The ‘Hygge’ Lifestyle Trend Could Be Bad For Your Health

Bad news for Scandi-wannabes….


by Danielle Fowler |
Updated on

Scandinavians are renowned for being the most content people on earth with Denmark consistently making the top spot as the happiest country to live in according to the World Happiness Report.

From minimal plant-based interiors to donning head-to-toe monochrome athleisure, we’ve all been known to embrace the Scandi way of life. But it seems there may be a dark side to the seemingly desirable lifestyle.

‘Hygge’, pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, is a Danish trend sweeping the globe designed to enable people to achieve a ‘state where all psychological needs are in balance’, according to happiness expert Meik Wiking.

And in order to achieve this relaxed state, people are encouraged to light candles, listen to soothing music and eating comforting food. Sounds great, right? But health professionals have revealed the dangers associated with the lifestyle.

According to Jørn Toftum, associate professor at the Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy at the Technical University of Denmark, excessively using candles could lead to respiratory problems."

Jørn told Danish broadcaster TV2, “Candles give off a large amount of particles when they burn, and those particles enter the lungs. Some of the particles are so tiny that they completely exit the deepest lung tissue and enter our bloodstream, which could potentially cause problems.”

Professor Ian Adcock from the National Heart & Lung Institute at Imperial College London further confirmed the risks.

In an interview with The Independent Ian revealed, “The production of particles from candles can have marked detrimental effects on the lungs leading to conditions similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and can exacerbate asthma.”

He continued: “There is a large amount of information regarding indoor pollution from studies in the developing world where cooking over wood fires and the burning of wicks for light in enclosed spaces produces very high levels of particulates, which can be much higher than those seen with diesel traffic pollution, for example. It is the long term exposure to these particles in enclosed spaces that causes problems.”

And with ‘hygge-junkies’ guilty of over-using candles, it has led experts to question the lifestyle trend sweeping the globe.

Lars Gunnarsson, a professor at the Danish Building Research Institute, told The Independent, “In Denmark we are amongst the world’s highest consumers of candles. It is quite extreme in an international context that we use so many.

He continued: “I can see this 'hygge-junkie' conduct is very widely spread, judging by what I see among the people around me, and there’s no doubt that the particles given off by candles can be very, very powerful.”

Maybe we should stick to imitating the Scandi way of dressing and leave 'hygge' to the Danish.

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