Balance, the healing power of nature and beauty and the brain on the agenda at 2016 GWS

The healing power of nature, a balanced life and beauty and the brain were among the topics on the agenda on day one of the 2016 Global Wellness Summit.

The summit, the 10th anniversary even, is currently taking place in Kitzbuhel in the Austrian Tyrol and opened with a keynote by director, producer and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg.

Schwartzberg spoke of the importance of “being kind to ourselves before we can be kind to others” and touched on the healing powers of flowers.

He advised delegates that the way forward is to “fertilise the world with love” and said: “The future has changed and it’s filled with hope”.

Day one of the summit, held under the topic of Back to the Future, also saw Franz Linser, head of Linser Hospitality and co-chair of the summit along side Espa founder and chairman Sue Harmsworth, speak.

Talking on the topic of Wellness as it was Meant to Be, Linser said we need to return to a lifestyle that entails living more in line with our natural rhythm.

“Wellness means embracing life as a whole and living naturally. We used to be hunters but now we are hunted, not really sure who is hunting us. Time maybe.”

David Bosshart from Switzerland’s Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute commented that we are living in a post-industrial, digital era of “convergence, abundance and imagination”.

Although the world is at our fingertips we are in fact, becoming more tribal, Bosshart said, citingthe rise of Donald Trump and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as examples of this.

“These are examples of what can happen if we don’t take care,” he said. In the afternoon, Dr Claudia Aguirre delivered a presentation on the topic of What Neuroscience teaches us about Beauty.

Dr Aguirre emphasised that although we tend to think of beauty as “coming in through the eyes, it come from all of our sense”. Highlighting the impact of beautiful music, for example, on our brains, Aguirre also talked about the potentially transformational impact of beauty.

“Can beauty change our self-esteem? Absolutely. And can we then change our industry and the world around us? Absolutely”. The day also included a panel on integrative medicine, hosted by Sue Harmsworth.

The panel included Lanserhof medical director Elke Benedetto-Reisch; Dr Harry König, head of medical care at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa; Dr Imke König, spa director at Schloss Elmau; and Dr Christine Stossier, co-founder of Viva Mayr on the panel

Dr Hary König said that in his view, integrative medicine “is about having individual conversations with people and helping them lead healthier lives”.

He also said that we need to step away from the digital world at times. “We need to learn how to switch off, “ he commented.

Dr Imke König said that at Schloss Elmau , they are seeing an increasing number of clients who have problems sleeping, issues with digestion and with the reproductive system.

Dr König, trained in traditional Chinese medicine, added that we need to find balance in our lives. “The universe is organised rhythmically and we need to be as well.

“We need to give people that rhythm back, and we need to simplify our lives,” she said. The 2016 Global Wellness Summit continues today.