As we all know, Instagram has the power to drive trends globally, magically making things you would otherwise not know about seem cool or desirable, some for the better, and some for the worse.
I think Instagram is a great tool for discovery and education, if you follow the right accounts and sift through the inevitable b.s.! For whatever reason, the health trends are what always seem to catch my eye, and catch fire. 2018 was the year of “self care” on Instagram, and we saw pretty much everyone (and their mom) partaking in it. I’ve personally always been a huge advocate of self care, so I thought these trends were at least inspiring people to live better, healthier lives, as opposed to the unfortunate trends like the Juul cigarette or even worse, dangerous teen fads like the tide challenge.
I, myself, was inspired or dare I say “influenced” to try some of the health trends I saw my peers partaking in, because Instagram sure has a way of making you feel like you’re missing out if you aren’t juicing your vegetables your face or fasting for hours on end.
I tried three of the biggest Instagram health trends of 2018 myself, and here is what happened…
1. Gua Sha
Gua sha is a natural, alternative therapy that involves massaging your face with a stone massage tool to improve your circulation. This ancient Chinese healing technique is thought to better health, addressing issues like chronic pain.
In gua sha, you massage your skin with a crystal gua sha tool, using short or long strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. You are encouraged to apply a facial serum to your skin, and then use the gua sha tool to repeatedly scrape your skin in a downward motion.
Like its close Instagram famous cousin, the jade roller, facial gua sha is a massage technique designed to relieve tension in the muscles of the face, boost blood circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage to banish bloat. It helps break up fascia — the connective tissue that hugs muscles but can sometimes interfere with optimal circulation — and can even help to make your face look slimmer (albeit temporarily). Devotees swear by its ability to ward off headaches and jaw pain and brighten skin (due to the boost in circulation). Some even consider it a Botox alternative for its ability to unkink settled-in muscle folds.
Gua sha is generally performed on a person’s back, buttocks, neck, arms, and legs, but gua sha of the face is what Instagram took to.
Some believe that doing gua sha on your face will not only help increase blood flow, but also cause an instant face lift effect.
I tried doing gua sha three morning per week for one month, utilizing my Caviar & Cashmere Regenerating Serum to help facilitate a smooth massage. While it felt good and I could temporarily see a difference in glow to my skin due to increased circulation from the massage, I wouldn’t deem it a long-term alternative to Botox injections. I would not rule it out or never use it again, but I think the pretty pink crystal tool may accumulate dust on my counter as a decorative piece rather than a staple in my skincare regimen.
2. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting caught my attention on Instagram because it is not a diet, rather, a lifestyle choice. I have never been one to diet, and certainly never put my body through fad diets, but when people started speaking about intermittent fasting’s benefits on their bodies, and how good they felt, I thought I ought to give it a try.
Intermittent fasting is the process of cycling in and out of periods of eating and not eating. Although people report weight loss with intermittent fasting, it is less of a diet plan and more of a lifestyle choice to reap some incredible health benefits.
There are a few different intermittent fasting methods.
- 5:2: This method allows you to eat normally five days a week. The other two days are your fasting days, although you do still eat (only 500-600 calories.)
- Eat-stop-eat: With this method, you restrict all food for 24 hours, once or twice a week.
- 16/8: You eat all of your daily calories within a shortened period — typically 6 to 8 hours — and fast for the remaining 14 to 16 hours.
I started the 16/8 intermittent fasting method in October, as I felt like this was going to be the easiest for me and my lifestyle. I already typically skipped breakfast (just had coffee and then would start working and basically forget to eat until it was lunchtime.) In the 16/8 routine, I ate meals between 12pm – 8pm. It was honestly not difficult at all to begin.
Here are the said benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Boosts weight loss
- Increases energy
- Promotes cellular repair and autophagy (when your body consumes defective tissue in order to produce new parts)
- Reduces insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes
- Lowers bad cholesterol
- Promotes longevity
- Protects against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Improves memory and boosts brain function
- Makes cells more resilient
So, we are now at the end of January and I have been intermittent fasting almost every day (there was definitely a little break while I was vacationing in Ixtapa because who can say no to chilaquiles for breakfast) for four months. I have definitely seen a noticeable difference and plan to continue doing this as a lifestyle choice. I have lost a few pounds, although that was not my goal or intention. I have more energy during the day and my brain does seem more clear than before. I do cheat a little, as you are allowed black coffee in the morning but I do add a little cream to mine because that is my guilt pleasure. All in all, I am happy with this so-called Instagram health trend.
3. Celery Juice
So this celery juice thing caught fire on Instagram at the end of 2018. One day you’ve never heard of anyone juicing celery, and the next, your neighbor, your cousin, and your grandpa are all buying juicers and Costco sized bags of celery. But what makes celery so special?
I was pretty skeptical about this celery juice trend from the jump, because anything that touts to be a cure-all for all of your health woes raises a huge red flag for me. Bold health claims and skepticism aside, I decided to try it. No, I did not invest in a $300 juicer, instead, I purchased the already juiced juice from Kreation to make my life easier.
People on Instagram are claiming that drinking celery juice on an empty stomach in the morning helps with everything from chronic pain to digestive issues and skin conditions.
I drank celery juice on an empty stomach for a week, replacing my coffee in the mornings. I did not eat until 12pm, because of my intermittent fasting schedule. I did feel a little surge of energy from it, but I would crash in the afternoon. I wasn’t sold. I do not think that celery or it’s juice is going to cure anyone’s endometriosis or eczema. It is of course healthy for you, like all vegetables are, but I personally do not think it is going to be the penicillin cure of the decade. Just saying…
All in all, my consensus is that intermittent fasting was the best thing for me. Everyone is different, and you may find that you love celery juice bumps your energy, or using a pink rose quartz crystal gua sha roller on your face every morning makes you look more youthful, but my two cents would be, save your money for the scientifically proven stuff.
Next up on my list of Instagram trends to try: lymphatic drainage massage and IV drip. Stay tuned!
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