A glossary of treatments, regimens and movements sweeping Asia Pacific
It goes without saying that an increasingly stressed out world will inspire a world of stress-busters, from new forms of exercise to herbal supplements. Enter adaptogens, a family of herbs — like ginseng and reishi mushrooms — that have been known to help manage physical stress by calming the nerves and boosting the immune system. These natural substances were allegedly the tonic of choice among soldiers of ancient China and India, and now they’re making a comeback in hip juice bars as super-ingredients in power smoothies, and in the form of supplements available at online natural food retailers like iHerb. The physical toll of traveling is well-documented — from lugging heavy backpacks, to negotiating airport crowds and queues at airports, to sitting in a pressurized cabin for hours. If you’re looking at a busy calendar of ticking destinations off your bucket list, look into adaptogens and see what the buzz is about.
The Singapore Calisthenics Academy, one of the first gyms in Singapore to focus on bodyweight training (strength training exercises which use one’s own weight as a form of resistance, like lunges), might have been a forerunner in the trend when it opened in 2014. Lead instructor Jasen Teoh says he has seen a spike in interest in the equipment-free exercises this year. “Many people adjust these exercises to meet their chosen levels of intensity or difficulty.””
Cold-pressed coconut oil
The new darling of the wellness world, cold-pressed virgin coconut oil (produced in many coconut-growing Asian countries), is beloved for its healing properties. Fabian M. Dayrit of the Department of Chemistry at Ateneo de Manila University confirms that the oil’s lauric acid content, which supports hormone and cellular health, makes it easy for the body to absorb. While it’s not for every hair or skin type, the oil is acknowledged to be beneficial for most when used topically — a few drops, warmed between the hands, is adequate. Opt for the cold-pressed oil offered by Filipino specialist Santa Maria (at lazada.com.ph).
In July, about 20,000 people in Sydney pledged to abstain from alcohol for a month as part of the city’s 10th annual Dry July campaign. Held to raise funds for cancer patients, it also highlighted the importance of having healthier drinking habits. First seen in the UK — they began as social enterprises that supported recovering alcoholics — dry bars have started opening up in cities like Dublin and Paris. If you missed out on going dry in Sydney, look forward to Ocsober and Febfast; or visit Wild Kombucha, a non-alcoholic bar offering creative kombucha concoctions.
An increasing number of people are looking to healthier alternatives to the traditionally synthetic and calorie-laden energy drinks. Market insiders say we’re likely to see a spike in demand for unsweetened, non-artificially caffeinated drinks that offer the energy-giving effects of natural ingredients. One such product is Steaz Energy, the world’s first Fair Trade Certified organic drink that consists of guarana berries, a potent source of caffeine, and yerba mate, a plant of the holly family that’s rich in antioxidants.