During the tenth Global Wellness Summit in Kitzbuehl, Austria, 500+ wellness experts from 46+ countries identified the top eight wellness trends for 2017 and beyond. These experts come from industries such as travel, spa, beauty, fitness, nutrition, technology, medical, economics, and architecture.
Share your sweat
Sweating is not a new trend. Saunas and sweating are well lodged in many cultures around the world. E.g. Japanese onsen, Arabic Hamman, Native American sweat lodges, and European sauna. The trend is to make it more spectacular and social. Finnish saunas used to be set up in rather small wooden boxes, but now they transform into entertainment venues for the sauna goers. The new sauna experience will include performances with sound, steam and even dance.
In the past the sweating experience was rather isolated. The new generation is looking for more social and fun ways to enjoy the visits. Architecturally this means that new designs with more generous spaces (sometimes for up to 300 people and with recycled materials) will be designed. This new wellness architecture could also include restaurants and bars or pop-up concepts like floating or bridge- suspended saunas.
Home spa and sauna products are still relatively new in Australia but are making their way into bathrooms to create a luxurious home retreat.
Healthy wellness Architecture
Previously architects mainly focused on surface aesthetics without giving too much thought to physical and mental health of the building occupants. Changes and building and construction will probably be the most impactful trend in 2017. Architects will take a more holistic approach to materials, air, ventilation, water light, acoustics choices.
Building standards such as LEED that include measures for human health and well-being are still expensive and many designers shy away from them. However, there are easy ways to improve the effects that building have on people’s health by for example reducing indoor air pollution with plants.
The Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain,China, is a great example of biophilic design incorporating natural materials, light and vegetation.
Bathing spaces in the home are now being designed to incorporated lush greenery and linking to outdoor spaces to create that connection to air, ventilation, peace, calm and light.
Silence is golden
Or rather, in the future it is becoming even more precious. In the connected, noisy world people get stressed out, anxious and depressed if they don’t detach, disconnect, quiet down or switch off every once in a while. The trend is to focus deeper on silence and nature.
People yearn for the luxury that is silence to regain their inner balance. Public places such as hotels, hair salons, airports, gyms, stores etc. go silent to help with the noise detox. Silent temples in Kyoto, Japan, help jolt life contemplation by offering Zen meditations, but also hotels and spas all over the world offer silent escapes. The Mandarin Oriental holds silent nights at their spas and in Japan a silent restaurant chain Ichiran has already opened 61 locations and is now expanding to Hong Kong and the USA.
Invigorate your mind
To further your well-being, one has to take care not only of the body, but also of the mind. Research has shown that creativity positively impacts the brain. A well-rounded wellness program address bodily needs and relaxation as well as food for thought and health for the mind through art, music and literature.
This de-stresses the senses and leads to more creativity and mental soundness. Regular readers show lower stress levels, have less depression and sleep better.
The wellness industry has already picked up on this trend and hotels offer classes and workshops catering to this multi-sensory approach. Have a look at the Spa Village Tembok in Bali where the guests can enjoy indigenous arts, drawing, dance, and guided meditation classes.
Wellness and beauty are intrinsically connected. One cannot exist without the other, but now they are moving even closer together. The borders blur. The overall wellness and fitness directly, strongly and positively influences appearance and vice versa. Beauty affects all of our senses, diet, fitness, sleep, and stress levels and wellness programs help to maintain, restore or improve the attractiveness. Consumers know to take care of their mental, physical and spiritual wellness to boost their self-esteem and beauty. But they want to do it with ethically sourced, effective and exiting products. The trend in the wellness environment is to integrate these products in the treatments.
Hack your happiness and productivity or learn to live again
The forecast by the World Health Organization shows that by 2030, the biggest health risk on earth will be depression. The social media world is “keeping us alone together” and weighing heavy on people’s mental and emotional state. To find their mental footing many turn to meditation practices. In the past, they were rather elite, but now meditation is become more mainstream and popular. Not in the least thanks to the tech world that has created numerous apps to help people on their way to mental wellbeing. Research shows that a sound mental state is important for happiness, productivity and stability. Many hotels offer meditation courses – in-room or in their spas e.g. Park Hyatt New York – some go beyond this and bring in psychotherapists and neuroscientists to take care of their guests.
Meditation does not work for everyone or is just a way-out-there concept, there are other possibilities to lower stress levels and find the inner balance. Breathing is the gate-way “drug” to mediation or practical meditation as some call it. Workshops on how to breathe and track your breathing are on offer in some hotels. Check out: The Andaman Langkawi Island, Malaysia.
Another big hack is sleep. There are more apps out there than ever to help you track, improve and record your sleep. Arianne Huffington just recently released a new book called “The Sleep Revolution” where she discussed not only the health benefits of sleep, but how to better achieve our goals.
The hospitality industry caters to this trend with sleep programs and a focus on sleep specifically. For example the Six Senses is equipped with handmade mattresses, organic pillows, sheets and duvets with cooling and breathing zones. Some places offer total black outs or “kill switch” (Villa Stephanie, Germany) options.
Embracing the C-word
It used to be that the wellness industry only served the healthy. However, customers with a health issue e.g. cancer sufferers have a big need for stress reduction, emotional balance and relaxation. The trend is to integrate treatments into the wellness offerings that accommodate this target group and to provide some stability in their situation whether this is during the medical treatment or during recovery time.
For more than the 1%
The myth that only the wealthy, the rich, and the socio-economic well-offs can afford wellness persists. It gives the impression that wellness centers, spas and hotels with these facilities are oasis for the privileged. In 2017 the trend is towards more fairness in the world and giving back to the communities.
As the UN’s latest World Happiness Report states that social connections and social freedom contribute to wellness and happiness. So, happiness and wellness should be for everyone. Public-private collaboration, policy changes and more affordable wellness products and services will open up this sector to everyone. A few cool initiatives can already been seen such as 2016 Shark Tank of Wellness winner Shahrin Ali, a young Bangladeshi woman, who proposed supplying clean and affordable sanitary napkins made of leftover materials from the country’s cotton industry to women in developing countries, so they are empowered to live their lives to the fullest or some spas in North America donate their net profits entirely to charities.
Overall, wellness becomes more accessible, social and inclusive in 2017. The industry will see a creative and innovative push on many fronts influencing the customers’ lives and the environment. To read the report in detail, please click here.
Source: 2017 Wellness Trends, from Global Wellness Summit.