First 1000 Days Initiative
Note: In addition to general usage for the general populations, our selected trends have very targeted applications within the period of time within the First 1000 Days framework: preconception, pregnancy and first two years of life for women, men and infants.
Trend #1: Conception Wellness 2.0
While in last year’s trend we talked about Conception Wellness, it’s time to update you on what has moved on, improved, and is new. In fact, this area has become a major focus of public health interest—as an opportunity in a “period” of human development for intervention to improve long-term population health outcomes. We are now in the big impact space.
While definitions of the “preconception period” remain vague, new classifications and categories of life are becoming formalized as biomedicine begins to conduct research on, and suggest interventions in, this undefined and potentially unlimited time before conception. And the wellness environment is primed to take a major role to effect positive impact. We focus on the burgeoning epidemiological interest in epigenetics and Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) research. The bottom line is that it’s all about lifestyle, and wellness is fully primed to fulfill this need.
Trend #2: Precision Wellness for Protocols and Programming for the Wellness Space
Precise pre-conception, pregnancy and post-partum protocols and programming is the next logical step. That is translating all the science coming from the latest research and creating treatments and wellness programming that target moms and dads before, during and after pregnancy—in order to create the best conditions for baby and family health and wellness. Watch for this to start emerging as wellness establishments realize that with the increasing infertility rates, men and women will be wanting to seek evidence-based holistic and non-invasive solutions to infertility and the establishment of lifespan wellness optimization. The bottom line is what we are calling wellness prescriptions for the First 1000 Days.
Trend #3: Postpartum Early Return to Exercise
There is unclear and unsubstantiated evidence available to OBGYNs and MDs to substantiate the advice given to women regarding exercise in the 6 to 8 weeks postpartum. A first “Early Return to Exercise Post C-Section” Pilot Study (ACTIVE mom, Weil-Cornell, SS 2021) showed positive outcomes on pain, function, mental health and overall wellbeing in the exercise group versus the control (non-exercising) group. The larger study is ongoing with expected completion by the end of 2022. Early results indicate women experiencing controlled pain had improved mental health and felt better overall by exercising. When told not to exercise, regardless of their exercise status pre-pregnancy, many of their health/wellness markers decline. Restoring efficient diaphragm breathing, core/pelvic floor stability, and general movement is key to improve supportive muscle group activity. We believe that returning to this gentle exercise as early as 2 weeks post-birth can help postpartum women during a very sensitive time.
We see that a new trend emerging to re-frame the previous beliefs regarding exercise directly after giving birth, and these include women slowly returning to gentle breathing, stabilization exercises and movements postpartum 2-12 weeks to help their mental health and overall wellbeing. We see this being guided exercise protocols and prescriptions at wellness centers, spas or at home services. We believe this will help women transition back to exercise with greater success after the 12-week mark and lead to positive wellness & mental health postpartum outcomes for years to come!
TREND 1: Increased focus on the reduction of common-place environmental toxins to stop the alarming threat to human extinction
We will see a focus on reducing environmental toxicity to stop an alarming decline in sperm count and its threat to human extinction. This alarming global decline in men’s sperm count may predict “human extinction” if something is not done.
Exposure to phthalates, herbicides, pesticides, and other indoor and outdoor environmental toxins is one of the main reasons behind the decline in men’s sperm counts, testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction. The scientific community is sounding the alarm on these environmental chemicals and their threat to fertility.
TREND 2: A new concept will emerge: Conception Wellness
While Fertility Wellness sets up the conditions for the best chances of getting pregnant, think beyond the goal of getting pregnant to the time when the new life is formed. This means both parents’ optimal health and wellness at the time of conception decreases the risks of inherited disease risks and prepares for the best conditions to have a healthy pregnancy with good fetal development and a healthy baby. Look for infertility to get a major reframe! With the rise in global infertility rates across continents and cross-sections of society, the childbearing population cannot and will not be able to afford the high cost of fertility treatments and the physical and psychological toll these invasive procedures often take.
TREND 3: Think men’s health and wellness first
We will see a rise in men’s wellness programs and offerings like detoxification, exercise, sweating, clean diets and mindfulness retreats. Men’s sperm counts are experiencing alarming declines, testosterone levels have plunged, and erectile dysfunction is increasing. The global fertility rate has dropped 50% between 1960 and 2016, with the US birth rate 16% below where it needs to be to sustain the population. Predictions for the year 2045 are dire for Western countries, and if left unchecked, this could prove the real threat to the continuity of human life on earth.
TREND 4: Wellness coaches for the childbearing years and beyond
Getting a wellness coach to amplify and teach health and wellness during the childbearing years can increase the chances of greater fertility and help one achieve excellent health at the time of conception. Preconception, pregnancy and postpartum are perfect times to set up improved lifestyle habits to last a lifetime. That translates to being and feeling well, healthy aging, and a wider systemic and sustainable solution for the best public health outcomes for this generation and generations to come.
