These Are the Wellness Trends We'll Be Talking About in 2021

43 Popular Wellness Trends of 2021 You Need to Know About

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It's no big secret that so many of us are looking forward to 2021. All of our problems won't exactly go away when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, but after this tumultuous year, the possibility of a fresh start seems nice, right?

Twenty-twenty has been a very challenging moment in time for everyone, and that's not an overgeneralization. You probably had some painful moments, became aware of some uncomfortable truths, saw your anxiety skyrocket, felt lonely or depressed, and maybe even faced some awkward interactions with those you love and strangers. But through these tough times, you might have learned a lot about yourself and the world around you. And you most likely had to make some big adjustments to your "normal" way of life.

In thinking about 2020 and looking to the future, I think a lot of us would like to have a crystal ball that will tell us exactly how next year will pan out. While we don't have access to something like that, we did want to get a sneak peek into what's in store wellness-wise in 2021. Will we still be doing at-home workouts? What will be the newest food craze? How will we be prioritizing mental health? What should we keep in mind about our own health in the coming months? So in lieu of a crystal ball, we enlisted the help of wellness experts across the board—in health, fitness, nutrition, mental health, sexual wellness, and more—to get their predictions on what's to come.

See what they had to say below. Spoiler alert: You'll be inspired.

Healthcare and the Wellness Industry

1. More Inclusivity in All Forms

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"We are in a global moment of change. Many people, for the first time, are realizing that life is valuable and quite precious. I believe that the wellness industry has started to listen to the call to action saying wellness is for everyone, not only a select few. The industry is taking steps to be more inclusive with regard to representations of race, gender, body shape, size, and ability. My hope is that it will continue to shift to a focus centering on the individual and what it means for that person to be 'well,' taking into consideration socio-political variables as well as their individual needs and cultural foodways and what is available and accessible to them." — Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, of Brooklyn-based Maya Feller Nutrition

2. A Holistic View of Health

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"In 2021, I think people are going to take a more holistic view of their health and increase their focus on using food as medicine for better immunity, physical, and mental health. We've already seen a boosted interest in holistic medicine at Parsley Health—our virtual membership grew more than 2000% over the course of the year—and we've found that many of our new patients are coming to us with questions about supplements that support mind and body together, like high-quality methylated B vitamins, Vitamin D3/K2, L-lysine, and magnesium glycinate.

"Going into the New Year, repairing our health and building our resilience for mind and body is top of mind. People are looking for holistic and nutrition-based solutions that can easily fold into their day-to-day routine, and I would bet that even more will be looking for health coaches, like we offer at Parsley, to help them do it, too." — Robin Berzin, MD, founder and CEO of Parsley Health

3. Health from Home

"I think 2021 will be a year of nurturing ourselves deeply. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, I am seeing people becoming more and more aware of their health and what they are able to do at home to support their own wellness. This means deeper self-care, more intuitive wellness, fitness from home, more homemade products (everything from meals to teas to beauty products), and creating spaces in the home that support healing and happiness." — Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, chef, nutritionist, Reiki master, and founder of the Culinary Alchemy program

4. Realistic and Practical Wellness

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"I think wellness in 2021 will focus less on the high-end, aspirational side (luxury retreats, wellness cleanses, etc.) and more on the realistic, practical side (basic nutrition, food insecurity, mental health, etc.)." — Lisa Bryan, food blogger and founder of Downshiftology

Nutrition

5. Immune-Boosting Foods

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"In 2021, I think we will continue to see an emphasis on immune-boosting foods and supplements to support the body's natural defense system. Convenient immune-supportive practices, meals, and nutrition will continue to take main stage in most people's health priorities." — Poon

6. Functional and Healthy Beverages

"In the future, we could see a focus on beverages with a functional twist. Manufacturers are consciously offering lower or no added sugar options with limited additives. I believe we will see even more alternatives to traditional sodas, like Reed's Zero Sugar Real Ginger Beer and Olipop, as well as more beverages that offer functional wellness ingredients like CBD, adaptogens, and herbs, like Recess and Elements." — Feller

