From the first Olympic games to the current interest in hot yoga, health and wellness have been on many people's minds for millennia. And recent developments in tech have taken health consciousness a step further, with the industry expected to make $37 billion in 2019.
Handheld devices facilitate the wellness process, whether through cellphones, smartwatches, or external monitors. Their mobility, ease, and frequency of use make these gadgets some of the best options for staying dedicated to healthy habits and routines. Furthermore, the use of health apps have doctors' stamps of approval -- 93 percent of doctors say mobile health apps can improve a patient's overall health, and more than 25 percent use them to care for their patients.
Niche health tech devices are also on the rise to help serve specific needs. Take Athelas, a personal lab-grade blood tester that delivers results to your smartphone in under 60 seconds. Athelas sees itself as on the forefront of at-home testing for cancer patients, as chemotherapy increases the possibility of infection. Oncologists are able to monitor their patients' neutrophil levels remotely, and patients gain peace of mind as they take an active role in their own healing process.
Given the advances in health technology, it's important to remember the health-conscious people in your life this holiday season and consider how you can contribute to their overall well-being. Here are seven health tech gifts to consider when you start to compile your shopping list:
1. The Nima Sensor.
About 1 percent of the population has celiac disease, a digestive illness triggered by the ingestion of gluten. Chances are you probably know someone with a food sensitivity or intolerance, and maybe you've seen how closely they have to monitor their food.
The Nima sensor, a connected food sensor that tests gluten levels (with peanut testing soon to follow), is the best thing for those with gluten intolerance or sensitivity. After the diner places a small amount of food in one of the device's test capsules, Nima will indicate in under two minutes whether the food is safe to consume. Nima's app also has a social component that allows users to review restaurants and specific food options to let others in the community know what's safe to eat.
2. A Vitamin Patch Club Subscription.
Flintstones Vitamins were once a widely popular craze, but studies now show they aren't doing much for you. A recent report found that out of 49 popular multivitamins, 25 did not disintegrate in the time needed for optimal absorption into the body.
So, instead of a pill, try a patch. Vitamin Patch Club offers patches that deliver a variety of nutrients, each with the promise of 90 percent absorption. They can be worn at any time of day -- including during exercise -- and are time-released for the greatest results. Plus, Vitamin Patch Club members can vote as a community on the company's local, national, and global charitable giving, distinguishing VPC from other companies who pay lip service to doing good.
3. A Bluetooth Speaker.
Nike says it best when it comes to exercise: "Just do it." However, with the addition of music, not only does exercise seem easier, you get up to a 15 percent better workout. Consider buying the gym rat (or coach, or personal trainer) in your life a Bluetooth speaker. The Nixon Mini Blaster mobile speaker, for example, has up to an eight-hour battery life and is water-, sand-, and shock-resistant.
4. MyHydrate Water Bottle.
Life gets busy, and along with forgetting keys or an umbrella, we can also forget to drink enough water each day. Thankfully, the MyHydrate water bottle seeks to rectify this. The water bottle comes with a sound notification system as well as a built-in LED light indicator on the cap to notify you when you need to drink, and it keeps track of your intake throughout the day. The bottle itself is spill-proof and BPA-free, can hold up to 26 ounces, and resets your daily water intake every 24 hours.
5. Fitbit Ionic Fitness Tracker.
The Fitbit is probably one of the most recognizable forms of fitness tech, if not wearable tech in general. One of the line's newest offerings is the Fitbit Ionic, which is the most feature-laden of Fitbit's fitness trackers. The device includes GPS and a sleep tracker, can store music, make payments, and even guide the wearer through breathing sessions. Consider it Fitbit's take on the Apple Watch, yet with a longer battery life (four days), targeted fitness applications, and -- most importantly -- a lower price point.
6. 180s Bluetooth HD IV Ear Warmer Headphones.
Running during the winter months offers a host of benefits, including building up the immune system, increasing circulation, and faster calorie burning. But the ears are one of the first areas to show signs of frostbite if they go unprotected in the cold. To combat this problem and provide entertainment on a winter's jog, look into 180s Bluetooth HD IV Ear Warmer headphones. The headphones have eight hours of play time, are water-resistant, and are compatible with Siri and Google Now.
7. Moleskine Smart Writing Set.
While often neglected, mental health can be just as important as physical wellness. For those friends and family members who use writing or drawing as an outlet, consider the Moleskine Smart Writing Set. It is tablet-compatible and syncs up with its companion app in real time, making a digital copy that can be saved and shared.
The health-conscious people in your life already know how precious wellness is. By getting them any of these gifts, you'll show them that you care -- as well as showing you take their health and happiness just as seriously as your own.