TREND 5: Music as your fertility bio hack
Listening to music, thanks to its vibration, has positive health benefits, including reducing inflammation in the body. When one listens to their favorite music, it calms the mind, brings on joy, reduces inflammation, provides positive vibrational energy at certain frequencies, and can have great effects on neuroplasticity and germ cells. Listening to music regularly when pregnant induces benefits to the fetus’s neurodevelopment. Music can amplify other wellness actions, thus improving health benefits!
Prepared by Sergio Pecorelli, MD, Ph.D, Alina Hernandez and Patricia Ladis
TREND 1: Optimizing the home environment for “integral wellness”
Optimizing the home environment for “integral wellness” will be the trend with the purpose being to lower stress, anxiety and depression and to optimize lowering inflammation. This includes air quality, less noise, improved light, lowering EMF exposure (which smart homes have a lot of), frequency of music, smells, and individualized pillow/mattress for best rest. Preconception, pregnancy and infancy stages are the most important time to optimize your home environment. The home can also help support baby’s development. The new “optimal home” can minimize risks of your external environment and overall stress by optimizing your home’s internal environment.
TREND 2: “Network Wellness”
“Network Wellness”—idea stemming from the “Network Medicine” concept. Network Medicine uses the application of network science toward identifying, preventing and treating diseases. This field focuses on using network topology and network dynamics in the community toward identifying diseases and developing medical drugs. Network Wellness is a concept that will develop organically (Dr. Sergio Pecorelli has begun using the term to describe the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of the wellness model) in its definitive role in the preventive model and “Precision Health.” Using the various modalities of the wellness world to create optimal health and wellbeing. Part of the Network Wellness model is to use “wellness prescriptions” to target “Precision Health” for individuals. In this process, we address the prevention of chronic disease by fighting inflammation through the use of the wellness network. This will positively impact our health/longevity, especially from the very beginning—preconception through the first two years of life. An example of the activation of the Wellness Network is the use of information and knowledge from other areas of the network, such as in Mental Wellness. This trend would create a partnership between the spa world and the medical world. We envision shared data platforms and a team approach as spa practitioners and medical practitioners collaborate to optimize someone’s wellness.
TREND 3: Sound or Vibrational Frequency
Sound or Vibrational Frequency—the effects of music and sound are part of the history of humans, and it has been shown through evidence that there is “ancestral DNA” that governs the receptivity to sound and vibrational frequency (at certain levels) is an important part of a wellbeing component. Sound and music are being shown to positively impact health, and they are being used all over the world in both medical circles and wellness spaces. Look for increased innovation in this field and new extraordinary ways in which this will be applied, not just as “medicine” but as prevention wellness modalities, including usage in-utero exposure to the fetus and its benefits for the prevention of many mental wellness adverse conditions and other learning disabilities. We envision sound being another touchpoint in every person’s spa and wellness experience—beyond sound bowls, sound at certain frequencies will immerse the individual (especially pregnant spa-goers) to amplify their health and energy flow.
TREND 4: Ecotherapy
Ecotherapy refers to a series of nature-based exercises intended to address both mental and physical health. Ecotherapists are a small but growing group of healthcare professionals who are essentially medicalizing nature. What would it look like if we “prescribed nature?” Part of this, too, is the rise in psychedelics and “microdosing.” This is connected to the notion of “Nature Bathing or Forest Bathing.” Look for more connection to nature particularly with the time period of the First 1000 Days and the individual’s first year of life.
TREND 5: Ecotherapy Neuroscience
Look for more application of the latest findings in how to restore pathways and rewire circuitry as we continue to learn more about how the brain regulates and controls individual motivations and reward pathways. For instance, viewing images of iconic parks activates a part of the brain that responds to enjoyable experiences, leading to greater understanding of how to evoke positivity and calm through imagery. Within the framework of the First 1000 Days, this has a tremendous impact on the epigenetic influence and inherited disease risks. This will be integrated on many levels with the use of VR technology.
TREND 6: Baby spa experiences
New couples are seeking information on how to optimize the health and wellbeing of their infants. Western medical systems are not able to meet this demand outside of some quick mention during a few minutes long visit. They are looking for a support system or guidance for the overall wellbeing of their growing family. Preventative prescriptions at this important time can help good nervous system and immune system development in their infants. Often this population group wants to go to spas and has the means, but spas are not welcoming to them; However, spa and wellness spaces would do well to create programs and “baby spa wings” for the new family, including babysitting services that integrate play while mom and dad get some R & R. Science has shown the health benefits of massage/touch, aromatherapy, sound/music, nature, nutrition, etc. and during this time (perinatal and early life), the benefits could have a massive positive impact.
The Global Wellness Institute serves as an umbrella organization for numerous Initiatives, that are independently chaired and run. The resources, editorial, research and opinions presented by the Initiatives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Global Wellness Institute.