8 trends set to shake up the wellness industry
Industry experts have identified the biggest trends for the wellness industry in 2017, from a new focus on silence to sauna’s social reinvention.
The trends, which were unveiled at the Global Wellness Summit which took place in Austria, revealed a distinctive “gel real” quality: from fresh directions for mental wellness to a new focus on both silent and creativity/arts programming for hotels, spas and fitness studios.
The event brought together more than 500 wellness experts from 46 countries in the travel, spa, beauty, fitness, nutrition, technology, medical and architecture sectors, to discuss where wellness was headed in 2017.
“No other trends report is based on the perspectives of so many wellness experts, whether leading economists, futurists or the heads of hospitality, spa and beauty brands,” said Susie Ellis, GWS chairman and chief executive. “And it makes for a powerfully collective, global and informed set of predictions.”
The top 8 trends that emerged from the summit are:
- Sauna reinvented
No longer a solitary experience, saunas are getting a social reinvention with outside of the box thinking. Examples of this include “hangout” saunas and quirky pop-up saunas floating on lakes, to urban “sweat lodges” serving up infrared treatments and “Sauna Aufguss” events where “sauna-meisters” conduct theatrical performances of infusions, song and dance.
- Wellness architecture
“Living buildings” that grow their own energy, responsive architecture that tailors indoor health experiences for every inhabitant, phone apps that alert you when you’re enter a “sick” building and dawn-stimulating light that eases you into your day, buildings are being reengineered to improve the health of those living within them.
- Shh… silence
Wellness destinations are being tipped to turn off the noise and embrace true silence. For example, the first completely “silent spa” has just opened at Austria’s Therme Laa Hotel and new “wellness monasteries” are on the rise – with retreats opening that infuse silent with contemplative value of ancient sacred values. Silent restaurants, salons, gyms, stores and airports are also being unveiled, with no digital distractions.
- Art and creativity take centre stage
The creativity-wellness-spa connection is making a comeback with more art, music, literature and dance at the centre of wellness experiences. More “beyond the adult colouring book” programmes will launch, like painting classes under the stars and more multi-sensory experiences like sound baths and yoga concerts. For example, Germany’s Schloss Elmau spa resort incorporates performance, with musicians and writers “play-to-stay” – making possible more than 200 concerts a year, and the UK’s Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel plays classical violin while guests take to the waters.
- Wellness remakes beauty
With more eatable and drinkable beauty-boosters and organic cosmetics, to medical evidence for a new “neauroaesthetics” (the brain is wired to respond to beauty)on the market – the beauty from within concept will continue to gain traction on superficial (topical) models.
- The future is mental wellness
Depression and anxiety is skyrocketing and by 2030, the former will be the number one health issue outranking obesity, predicts the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, “healthy mind” at wellness retreats and spas are growing in popularity. For example, London’s Espa Life at the Corinithia has just introduced neuroscientists and psychotherapists to its offering while new part-body/part-mind workout brand apps that track your mental state are coming to the fore.
- Embracing the C-word
GWS delegates predict that the wellness world is waking up to the needs of a surprisingly undeserved population: cancer patients. For example, Julie Bach’s “Wellness for Cancer” programme means spas are finally trained to deliver comfort (and dignity) to cancer sufferers, while Espa’s “Nurture and Support” programme shows that wellness practitioners are also opening up their hearts and healing practices.
- Beyond the ghettos of wellness
More wellness businesses are now giving back to the “other 99%” – not the rich elites. For example, “Yoga Gives Back” helps poor women in India while Newfoundland’s Fogo Island Inn gives every dollar of profit to its economically-challenged island community. Insiders are also predicting that a “Wellness Tourism 2.0” will rise: a development model thinking beyond the property to creating whole towns and regions where a comprehensive wellness vision benefits both locals and tourists – with a new wave of “low-cost wellness” as part of this democratisation.
You can read GWS full report here.