According to the Global Wellness Summit, human health will be addressed from a more holistic perspective in 2017 and beyond. From the reinvention of the sauna to health and wellness in architecture design, more than 500 wellness experts from 46 countries discussed future trends affecting the $3.7 trillion global wellness economy during the international gathering, held in October in Kitzbuhel, Austria. The evolving landscape of health and wellness is expected to shape various industries, including travel, spa, beauty, fitness, nutrition, technology, medicine and architecture.
For meetings and events, this has far-reaching implications. Here are eight health and wellness predictions that will have an impact on the future of travel and lifestyle.
The private sauna as we know it is already becoming a more social experience in certain parts of Europe. Sauna facilitators during Sauna Aufguss events conduct theatrical performances involving song and dance. Saunas are also taking place in hip amphitheater settings or social hangout spaces, such as Helsinki’s new high-design Loyly sauna complex and Scotland’s new loch-side Hot Box, complete with a DJ and bar. There are also quirky pop-up saunas on floating lakes and even ones hanging from bridges. Trendy urban sweat lodges offer infrared sauna treatments, such as Higher Dose in New York City. No longer a solitary, quiet experience, social saunas take sweating out of the box—literally.
Wellness in Architecture
Architecture has typically been focused on surface aesthetics, paying little attention to creating buildings designed to improve the health of humans living within. But not anymore: Living buildings will become a standard model for all types of accommodations. Buildings will be able to cultivate their own energy, feature dawn-simulated lighting and will have responsive architecture that tailors indoor health for every inhabitant. Phone apps will alert people when entering a building that could have adverse effects on health and air quality.
Silence is Golden
In a world of 24/7 connectedness, wellness destinations are embracing a dramatic approach to turning off the noise: true silence. For example, the first completely silent spa, with stunning church-inspired architecture, opened in Therme Laa–Hotel & Silent Spa in Laa an der Thaya, Austria. New wellness monasteries are also on the rise. Retreats based on contemplative values are taking place in ancient sacred spaces, such as the soulful Eremito Hotelito Del Alma in Parrano, Italy. With no Wi-Fi or phone signal, silent lodgings and candlelit dinners are part of the ambience. Brenner’s Park–Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Germany has even installed digital kill switches to ensure rooms are completely silent. The silent wave is sure to hit restaurants, salons, gyms, stores and perhaps even airports.
Art & Creativity
The creativity-wellness-spa connection is making a Renaissance comeback by integrating more art, music, literature and dance with wellness programming. The headline act at Schloss Elmau is a musical experience integrated with wellness offerings at the luxury spa resort in Krun, Germany. A “play-to-stay” program for musicians and writers provides more than 200 concerts a year for guests to enjoy. At Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel in Bath, England, guests enjoy live classical violin music while taking a dip in thermal waters. Future creative programming could include painting classes under the stars, yoga concerts, sound baths and other multisensory experiences.
Wellness Infiltrates Beauty
The beauty industry makes up $1 trillion of the $3.7 trillion wellness economy, and is remaking itself to meet the standards of a wellness-oriented population obsessed with authenticity and inner beauty. Organic cosmetics have already taken the beauty world by storm. The next phase in clean products could be edible beauty boosters, as more medical evidence suggests beauty comes from total health. Cosmetic repair will give way to preventative approaches as we continue to learn that beauty is more than skin deep.
Future of Mental Wellness
Mental wellness has a bleak outlook worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Depression and anxiety are skyrocketing, and by 2030, mental health will overtake obesity as the number one area of concern. That’s why more dramatic wellness approaches could be on the horizon. Espa Life at Corinthia hotel in London implements the knowledge of neuroscientists and psychotherapists in its wellness retreats and spa facilities. And meditation is becoming more mainstream, even playing on-demand in hotel rooms. In the future, new mind-body workout brands and apps that track mental states will upgrade the traditional workout. Think MindBit, not FitBit—because mind will finally gain equal status with body.
Embracing the C-Word
The wellness world is also waking up to the needs of a surprisingly underserved population: cancer patients. Julie Bach’s pioneering Wellness for Cancer program means wellness companies and spas are trained to deliver comfort and dignity to cancer patients. From Espa’s Nurture and Support program to Natura Bisse’s oncological aesthetics and the Mindful Touch Massage at Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs, California, wellness practitioners are opening their hearts and healing practices to cancer patients.
The wellness trend has often under criticism for its association with rich elites, leaving out those who cannot afford expensive spa treatments and $300 yoga pants. Wellness will leave behind this stereotype and become a more egalitarian concept. More wellness-related business will give back to the underserved. For example. Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, Canada, donates every dollar of profit back to the economically challenged island community. Eventually a development model will create whole towns, regions and possibly entire nations that operate under a comprehensive wellness vision geared toward nature conservation and sustaining a healthy food supply. Democratized wellness will bring about more affordable health supermarkets and spa chains with reasonable, yet labor-conscious pricing.