The five trends that will change the way you practice this year.
Like many of you, we are looking at the year ahead wondering what’s to come for the health and wellness industry. While a new year often signals a certain amount of uncertainty (we see you, entrepreneurs!), it also ushers in a world of opportunity to learn, grow, and evolve.
The team at Practice Better is always on the lookout for emerging trends that could shape the way practitioners run their businesses, work together with clients, and how clients experience their overall health and wellness journey. With that in mind, we arrived at five trends that we believe are worth watching in 2022. We’re excited about all of them.
So, what does all of this mean for you? Let’s dive in!
Telehealth Technology is Here to Stay
The continued rise of the virtual practice.
The events of the past few years have had a huge impact on our industry and clients. One of those impacts is the push for more businesses – including health and wellness practices – to go virtual. And there’s no sign of that changing any time soon. In fact, we expect the growth of telehealth to continue in 2022, which presents a lot of exciting possibilities for them and their clients! The fact is, many clients prefer virtual care. Advantages of telehealth like accessibility, convenience, and of course, staying in comfortable pants are just a few of the reasons we feel good about this trend. The flexibility it offers both practitioners and clients is almost limitless.
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Telehealth isn’t going anywhere and it’s increasingly moving beyond serving just 1:1 needs, as evidenced by the growth of online group programs. It’s always a priority to work towards meeting our clients wherever they are emotionally, and now we have the tools to extend that idea further to meet our clients at home, or wherever they want to be while we’re working with them.
Not only will this add to what you offer your current client group, but it will also allow for the possibility of broadening your reach and landing more clients. Telehealth means that your local practice can become a global practice. We don’t expect telehealth technology and online resources to replace in-person appointments, but it is definitely a way we can enhance the care we provide.
Doubling Down on Self Care
Self-care becomes more than just a buzzword.
Self-care – that is, looking after oneself in a holistic and preventive way – was perhaps one of the buzziest words in 2021, but that doesn’t mean it’s just a passing fad.
Before the pandemic struck, self-care was a US$10-billion industry in the U.S. alone. Add in months and months of harsh economic realities, loneliness, burnout, and health fears, it’s no surprise that people have turned to (and are eager to pay for) activities and gadgets that give an extra sense of comfort and good health.
In recent years, there has been a conscious shift towards a proactive approach to one’s health.
Between 2019 and 2021, Google Search Trends shows a 162% increase in self-care related searches. To this point, our community believes there will be a continued increase in prioritizing one’s health and wellness and will dedicate more of their family budgets to self-care such as saunas, home exercise equipment, water, and air filters. And as clients expand their commitment to wellness, practitioners must be there to empower and guide them throughout their health journey, helping to support them in reaching their goals.
2022 is the year of the Health and Wellness Coach.
Over the past few years, consumers are focusing on their health more than ever. The demand for care has grown exponentially and the medical field simply cannot keep up. That’s where health coaches are filling the gap.
Health and nutrition coaches offer a unique approach to care. They guide positive behavioral change alongside comprehensive health education focused on lifestyle factors that can improve a patient’s wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Much like self-care, their mode of delivery is preventive and proactive, which can be especially vital for people living with chronic illnesses. With their growing presence in the industry and valuable contributions to the overall wellness of people everywhere, health and nutrition coaches will have an opportunity to partner with more medical practitioners.
Right now, we see this as a promising, continued move towards an integration of Health Coaches within the traditional healthcare sector. Many primary care and medical organizations are already employing Nutrition and Health Coaches to work with patients as part of their care models, demonstrating the value of health coaching in improving client health while supporting their goals and enhancing their experience. 2022 is an incredibly exciting time for this field.
A New World of Wearable Devices
Rapid adoption of wearables that track more than your step count, sleeping patterns, and heart rate.
Is there anything better than hitting those 10,000 steps each day? Of course, pedometers are nothing new, but steps aren’t the only marker of personal health these days. In 2009, the first Fitbit hit the market and since then, we’ve seen the launch of devices like Fitbit and Oura Rings. These increasingly complex and convenient devices are more than just a fashion statement; wearable devices like smartwatches can go anywhere with their users and are quickly becoming a must-have accessory for the health-conscious.
We are familiar with wearables monitoring health metrics like heart rate, sleeping patterns, and overall physical activity, but next-gen wearables have become capable of noninvasively targeting precise biomarkers, such as blood pressure and blood glucose, that drive lifestyle-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. This will give practitioners quick access to more information than they’ve ever had. In other words, the next generation of wearable devices will continue to disrupt and fuel better health habits through the data and insights they can provide, as they encourage people to be actively involved in their own care.
