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3 New Ways to Beat Insomnia, Chronic Pain, and More

Many of today’s wellness trends offer big payoffs at big prices. The good news: You can get the same benefits at a fraction of the cost! Here’s how.

We’re more health conscious now than ever before. According to a recent Nielsen survey, 83 percent of us are paying closer attention to what we eat, and 74 percent of us are focused on getting fit, improving our sleep and using lifestyle tweaks to prevent and treat illnesses. The catch? Our wallets are feeling the pinch. Today’s exciting new wellness trends, like salt caves, flotation therapy and infrared saunas, can be incredibly powerful- but they can cost as much as $100 per session!

The good news: “For every high-priced wellness trend available, there’s a much less expensive way to get the same benefits,” asserts internal medicine specialist Robin Miller, M.D., co-author of Healed! “You can transform your health-without spending a lot of money,” she assures. Read on for the budget-friendly strategies proven to help you feel your absolute best.

Can’t sleep? Opt for a weighted mask.

Trendy weighted blankets are study-proven to help restless sleepers drift off, but they can cost $120 or more. And now that the weather is warming up, who wants to be stuck under a heavy blanket all night? The temperature- and budget-friendly alternative: a $30 weighted eye mask, like Nodpod.

“Weighted eye pillows have been used to enhance sleep for years,” says FIRST columnist Cindy Geyer, M.D., medical director at Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort in Lenox, Massachusetts. “The gentle pressure they exert on the nerves behind the eyes sends messages to the brain, heart, and digestive tract that produce a deep sense of calm.”

Chronic pain? Try DIY cryotherapy.

More than 10,000 people step into closet-like cryotherapy devices each week, exposing themselves to air as cold as -256°F. The therapy relieves chronic pain, but it also costs $60 to $100 for every teeth-chattering three-minute session.

Luckily, a less expensive remedy works just as well: placing a large gel pack on the back of your neck and between your shoulder blades for 10 minutes. This strategy was shown to reduce even chronic pain by 62 percent for hours. How does it work? According to Dr. Miller, “Localized application of cold can calm overactive pain nerves throughout the body.”

Congested? Breathe in salty steam.

Stuffed up? You can spend 45 minutes in a halotherapy room pumped full of dry, salty air for about $40. The spa-inspired remedy thins mucus and calms inflammation so effectively that fans say one session virtually eliminates respiratory discomfort, and in one study, the treatment led to a 73 percent improvement in symptoms of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

ENT specialist Vanna Vathanophas, M.D. confirms, “Inhaling salty steam daily can relieve everything from congestion to chronic postnasal drip.” But you can get the benefits for pennies. To do: Mix 1 tsp. of sea salt into four cups of just-boiled water. Place your face 12-inch from the bowl, drape a towel over your head and breathe in.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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