7. Shelf-Stable and Pantry-Friendly Foods

"With all of the uncertainty that has surrounded COVID-19, people are going to be stocking their pantries in case of emergency once more. The good news is that there are so many brands making healthier and minimally processed shelf-stable foods. From BPA-free cans to pickles made without preservatives to gluten-free protein-filled pastas, there are incredible options out there to fill this demand." — Poon

8. Alternative Grains and Wheat Alternatives Taken to New Heights

"More and more ancient grains are becoming available. They offer new textures and options for cooking and are rich in fiber that is beneficial for gut health, blood sugar regulation, and cardiovascular health. My favorite, fonio, is a quick-cooking ancient grain from West Africa that cooks similarly to couscous but has triple the iron, protein, and fiber of brown rice." — Feller

9. Functional Nutrition

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"The underlying philosophy of my Culinary Alchemy programs is empowering people to understand their unique physical constitution and how foods and mindset affect their energy. I think this method of functional and spiritual nutrition that integrates how food affects our bodies on a physiological and energetic level will become more widely understood and applied. We will see people beginning to have a deeper understanding of how wellness is not one-size-fits-all and will be individualizing their own at-home wellness programs based on their unique needs. Sustainable and preventative wellness is almost certain to take a front seat this year in both wellness and traditional medicine." — Poon

10. Reducing Sugar and Expanding Sugar Alternatives

"Added sugars can be problematic for those who are thinking about their metabolic health. In the years to come, I think many folks will intentionally seek out ways to reduce their added-sugar intake. I've been loving seeing more alternative sweeteners become widely available from brands such as Just Date that offers pomegranate and date syrups. I think this is expanding the category to be nutrient dense, lower on the glycemic index, and sweet." — Feller

11. Adaptogenic Ingredients

"I think we'll see an increase in adaptogenic ingredients and natural mood boosters, with immune system cooking becoming a priority. Turmeric, ginger, berries, broccoli, spinach, oranges, salmon, and other nutrient-dense foods will become regulars on the lunch and dinner plate. Pantry staples such as chickpeas and lentils will pop up in simple yet flavorful recipes online (perfect for the home cook) and in store-bought products." — Bryan

12. Preserving the Ocean's Biodiversity

"I believe that sustainable seafood and a focus on aquaculture will be big for 2021. From a nutrition perspective, eating fish is recommended twice weekly for brain, eye, and heart health. Committing to the planet is a major part of fishing with sustainability and health in mind. SNP, MSC, and ASC are at the forefront of educating and advocating for seafood that is not only good for us but also good for the planet. Brands like Scout are taking this category to the next level by offering canned fish that has been responsibly sourced. It also expands accessibility, as the product is shelf-stable and can be used every day as well as on special occasions. I also believe we will continue to see more products pop up that utilize seaweeds and tap into the various options for sustainable nourishment available from the ocean." — Feller

Fitness

13. More Exploration

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"I believe people will start to explore more with fitness—either trying completely new styles or going back in time and picking up old routines they let die. For example, maybe people will start back up dancing or trying rock climbing for the first time." — Ashley Joi, a trainer on Chris Hemsworth's health and fitness app, Centr

14. Back to Basics

"I've noticed that everyone I know is keeping it simple by doing workouts that don't require a lot of gear, like mat Pilates classes, swimming, yoga, and jogging. Perhaps after years of going to trendy, innovative boutique fitness classes, 2021 will be more of a back-to-basics moment." — Krissy Jones, co-founder of Sky Ting

15. Hybrid Workouts

"Home workouts are starting to look more like gym workouts because of the huge demand for equipment being bought in 2020. I believe hybrid-style workouts or more workout routines will be a thing. Since we are stuck at home, having a variety of workouts will be more appealing than when life was more structured and was more of go into the office, then hit the gym, go to dinner, be with family, etc. The normal strength-training routines will lose their sparkle because our daily routines are not as complex." — Joi

