More Chinese in their mid-20s are subscribing to health maintenance.
Vacuum cups and medlars have become two of the most favored products by a growing number of young people. Photo: Li Hao/GT
Wang Ying, 27, has been feeling depressed recently. Every morning she combs her hair and more of it falls out. During the recent Double Eleven shopping frenzy, the first order she made was two big bottles of anti-hair loss shampoo.
"I think I am weak and old, and cannot help feeling helpless," she said. "I am in my 20s, but I think it is necessary to start taking special care of my health now."
Wang was lucky she paid for the shampoo early because the online shop ran out of all 100,000 bottles of shampoo in 30 minutes, according to data released by Chinese online shopping platform Tmall.com.
According to a recent report released by Koubei, an online platform under the Alibaba Group that provides life services to people in China, people under the age of 26 account for 29.6 percent of the offline health maintenance organization (HMO) market, which includes services such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) health products, foot massages and sauna treatments.
"More and more young people have started to do health maintenance," said Koubei operations manager Wang Tingting in the report. "Compared with the older generation, young people are more willing to invest in their health, and the increasing pressure in their lives makes them want to take care of their health."
"As far as I know, there's no one among my friends and colleagues who doesn't worry about their thinning hair," said Wang.
Thinning hair is commonly believed to be tied to poor or decreasing health, and beautiful healthy hair is one's crowning glory for the average Chinese woman.
"We talk every day about how to save our hair, and most of us have taken measures like buying special shampoos or other health products," she said.
Hair loss bothers many Chinese in their mid-20s. Photo: Li Hao/GT
"I panicked and almost cried," she said. "I calmed down a bit when I found that I am not alone."
She recalled that her hairstylist had mentioned that certain styles were not fit for hair that is too thin.
Wang posted the health maintenance products and anti-hair loss shampoo she bought on her WeChat Moments in early November, and many of her friends commented that they had the same situation.
"Now, I get up early every day and work on my hair to try to make my head look less 'bald,' including using makeup like hairline powder to draw a fake hairline," Wang said.
"I also eat black sesame paste every day in the hope that my hair will grow back. I don't know whether it will work, but it calms me down."
Li Yonghan, a 25-year-old IT worker in Beijing, recently found that besides his phone there is another thing he must carry with him wherever he goes - a vacuum cup. In it, he has some medlars, red dates, and dry chrysanthemums in hot water.
"About two or three years ago, I never knew tiredness. I often slept only four or five hours a day and played video games all night," Li said. "Now, I have serious sleeping problems. Sometimes I cannot fall asleep, and sometimes I have a difficulty waking up."
Li's uncle, a 48-year-old man, told him that drinking hot water with medlars in it would help promote good health and improve sleep, so he bought some online along with a quality vacuum cup made in Japan.
The first thing he does before going to work in the morning is put medlars in the cup, and the first thing he does after arriving at work is fill it with hot water.
He also changed from regular milk powder to a special kind with honey and extra calcium. When he wakes up, he drinks a cup of warm salt water, and just before he goes to sleep, he drinks honey water or warm milk.
Huang Ying, a human resource manager working in Beijing, has another way of using medlars. She fills her air humidifier with warm water and puts medlars in it.
"It is said that medlar water is good for one's health, and I hope it can be good for my skin and respiratory system," the 25-year-old said. "You cannot be too careful about the air quality if you live in Beijing."
"There is a joke on the Internet that says when we drink beer or alcohol, we add medlars to limit the damage to our health," Li said. "I think it will soon not be a joke, but a reality."
Foot bath remedies
Long johns Photo:baidu
Zhao Dawen just turned 25 recently, and the birthday present she bought herself was an electric foot basin worth about 500 yuan and 40 packs of TCM materials for foot baths.
"One or two years ago, I would never wear long johns in the winter; I only wore a pair of thin jeans. But recently, I have been feeling extremely cold. Now, I put on long johns myself without my mother's cajoling," she said. "I think I am too old to wear thin clothes in winter, and I often feel cold even indoors. I caught a cold two times in a row in one month, so a friend, who is also in her 20s, recommended foot baths to me."
Zhao spent a lot of time online, studying which TCM is good to use in a foot bath. She also learned a lot of other health maintenance tips related to TCM, like what kind of TCM to add to drinking water and how to use certain kinds of TCM in cooking."I thought I would never master TCM because I am young," she said. "But I learned very fast after I felt the fear of getting sick."
After having regular foot baths, Zhao said she is no longer as afraid of the cold weather. "It helps, and I regret not starting earlier," she said. "I now believe in TCM treatment and will stick to it, like many of my friends and colleagues."
Zhao and three of her colleagues bought discounted TCM foot bath materials worth more than 200 yuan during the recent Double Eleven shopping festival.
Work, joy and health
Shi Jie, a nutritionist based in Beijing, said that it is a good sign that the younger generation has begun to care about health and wellness and take measures to maintain their health. They are different from their parents and grandparents; they have more access to health information, and they can invest more money, she said.
"For example with health products like nutrition supplements and vitamins, most of the buyers are young people," Shi said. "But I think having a healthy work and rest routine and a balanced diet can do better than any measure."
Wang said the most effective way to prevent hair loss is to go to bed earlier. But it is just hard for her. Every day she is supposed to leave work at about 7 pm, but she usually works overtime and has to have dinner with customers and bosses, which makes her go home late.
"If I sleep at 10 pm it would be very healthy, but I often get home at about 11, and after a shower and taking daily care of my cat, it would be past 12 am," she said.
"My work is very boring and tiring, and I want to do something relaxing and interesting at home like reading and watching soap operas. So, I end up sleeping at about 2 am every day. Sometimes when I stay up too late, I use extra eye cream to treat the dark circles under my eyes." Li agrees with Wang. He would turn on his computer and play video games until about 1 am on most workdays.
"Games are the only entertainment left for me since I don't have many friends in Beijing," he said. "After a day's work, I hope to have some private entertainment time, and that is usually late at night." In the first week of November, he worked until 9 pm for five consecutive workdays, and he still played games after he got home.
"I need to relax and forget work," he said. "But recently I began to sleep earlier. If you say I might die suddenly, I might not be afraid, but if you say that I would become bald, I would drop the keyboard and go to bed immediately."