This Week In Wellness

All the health news that’s fit to click.

Author by Paige Towers
Art credit: Megan Schaller

I have a confession to make: Last Sunday, I ate all but two bites of my Taco Bell Chalupa before I realized that it was missing both cheese and refried beans. It was just a sour cream, iceberg lettuce, and Fire Sauce sandwich. Staring at the almost-empty wrapper, all I could think was, “I am very tired.” The experience was a mini-wakeup call. I’ve been so discouraged by my lack of professional progress lately that I’ve been doing everything in a stress-induced fugue state — to the point that I’m not even engaging in my favorite activity: eating. I vowed then and there that the next time I sit down for a meal, I will pause, take a few deep breaths, and then savor every morsel of it. I mean, if I let stress take away my love of fast food, what’s it coming for next?

Right. So here are this week’s links:

America’s Houses Of Workout Worship 

In our increasingly irreligious country, a new spiritual practice hath risen: sweating it out in workout classes. As Zan Romanoff reports, boutique-fitness hubs like SoulCycle are functioning like modern-day places of worship, where the well-off come together for an experience that’s equally grueling and uplifting (apparently). Okay, but does anyone else sort of miss the days when exercising meant popping in a VHS tape like “Dancin’ Grannies” and using two cans of green beans as weights? [The Atlantic]

Diagnosing The Invisible

While struggling with concussion-induced exhaustion, journalist Jane E. Brody got a taste of what it’s like to live with chronic fatigue syndrome (now called ME/CFS). The verdict? Not good. But as Brody reports, at least ME/CFS — a disease that leaves people with debilitatingly low levels of energy — is now being recognized as a legitimate, and quite serious, physical illness. For years, ME/CFS sufferers were told it was all in their heads; now, at least, there’s a process for diagnosis. [New York Times]

An Eastern Approach To “Flu Season”

An acupuncturist well-versed in traditional Chinese medicine takes to Lenny Letter to refute some typical Western beliefs about wintertime — namely, that “cold and flu season” is trying to kill us all. Instead, he suggests, maybe we’re just doing winter wrong. For instance, rather than taking the time to rest up and eat right in preparation for spring, we’re traveling miles in the snow to devour pies with the people who stress us out the most. This piece will undoubtedly ruffle some feathers, but it also offers super-simple health advice that even a Western pragmatist can appreciate. [Lenny Letter]

Comfy, Ratty, And Insta-Ready

If you had asked me just last week what “bath leisure” means, I would have guessed that it’s a line of terry-cloth clothing for rich people to wear at spas. And I would have been wrong. As reported here, typical bath wear (say, a plush towel piled atop one’s head) has made its way to city streets, or at least to Instagram photos — all due to the enormous influence of one superstar. This high-comfort trend may just now be catching on among fashion-forward New Yorkers, but here in the Midwest, we’ve been fetching our newspapers and walking our dogs in bathrobes for years. [The Cut]

On Embracing Baldness

I’m not balding; if anything, I’m getting hairier. I’m also a woman. But it’s nice to see an article about male pattern baldness that doesn’t strike a doomsday tone and/or shill wallet-busting products that maybe don’t work. While many balding men may understandably continue to exercise their options (injections of amniotic fluid into the scalp, anyone?), a movement to embrace thinning hair follicles seems wonderfully positive. It’s also about time — head-turners like Prince William and Dwayne Johnson have shown us for years that there’s life beyond a full head of hair. [Playboy]

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About Woolly

A curious exploration of comfort, wellness, and modern life — emotionally supported by Casper. It’s a beautiful magazine published by a mattress. Come on, you know it’s not the weirdest thing to happen this year. The first issue includes a love letter to comfort pants, a skeptic's guide to crystals, and an adulting coloring book.