Our community believes wearables will play a big part in our practices going forward. As wearables can now be integrated with other apps and software, these revolutionary technologies also provide us with helpful data and analytics that can inform treatment and action plans in real-time, while also tracking a client’s progress as they work towards reaching their goals. Health and wellness professionals have a new responsibility to embrace these powerful devices alongside their clients.
The mind-gut connection makes it to the mainstream.
While there’s still plenty of mental health stigma, conversations surrounding our emotional wellness as part of our overall health have certainly become more commonplace – and long-time implementers of mind-body practices like nutritionists are answering the call.
Nutritional Psychiatry is a growing field driven by both research and demand, as the general public further recognizes that food and diet are an excellent first step towards a path to better health and a vital part of a client’s treatment plan.
From improved mood and reduced inflammation to increased mindfulness and overall mental and physical wellbeing, the potential benefits of including Nutritional Psychiatry approaches as part of our overall client treatment plans are incredible. For most health and wellness professionals, these aren’t new ideas, but they are finally gaining steam in more traditional circles. We expect to see increased adoption of holistic and integrative approaches targeting nutrition and diet in the treatment of mental health challenges.
Community Trend Predictions
We asked some of our own community’s thought leaders about their predictions for 2022 and here’s what they had to say:
“I predict that scalable online health and wellness programs will become even more popular than they already are. Whether those be standalone digital courses, group programs, or even hybrid combinations of 1:1 in-person sessions paired with online educational content, having a standardized program that you can walk your clients and customers through – whether remotely or in-person – will massively increase your capacity for serving clients, helping you grow your income and your impact.”
– Nutritionist and Business Coach Laura Schoenfeld.
“In 2022, I predict that we’ll see a lot more health and wellness businesses adopting a multi-disciplinary approach. This means we’ll see more collaboration amongst health professionals to deliver the best holistic care. We will see more non-traditional health care teams like mind-body practices evolving amongst various types of health professionals to ensure the holistic needs of clients are met physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This will be a great time for practitioners to grow their business through a professional referral program!”
– That Clean Life’s Abigail Keeso Hopkins.
“This year I predict health & wellness businesses will continue to adapt to online support models but also recognize the needs of many for community and in-person connection and co-regulation. Connecting back to offering more in personal care and community-based services, and holding space for deeper levels of the healing. I see people stepping deeper into nervous system support – a critical factor in healing and offering clients access to additional forms of healing including EMDR therapy, Breathwork, cold water therapy, and acupuncture to regulate the vagus nerve and stress response in individuals that have been heightened for the past 2 years.”
– Ashleigh Norris, certified Holistic Nutritionist.
“This year there will be more gatherings and retreats in nature, and there will be more healthcare tools people will invest in for their homes (saunas, exercise equipment, water filters, air filters, etc). I foresee that there will be a bigger movement towards online virtual group programs and that there will be more utilization of wearable technology and tracking tools for patient improvement. I also see more health coaches being trained and starting their online businesses.”
– Sachin & Dipa Patel, The Living Proof Institute
“As people seek more convenient and accessible health care, I believe we will continue to see a rise in Telemedicine and mHealth (mobile health) in 2022. In response, I predict practitioners will move to group coaching models, memberships, and niche-specific private online communities they can run from their phone or iPad. I expect to see a shift from the restrictive diets and protocols that have dominated the industry the past decade to more holistic modalities like meditation, yoga, and intuitive or mindful eating that promote spiritual, mental, and emotional wellbeing. I see clients already craving more support on topics like journaling, self-care, and daily routines that cultivate happiness and emotional wellness.”
– Shay Johnson, Holistic Nutritionist, Herbalist, and business mentor for female wellness professionals.
“I feel that more practitioners will bring in a coaching aspect to their practice so that they can help their clients make sustainable, long-term changes to their health and help them overcome any obstacles standing in their way. Practitioners will offer more support in-between sessions so that the clients are making progress and feel supported along the way.”
– Stephanie Long, Business Coach for Nutritionists
As health and wellness professionals, we commend you for always being able to overcome hurdles and adapt to the curveballs that business can throw your way. To help you navigate both, we will continue to keep a watchful eye on these trends and what’s coming next. And of course, no matter what this year has in store for you and your business, we plan to be there for you every step of the way. Here’s to a great 2022!
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