16. Getting Creative

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"In 2021, my prediction is that we're all going to be working out from home and outside a lot more (depending on where you live of course!). Luckily for us in Atlanta, the warmer climate allows us to utilize the outdoors during the colder seasons, which means we’re still able to do SoulOutside! We're seeing everyone get really creative and offering many safe options for everyone to participate in, and it has been fun seeing all the new ways of taking workout classes." — Savannah Butler, senior SoulCycle instructor in Atlanta

17. Shorter Online Classes

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"We're getting a lot of feedback that it's difficult to do one-hour classes online. Shorter, snackable classes are more accessible for people's schedules and online attention spans." — Jones

18. An Emphasis on Community

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"The workouts I see gaining popularity would be less of a specific type of workout and more so workouts that bring the community feel to life. With everyone working out from home, people really want to have that sense of community—a team that is supportive, an instructor that is leading and motivating, and results you see via your own home. There's still a stigma around working out over the computer, but without them, we would've never experienced just how effective workouts from home are!" — Butler

"One thing that online classes and Zooms have allowed for is people to practice with us who might never have had the chance because of geographical location. Even when the world opens back up, we foresee students wanting to continue to practice with teachers they love who don't live near them." — Chloe Kernaghan, co-founder of Sky Ting

19. Family Fitness

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"We're seeing a lot of people practicing with their parents, kids, and even grandparents! I think we'll be seeing a lot more classes online geared toward the whole family." — Jones

20. Audio Classes

"A lot of our students say they do not look at the screen when doing our classes—they simply listen to the audio. Screen fatigue is a real thing, and we think wellness brands will be adapting their content to have an audio-only option." — Jones

21. Accessible Price Points

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"Online monthly subscriptions are much more affordable than the cost of brick-and-mortar studio classes (at least in NYC!). This means more people can access and commit to a regular practice. We've been playing with tiered pricing in our higher-ticket items like trainings and courses to continue to make offerings more accessible. We hope to see this mindset across the board with wellness platforms." — Kernaghan

22. New Goals and Perspectives

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"I think workout culture is becoming less about obsessing over making your body look a certain way and more about personal health and wellness. People are more curious and open to trying new types of movement and learning about how different workouts leave your body in different states. And for a lot of us, we don't need to add more stress into our routines but actually feel better when we allow ourselves to restore." — Kernaghan

Women's and Sexual Health

23. Focus on Hormonal Health

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"With the pandemic and massive change in day-to-day living adding a huge stress burden to everyone's lives, women, in particular, have been experiencing an increase in severity of hormonal health issues. Increased cortisol from stress and dysregulated insulin from changes in diet create an internal environment where ovulation, menstruation, fertility, libido, and mood all become more disrupted and symptomatic. And with everyone staying at home, women have had more time to observe their symptoms and truly want to do something about it. In addition, there has been an explosion in the conversation around the long-term issues with hormonal birth control as a 'fix' for hormone issues. I think in 2021 we'll see a shift in the conversation around women's hormonal issues away from the historical 'confused and accepting suffering' narrative to a new normal of 'informed and taking action.' One way to get started on becoming informed and to take actions around your symptoms is to track your cycle." — Alisa Vitti, founder of FloLiving (a modern hormone healthcare company) and author of WomanCode and In the Flo

24. Cycle Syncing

"In 2020, I wrote the first book ever that discusses the female infradian rhythm and its impact on every system of her body: In the Flo. Even the U.S. women's soccer team now trains their female athletes according to this updated understanding of women's biology and biological rhythm. The book also describes the new method that tens of thousands of women are turning to lose weight, boost energy, clear skin, reduce PMS, reduce stress, and increase productivity: the Cycle Syncing Method. There are three pillars—diet, fitness, and time management—based on the infradian rhythmic effect on metabolism, hormones, and brain chemistry. It allows women to biohack in a way that actually factors in their actual biology so they get the results they deserve. It is essential for women to change their caloric intake and their workout intensity in order to optimize their biology across the month. Doing anything else leads to imbalance—period. Learn more here and here." — Vitti

