The health and wellness market has absolutely exploded over the last decade or so. It seems like everyday there's a new and exciting (and sometimes bizarre!) trend geared toward helping people get healthy. There are the old standbys of course, like eating well and exercising. But who wants to do something boring like that when you can jump on the oxygen shots train?! In all seriousness though, a lot of recent outrageous health trends tend to prey on vulnerable people looking for a quick fix. The truth is for a lot of people, living a healthy lifestyle requires some pretty major overhaul. You can't really fix your whole life with one quick scheme - it just doesn't work that way!
Sadly, one quick scheme is what so many people want, and what so many people fall for. It's easy to fall into the trap when you see something advertised on social media, or even the news in some cases. Something catches fire, and pretty soon it's everywhere and being touted as the next big thing. These outrageous health trends went viral, but for all the wrong reasons. Few of them actually work, and many of them are potentially dangerous. Skip these insane viral health trends, and opt for coming up with a plan with your doctor. Your journey to a healthier you should never endanger your life!
Listen, we love animals as much as they next person. And don't think we wouldn't enjoy the heck out of doing yoga around baby goats! But we have to draw the line somewhere, and cow cuddling is apparently that line for us. A farm in Upstate New York called Mountain Horse Farm offers a 90-minute cuddle sesh for $300. What does that get you? You'll be able to cuddle, pet, and play with cows. So how exactly does that benefit you? Eh, it's hard to say. Yes, research suggests that cuddling animals may offer some health benefits. But having animals around can actually take away from the mindfulness of practices like yoga. Not to mention, these are animals. Big animals. Seems risky, no?
Now, we know what you're thinking. Aren't oxygen shots just ... breathing? Apparently not! Simon Cowell raised some eyebrows when he walked a red carpet with cans of oxygen in tow. Cowell says that the oxygen helps give him a youthful glow, and also helps manage stress, fatigue, and even help him fight off the urge to smoke. But there's no research to support that oxygen shots do anything but ... give you a shot of oxygen. In fact, some experts say they can actually accelerate aging by increasing free radical generation. Even though we need oxygen to live, too much oxygen (especially concentrated oxygen) can be harmful. Lay off the shots, guys.
Listen, we love coffee. It's our lifeblood. We love to drink it, eat things flavored with it, we're not even averse to using skin care products that smell like it or have coffee in them. But we will not, under any circumstances, put it in our butt. Not going to happen! Gwyneth Paltrow, she of GOOP fame and questionable medical advice, goes viral for all the wrong reasons for her outrageous health trends. But the coffee enema crossed the line. Not only do they not have any actual health benefits, they can actually do some pretty extensive damage! We're talking rectal burns, infections, colon inflammation, and even colon perforation. Leave your coffee in your mug and have it cleanse your colon the old-fashioned way.
It's generally a good idea to take any advice given to you by people worth hundreds of millions of dollars with a grain of salt. Because they operate on a whole different plane than we do. The Kardashians have gotten quite the reputation for peddling outrageous health trends. Kim Kardashian did some sponcon for appetite-suppressing lollipops. And several of the sisters, like Khloe, advertise this Flat Tummy nonsense. Shakes, teas, supplements - they make it sound like those products are responsible for their bodies. And not, you know, the team of personal trainers, chefs, and dietitians they employ. These are not safe nor sustainable ways to lose weight, so please don't listen to them. Unless of course you want to poop your pants, because that's all that will happen if you drink those shakes or teas.
So we go from shots of concentrated oxygen to living on nothing but air! Goodness, we're getting a headache just thinking about some of this stuff. Akahi Ricardo and Camila Castello claim to be "Breatharians", which means that they sustain themselves on basically just ... air. The couple (and parents of two!) say that they've eaten next to nothing for 10 years, instead sustaining their existence solely on the energy of the universe. O ... kay? Ricardo and Castello claim that all they've eaten since 2008 is a piece of fruit or vegetable broth 2-3 times a week. Castello even claims to have not eaten anything during her entire first pregnancy. It should go without saying, but please don't try this.
Some outrageous health trends are only outrageous because of how far people take them. Certain types of fasting, like short fasts or intermittent fasting, can be beneficial. But actor Firass Dirani took it a bit further when he did a week-long water fast. For an entire week, all he drank was water (1.5 liters a day, to be exact). No food! Just water. Dirani claims the fast gave him "supersonic focus" and clarity. And presumably, helped him get intimately familiar with his bathroom. While some medical professionals say healthy people can undergo short fasts on their own, anything longer than three days should only be done under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
We all brush our tongues in the morning to get rid of the gunk and nasty morning breath, right? It's part of the process! But one of the outrageous health trends a lot of "healthy-living" bloggers and influencers are promoting takes it a bit farther. They claim that tongue scraping (exactly what it sounds like, btw) can not only help with bad breath, but it can eliminate "toxins" from your body and improve your overall physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Tongue scraping is actually an age-old Ayurvedic practice, but it's recently caught on as another way to remove those pesky "toxins" and "bad bacteria" from your life.
