Debunking Viral Social Media Wellness Trends
With the rise of wellness influencers on social media, it seems like every week some new health trend or hack goes viral. While some of these trends can be beneficial and are backed by clinical evidence, others may not be safe or effective. Read on to learn about three popular social media wellness trends and why you should think twice before trying these out at home.
Mouth taping during sleep
For those who suffer from snoring or mouth-breathing, it’s likely you’ve already stumbled upon this trending “sleep hack” that involves taping the mouth shut so you only breathe through your nose. Sleep experts have repeatedly debunked mouth-taping, as there are hardly any clinical studies that prove mouth-taping improves sleep, with some specialists arguing that mouth-taping could worsen snoring and other nighttime respiratory obstructions. Mouth-taping can decrease oxygen levels and potentially trigger cardiac arrest. In addition, the tape could become dislodged and fall into the sleeper’s mouth, which is a choking hazard.
Inserting raw garlic into the nostrils
A recent wellness trend featuring users putting raw garlic cloves up their nose to treat sinus congestion went viral on TikTok, racking up millions of views worldwide. The theory behind this unorthodox remedy is that the garlic cloves quickly cause the nose to run, which supposedly clears the sinuses and offers relief from congestion. However, this practice has been criticized by the medical community as being ineffective and dangerous. Garlic is a powerful topical irritant that, when inserted into the nostrils, causes the lining of the nose to become highly irritated and release excess amounts of mucus. It has no decongestant properties whatsoever. The release of mucus is simply a reaction to the garlic irritating the skin of the nose and will not help clear the nasal passages of congestion long-term. There is also a significant risk of the garlic cloves becoming stuck in the nostrils, which can cause trauma to the nasal region and lead to painful inflammation in the nose.
Dry scooping pre-workout powder
This trend involves swallowing scoops of dry pre-workout supplement powder instead of mixing the powder into water. Influencers say this method gives users more energy and stamina during their workouts, but in fact it poses several significant health risks. Pre-workout powder contains a blend of energy-enhancing ingredients such as caffeine, guarana, taurine and protein, with various pre-workout products containing anywhere from 150 to 300 mg of caffeine per scoop (equivalent to three cups of coffee). Since these products are not heavily regulated, they could contain harmful ingredients such as ephedrine and 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA), which was banned in the U.S. because of the risk of dangerous side effects like increased blood pressure and heart rate.
The dry-scooping method can cause some of the powder to be accidentally inhaled into the lungs or esophagus, causing a coughing fit, irritation or, in some cases, a full-on asthma attack. Experts say it’s best to stay far away from this trend, especially if you have a heart condition or other cardiovascular complications.
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