25. Acknowledging Gender Bias

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"Acknowledging and disclosing gender bias in medical, fitness, and nutrition research is a growing conversation that, when continuously addressed, will change women's health for the better. As we have come to understand the enormous and pervasive gender bias in medical, fitness, and nutrition research, women will finally understand why nothing has ever worked for them in the past because their biology was not factored in and, as a default, ask about who was studied regarding any emerging research and its claims of efficacy."

"Simultaneously, I think that wellness outlets reporting on emerging research in fitness and nutrition will start making transparent the details of the gender of study participants so readers can be properly informed on whether or not to try incorporating something new into their wellness practice. For example, so many women were led astray in 2019 with intermittent fasting, which was studied on men and postmenopausal women, who it benefits greatly. Women in their reproductive years, however, do not derive the same benefits from IF, and that should have been disclosed from the beginning before many women derailed their thyroid, fertility, and menstrual cycle from trying it." — Vitti

26. A Holistic Approach to Sexual Health

"The [sexual wellness] industry has been evolving from novelty toys to a more holistic approach to sexual health and is turning into a one-stop shop for tools that bring value and pleasure to sex (whether that’s solo sex or with a partner). In terms of where the industry is headed, I do think we will see more CBD-infused products, as all the feedback so far shows it has such a positive impact on sexual pleasure and stress as it relates to pleasure (though it's still a bit restrictive in sales). At Dame Products, we're continuing to build our focus toward becoming a more holistic health and wellness brand.… I think more people are beginning to see how sexual pleasure and pleasure products are just part of our general health and wellness experience. Sexual wellness affects both physical and mental wellness, and physical and mental wellness, in turn, affect sexual wellness. They’re very symbiotic relationships." — Alexandra Fine, CEO of Dame Products

27. Open Discussions About Sex

"Purpose-driven companies are becoming so much more important. Folks want to know that their money is supporting both an excellent product as well as a more just world. For instance, we're definitely seeing a rise in gender-neutral language entering the mainstream. This shift is especially useful when it comes to inclusivity within pleasure and intimacy. The sex industry is on a swing from a male-centric vice industry to a femme-led wellness industry, and that's a pretty big change. Sex is also becoming a more public part of everyday conversation, which helps shed light on high-quality products within the industry. We're seeing a more open discussion in pop culture as well, which helps validate and sanction products that were once shamed. Beyond that, the rise of technological advancements in the space continues to demonstrate that these products are just as sophisticated and thoughtfully made as those in any other category." — Fine

Mental Health

28. Working Mental Health Into Your Schedule

"We've gone through so much change that 2021 will be about finding ways to prioritize your mental health that work for your schedule and lifestyle. It no longer makes sense to commute to an unfamiliar office in the middle of the day for an in-person therapy appointment. It also no longer feels isolating to question the health of our minds and the importance of maintaining them. People will be carving out time for mental healthcare when and however they need it—whether that means taking five minutes during a 3 a.m. wake-up for meditation or dedicating an evening to a mental health event. That's why I'm so excited about what we're doing at Real. We're meeting people where they are with a range of offerings, from on-demand therapy Pathways to intimate scheduled Roundtables and events, so they can take care of their mental health however best works for them, not the system." — Ariela Safira, founder and CEO of Real

