bright light through your ears, straight to the light-sensitive areas of the brain. It receives mixed reviews on Amazon and the science is murky at best, as one Guardian reviewer puts it. Experts suggest it works just as well as a placebo.
But, worryingly, some of the suggestions included in the piece go beyond pointless examples of pseudoscience. Some can be actively harmful. For example, consuming activated charcoal, which may bind with certain medications, including anti-depressants (not to mention nausea and constipation).
Perhaps one of the least advisable pieces of advice included in the article is Sun-staring. A 30-year-old business consultant explains how she frequently goes to Hyde Park, takes off her shoes, and stares directly into the Sun.
"I Sun-stare because the UV rays aren’t harmful to my retina the first hour after sunrise, and it resets my circadian rhythms and helps me fall asleep later in the day," she says.
Maybe but it will also damage your retinas. UV rays may be less intense earlier in the day, but that does not make it safe to look directly at the Sun. In fact, the average person may be exposed to more UV radiation in the early morning and late afternoon because the Sun is lower in the sky.