Are These TikTok Wellness Trends Worth The Hype?
When it comes to wellness, it would be easy to dismiss TikTok as a place full of misinformation and dodgy health hacks. Certainly, some are not worth attempting, and yet other TikTok health trends are not only backed by science but also carry the weight of time-tested wisdom that predates the existence of this social media platform.
It’s always crucial to approach ‘trends’ with some caution, steering clear of extreme diets and nutrition hacks that haven’t been verified by experts in the field. However, thanks to TikTok, some well-being gems have been brought to the mainstream including viral trends such as focusing on protein, collagen, medicinal mushrooms and including more plants all of which get our Nutritionist stamp of approval.
In this article, we dive into 5 recent TikTok wellness trends and determine if they are hype or here to stay;
Magnesium: Natures Chill Pill
Magnesium has found its spotlight on TikTok and for good reason. From improving sleep quality to supporting muscle function, this mineral is trending in a big way. As far as minerals go, magnesium is an excellent one to focus on. Not only is this crucial nutrient involved over 600 enzymatic reactions in the body which influences every single biological system in the body, as a population we are low in magnesium and aren't getting enough through our diet. Not only are we not reaching our recommended amounts of magnesium in our diets, factors such as stress, caffeine consumption, high intensity exercise and alcohol can leave us further depleted.
Known as Nature’s tranquiliser, magnesium supports relaxation across many systems in the body. From relaxing twitching or cramping muscles to supporting a sluggish gut, optimising hydration and calming the mind, it can provide a true holistic calming effect throughout the body; a TikTok trend we’re backing.
Tongue Scraping: A Ritual for Oral Health
Tongue scraping, rooted in Ayurvedic practices, has gained recent momentum on TikTok for its purported benefits in oral hygiene and overall well-being. This ancient ritual involves gently scraping the tongue to remove toxins and bacteria using a copper tongue scraping tool, promoting a healthier mouth as well as other holistic benefits.
Although there’s not a huge amount of studies on tongue scraping, it does align both with ancient wisdom and modern dental practices. Simply put, by removing the build-up of bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue, you can expect a fresher breath and potentially improved dental health. On top of this, it can enhance the flavours of your food and according to Ayurvedic practices, it may improve your digestion. The action of scraping is thought to promote your digestive fire or agni by increasing saliva production. This trend is also relatively inexpensive and a quick addition to your daily routine.
Mouth Taping: Breathing for Bedtime
We predict sleep optimisation techniques will continue to be a focus for many over the coming year as more people realise how crucial it is for overall health. Amongst the rising interest in improving sleep is the mouth taping trend. TikTok users demonstrate how to apply this special tape before bed, encouraging nasal breathing (instead of mouth breathing) to enhance oxygenation of tissues during sleep and promoting better sleep quality.
Breathing through your nose, instead of primarily your mouth, has several benefits, especially if you have allergies, asthma, chronic sinusitis or suffer from sleep issues. As the air passes through your nose, it filters, warms and moistens air as well as increases your oxygen absorption. It is in fact your body's preferred way of obtaining oxygen for this reason. For those who don’t naturally breathe through their nose as they sleep, mouth taping is believed to help.
This trend comes with a word of caution; it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. While it can be beneficial for some to improve their sleep quality, it may present risks for others. Firstly, your mouth serves as a backup breathing source, and taping it could hinder natural sighs or exhales, crucial for immediate airway relief by releasing excess CO2. Individuals who struggle to breathe effectively through their nose or experience nasal congestion may find it even more challenging to do so while sleeping. Lastly, those dealing with anxiety, claustrophobia, or sleep apnea should consult their healthcare professional for personalised advice.
Dry Body Brushing: Renewing Skin and Enhancing Circulation
Another simple, cost-effective and holistic self-care trend we can get behind is dry body brushing. Advocates of this skin-loving ritual say that it promotes everything from skin renewal, exfoliation, and enhanced circulation and energy - however, we approach some other claims such as improved immune health and reduced cellulite with a hint of scepticism. Although it may have some great benefits, it is worth noting that these are often anecdotal and dry body brushing has not been hugely studied.
Dry body brushing however is also rooted in ancient wisdom as an ayurvedic ritual called garshana, which improves circulation and in turn is thought to promote lymphatic drainage as a powerful way to support the natural process of detoxification in the body. In Ayurveda, dry body brushing is particularly supportive during late winter to spring when the body is believed to be more ‘stagnated’.
Dry body brushing can be an effective skin exfoliator, however it is important not to overdo it. The key is using medium pressure long strokes, starting from your feet and working your way up and like any health ritual worth doing, you want to do it consistently to feel the benefits.
The 75 Hard Challenge: Hype or Here to Stay?
The 75 hard challenge took TikTok by storm in 2023, encouraging participants to do four things over 75 consecutive days; follow a strict diet with zero alcohol or “cheat meals”, perform two 45-minute workouts each day (one of which should be outdoors), drink a gallon of water every day and take daily progress pictures. Whilst there may be some merit to cutting down on alcohol, getting outdoors to exercise and being adequately hydrated, this challenge feels like taking a huge step back to the days of restrictive extreme dieting, unsustainable exercise regimes and placing the entire emphasis on aesthetics as a wellness marker.
Not only is following any diet without room for flexibility draining, dull and extremely difficult to stick to, at worst it can foster a dangerous relationship with food and when tied closely to ‘progress photos’ may lead to disordered eating. Further to this, working out twice a day for 75 days without taking time for the body to rest and repair puts a huge amount of unnecessary stress on the body and is likely to lead to further issues from poor recovery and hormonal imbalances. Unfortunately, TikTok continues to showcase some of these extreme diets and detoxes that promise results through restrictive and unsustainable measures. These trends often lack scientific validity and can be detrimental to overall health, leading to nutrient deficiencies and other health complications
We’re placing this TikTok trend at the top of the trash pile and placing our attention instead on sustainable, nourishing and positive rituals and health habits which we can stick to for a lifetime.