29. More Openness

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"Twenty–Twenty-one will be the year we're more open than we've ever been in talking about what we're struggling with, talking openly about our mental health, and being real with what we're going through. That openness is coming from the collective pain we experienced in 2020: We were all grieving something. And that grief prompted more conversations, helping to break the stigma around talking about your mental health. In fact, when we surveyed our community, we found that 52% of people said they're talking about their mental health more with others because of the pandemic, citing the fact of knowing 'other people are also struggling' as the top reason why. And people who reported talking with others about their mental health more during the pandemic reported a 49% higher rate of practicing self-compassion than people who weren't talking about their mental health. The takeaway: The more we talk openly about what we're going through, the more compassionate we can be with ourselves and, in turn, the more we heal. That's something I think we're all ready for in 2021." — Naomi Hirabayashi, co-founder of Shine

30. Exploring Mental Health Support

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"This year was an intense year on many levels, and it has impacted people's mental health. Similarly to self-care, I think we will see a rise in tools and techniques that support people in nurturing their mental wellness from home. This could be anything from mindfulness practices to resilience exercises to individualized self-care to energy work to help maintain balance in the brain, emotions, and nervous system. I think that we will see more devices and technology designed to support and help us monitor and self-regulate the neurological benefits of meditation and mindfulness." — Poon

31. Going Back to Nature

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"COVID-19 closures have sent many of us to seek out activity outside, which is a good thing, as it relates to healing. Spending your free time outdoors has the power to decrease symptoms of stress and anxiety, improve sleep, increase feelings of happiness, improve immune function, and so much more. I find that cultivating a connection to nature also helps encourage people to take care of the environment and global community." — Poon

32. More Energy for Virtual Gatherings

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"Given that Zoom fatigue and screen burnout have largely been in full effect during these last two months of the year, I anticipate people will come out of the holidays with a little more capacity to join Zoom meetings, workshops, and classes (especially because COVID-19 rates still may be high and winter will keep folks more indoors). Therefore, I see another increase in online workshop and class participation. While we are still encouraged to practice physical distance, I predict there to be a continuation and even increase in online wellness programming." — Chetna Mehta, a mixed-media artist, wellness consultant, and the creator behind Mosaiceye

Sustainability

33. A Focus on the Earth

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"I also think there will be a huge focus on Mother Nature and not taking the world we live in for granted. Twenty-twenty taught us how much we missed the simple things in life, such as going for nature walks and enjoying outdoor spaces such as parks and beaches—not only for physical health but mental health. The data has also shown the positive impact on the environment, in many ways, with humans not out destroying it. So I think there will be an increased focus on sustainability, recycling, composting, planting gardens, beach cleanups, and generally just trying to leave the world in a better place." — Bryan

34. Sustainable Swaps

"One of the biggest topics we are seeing (and feeling ourselves) is anxiety and how living a more minimalistic life can lead to the reduction of anxiety. Who didn't love watching Marie Kondo? Living sustainably generally leads to a less crowded, more organized, and calmer space. Our surroundings have a large impact on our mental well-being, and it's been found that clutter and mess consciously and subconsciously cause anxiety and tension. Instead of having an entire cupboard filled with paper towels, people are leaning toward the sustainable swap of having a dozen effective dish towels. This simple swap saves space and benefits the environment while also leading to the avoidance of trash constantly piling up in your bin. This concept of 'one of this or many of that' can be applied to most sustainable items in the home, and as swaps are made, your space and mental well-being improve." — Kira Cahill, co-founder of Bold Box

35. Simple Packaging

"In the wellness space, we are seeing an overall awareness of product ingredients and unnecessary, excessive packaging. We are getting down to the basics and minimalism in 2021. I think that there has been a huge shift in the ideology that excess packaging is 'luxurious.' People are looking for simplicity. When the ingredients and packaging are cleaner and minimalistic, the better is it for you and the planet. We are exposed to our environmental impact, and I think it will cause more people to be drawn to sustainable products like shampoo bars, sea sponges, and Dropps laundry detergent." — Olivia Dahan, co-founder of Bold Box