Water is very good for you. We should all drink more water! But this new trend of "live" or "raw" water is a bit ... concerning. A company in Oregon called Live Spring Water promises pure opal spring water from (we're guessing) magical water wells in Central Oregon. They say their water is "abundant in beauty mineral silica" and full of probiotics that promote gut health. It's unfiltered, untreated, and comes in pretty glass jars. It's also expensive, at $13-16 per jug. They claim to perform extensive third-party testing, and say no one has ever gotten sick from drinking their ground water. Water is water, you guys.
Every once in a while, outrageous health trends pop up that claim to be life-saving. Life-changing! Life-giving. Big, lofty claims that are literally never backed up by any sort of science or medical research. Celery juice is just the latest, and might be the grossest? Nothing against celery, but drinking a glass of celery juice sounds terrible, tbh. Celery juice stans claim it will cure everything from acne to mental illness to digestive issues. And stars like Miranda Kerr are all aboard the celery juice train. But, you guys. Nothing, literally NOTHING, can live up to the claims celery juicers are putting out there. Is it bad for you? No, not at all! Drink a glass of celery, go nuts. Is it going to change and/or save your life? Not likely.
Did you know that there are people in the world who actually think a pill can offer them protection from the sun? Jesus take the wheel. Unnecessary PSA: pills cannot and do not protect you from the sun's harmful rays, and will not keep you from getting sunburned or damaging your skin in any way. The FDA even had to put out a warning because companies were claiming their sunscreen pills provided protection from UV-rays. But, like all outrageous health trends, this one caught on for a bit! And, we imagine, resulted in some pretty sunburned people who relied on a pill to protect their skin.
We think it's pretty safe to say at this point that you should not be getting health and wellness advice from Ms. Paltrow. Great actress! Terrible healthcare expert. We've already gone over how Gwynnie wanted you to squirt coffee into your bum (don'd do that!). But it's not your butts! She also suggested that you insert a jade egg into your vagina. According to the now-removed page on GOOP, putting a jade egg in your hooha would "increase vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance and feminine energy in general". Experts say this is total hogwash, and GOOP ended up getting sued and settling the case for $145,000.
We love Mariah Carey, but she's a little ... out there. At one point, she announced that should would be going on a diet where all she ate were purple foods. Purple cabbage, grapes, plums, you get the idea. We don't know if someone actually told her this was a legitimate diet, or if she just really loves the color purple. There's nothing wrong with purple foods. In fact, plenty of purple foods are rich in potent antioxidants called flavonoids that benefit your heart, brain, and body. But experts warn that focusing on eating just one color of food means you'll be missing out on vital nutrients in other foods, like "carotenoids in yellow/orange vegetables, lignans in brown whole grains, or the iron in red meat." Eat the rainbow, decorate your home in your favorite color.
We know that carb-cutting is all the rage. But really, our bodies need carbs in some form or another. And when it comes to putting your infant or young child on a strict or restrictive diet, unless it's for actual medical reasons, it's never a good idea. Shan Cooper, a mother in Australia, went viral for putting her 13-month-old daughter Grace on a strict Paleo diet. Grace eats a diet heavy in protein and veggies, with very little carbs and no grains or dairy. Cooper claims the diet has kept her daughter from getting sick, saying she's barely had a cold in her life. But dietitian Dr Rosemary Stanton warns against such a restrictive diet for babies, saying the lack of grains or even legumes in the diet of a developing child is concerning.
OK, so this one isn't GOOP's fault entirely. But, much like the noni eggs and coffee enemas they peddled, GOOP popularized this whole crystal water bottle thing. We think crystals and such are super pretty, but some of the claims made about them are a bit hard to swallow. Apparently people believe that drinking water out of a bottle with crystals in it is ... better? Beneficial? Magic? We don't know. What we do know, and what experts have said over and over again, is that there is absolutely no scientific evidence that supports crystals being some sort of therapeutic remedy in any way. If you think crystals help with your good vibes and energy, more power to you. But don't expect them to actually provide any quantifiable benefit.
You may notice that outrageous health trends tend to play on our insecurities. Weight, mental health, health and wellness - these are all issues many of us have struggled with at one time or another. So of course, companies spot that weakness and exploit it! It's the American way. One trend that took off recently was this concept of hot pants. Basically, pants that make you sweat. Companies like Zaggora claim that their pants or corsets or tops use something called "thermogenesis" to melt the inches off your thighs. While they may make you sweat, they will not do a damn thing for your trouble spots or slim you down three sizes. In fact, wearing these things can actually cause you to overheat and faint or suffer heat stroke.
Image: iStock / max-kegfire
Admit it - when you heard the words "penis facial" you imagined some sort of NSFW porn-type treatment, right? HARD SAME. But the facial made famous by stars like Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett doesn't actually involve penises anywhere near your face. It does involve skin care products made from a synthetic form of a molecule derived from foreskins, though. Sounds neat! It's hard (heh) to say whether or not using foreskin molecules does anything beneficial to your skin, but it's approved by the FDA, so it's safe, at least. But you can also just stick to your regular skin care routine and leaves the foreskin for ... whatever foreskin is used for.