With so many new health trends all the time, everyone tends to gravitate to the latest tips and tricks. But sometimes, the answers to better health lie in the past. There are a number of old-fashioned ways to be healthier that might actually work, and although they might sound strange compared to more modern advice, there's a reason they've stood the test of time.
"We've become more industrialized as a society, and we have also become more disconnected from our 'roots,'" Carol Lourie, a naturopath, acupuncturist, homeopath, and functional medicine practitioner, tells Bustle. "Our ancestors had it right in many ways. They grew their own food; they had community with whom they met and related to on a consistent basis; they moved their bodies and exercised on a daily basis as part of their life. It wasn't a class they had to rush to get to, and there were dramatically less chemicals they were exposed to on a daily basis."
Although we have come a long way in figuring out what's healthy for us, there are some old traditions that we should keep alive for the benefit of our health. Here are seven old-fashioned health habits that experts say might actually be good for you.
Olive Oil As Moisturizer
Rubbing olive oil on your face might seem bizarre, but it can save you money on moisturizers — its what Cleopatra used to do. "The natural oil will gently moisturize your skin and rebalance it," Alana Kessler, MS, RD, CDN, E-RYT tells Bustle. If you have oily skin, you may want to stay away from this hack, but if you are looking for a moisturizer alternative, this is something to consider.
Vinegar Slippers For A Fever
When you're sick, putting your feet into some vinegar-filled socks isn't exactly the first thing you think to do, but it's an old-fashioned trick that can help tame a fever. "Vinegar draws out heat into the area in which the vinegar 'resides,'" Dr. M Daniela Torchia, PhD, MPH, RD tells Bustle. "You can soak your feet in warm water and one cup of white vinegar or make what old timers in Austria would do; Wrap wet vinegar soaked cloths around the feet, then wrap it in plastic bags so you don’t get it everywhere." However, Dr. Torchia notes, if the fever is 105 or more, you should still see a doctor.
"In the past, people spent a lot more time outdoors compared to the way people live their lives today," Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C. tells Bustle. "Bathing in water is awesome, but Ben Franklin took it to another even simpler level when he regularly practiced air baths. Whether you're completely outside or indoors with a window open, soak in that fresh air for 30 to 60 minutes and you'll be taking part in an ... old fashioned health habit dating back to the 1700s." Fresh air and sunlight can do wonders for your health, and an air bath is a great time for silence and quiet reflection.
Walking Barefoot Outside
There's something to be learned from our ancestors' days of walking around barefoot. Physical contact with the earth can actually improve wellbeing, ranging from improved sleep to reduced pain, according to the Journal of Environmental and Public Health. Spend some time "earthing" by standing barefoot on some dirt or other nature-filled surfaces, and start to feel the benefits.
Back in the day, people took oatmeal baths to help calm their skin, and it seems like they were on to something. "Taking an oatmeal bath is effective for its moisturizing, cleansing, and anti-inflammatory properties," Dr. Joseph Cruise, a board certified plastic surgeon, tells Bustle. They can help relieve issues such as eczema, dry skin, dermatitis, psoriasis, and more.
Before the industrial revolution, our country was an agricultural society, and this required a lot of walking. As we have become more industrialized and modernized, we have started walking less. But walking has incredible benefits to your health. "Not only does it help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, but even walking as little as 30 minutes a day has been shown to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression," Bryan Lang, PT, DPT tells Bustle. "Walking is something that long ago, we took for granted, but now we are recognizing the significant importance of it, and it’s definitely and 'old-fashioned' habit to keep up."
They might be different and come from another time, but these habits might be worth picking up as alternatives for a healthier lifestyle.