Self-Care

36. Creating Daily Rituals

"In a world of uncertainty, what we're hearing from our community is they're looking for ways to focus on what they can control. And that control is often coming in the form of a 'daily ritual' around their self-care. What that looks like for the Shine community is each day members turn to the app for a three-part daily ritual—meditate with the Daily Shine, connect with others on the theme of the day, and reflect on their mood. We're also helping our community start out 2021 by setting a weekly intention to ground them for the week, helping to cultivate a more grounded, present approach to the New Year versus the outdated 'new year, new me' goals." — Marah Lidey, co-founder of Shine

37. Taking Self-Care Seriously

"I see self-care products and methods that help us fight isolation and better understand the depths of our being taking off in 2021. I see fewer doctors rolling their eyes at the phrase 'self-care' and more companies championing the clinical efficacy behind it. We already have the intuition and narrative behind why self-care works. The next step is bringing effective data collection and analysis to the industry, such that the greater population can benefit from it as well." — Safira

38. Energy Healing

"In 2021, I see energy practices like Reiki and qigong becoming more popular. We are all becoming more aware of how our energy and the energy of others affects us. Learning how to nurture it and protect it has already become very sought out. Astrology and tarot are also methods that will make a huge impact in the next year. More people are interested in understanding the deeper meaning of life, deeper understanding of themselves, and compatibilty with others. Crystals and crystal healing could also make a huge comeback in 2021. Although none of these are new practices, I think, as a collective, more people are interested in the natural, spiritual perspective of wellness and how it can help them. Hopefully in the future, we can learn to merge science and spiritual practices for optimal healing. I even predict that our electronic devices will offer more wellness-based services. Mental health apps could be the next big thing." — Dalina In, healer and founder of Eternal-Therapy

39. Meditation and Breath Work

"We're getting a lot of requests for classes to battle anxiety. More people are starting regular meditation and breath work practices, so we'll be keeping this in mind as we build our library of classes in 2021." — Jones

40. More CBD

"We're going to see a deeper dive into CBD and cannabinoids in 2021. I really believe that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg with the benefits of CBD and other hemp products, particularly if the House bill to make CBD products lawful without restriction that was recently introduced passes. There is a lot of research to be done; I see this trend sticking around and expanding." — Poon

41. Compassion Practices

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"Given that the suffering is continuing socially, racially, emotionally, and physically, compassion (to suffer with) is essential. More people are opening up to compassion practices. It's becoming trendy even. Though, I believe there will be more accessible and tangible practices to cultivate compassion in the face of our human struggles." — Mehta

42. An Emphasis on Sleep

"Researchers and practitioners have known for a long time that quality sleep is a crucial component of optimal health. Our bodies and minds repair and replenish when we sleep, and without ample shut-eye, our systems tend to run amok. In the last couple of years, we've seen people start to question the 'hustle and bustle' mentality and look to more restful wellness practices. I think 2021 will be a year when we see an influx of tools for more quality sleep—from bedding to supplementation to lighting to tracking to pre-bedtime rituals—people will be looking toward more and better-quality sleep." — Poon

43. A Rise in Sleep Tools

"This year, to promote more peaceful sleep, many have turned to weighted pressure (weighted blankets, weighted eye masks, etc.). Evenly distributed pressure, just like a hug or being tightly wrapped in a blanket, has an immediate relaxing effect on the body. Weighted pressure works by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you to feel calm and sends a signal to the brain to reduce the fight-or-flight response, which is what often keeps you alert and anxious at night. I expect the weighted sleep category to continue to grow as we feel the aftershocks of 2020 in the year ahead." — Tiffany Paul, founder of The Slept Life

44. More Introspection

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"Though isolation can be difficult for people, perhaps more so for some people than others depending on your personality, the good news is that deep healing is something that occurs internally. As we settle into a longer social isolation period than many of us expected, it has given people the opportunity for deeper introspection and self-care based on intuitive needs and desires. The wonderful news is that this kind of work lends itself to really transformational growth. I definitely see these trends growing and expanding into the New Year." — Poon

Next up: Hands Down, These Were Our Favorite Wellness Products of 2020

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