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Wellness Trends to Watch in 2017

The Global Wellness Institute has been a research partner of the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) since it was founded. And at the recent Summit in Kitzbühel, Austria, 500+ wellness experts from 46 nations (from the travel, spa, beauty, fitness, nutrition, technology, medical and architecture worlds) gathered to debate the future of the $3.7 trillion wellness industry. And when that happens you get a uniquely informed and global view of the trends coming in 2017 – and beyond.

These wellness trends have a “get real” quality (not the “charcoal is the new kale” variety). From architects finally designing buildings for human health to the many new directions ahead in mental wellness to a wellness industry that will become more democratized, reaching beyond its narrowing association with wealthy elites.

Here’s a taste – to read the full, 50-page report (with photos), click here.

“Classic” Sauna Aufguss involves trained sauna-meisters using elaborate towel rituals to circulate an orchestra of infusions. Image Source: Lars Krückeberg PowerPoint, Global Wellness Summit 2016 

Sauna Reinvented: Something hot and very cool: the reinvention of sauna underway. From theatrical Sauna Aufguss events (with song and dance) to jaw-dropping amphitheater saunas …the future of sweating is spectacular and social.

Wellness Architecture: Architecture has long been preoccupied with surface aesthetics: “starchitects” designing to wow or shock, but with little attention paid to creating buildings that improve the health of the humans living within. Change is finally here, with everything “built” getting reengineered: from indoor air quality (a killer) to sleep and acoustics.

Silence: In a world of 24/7 connectedness, wellness destinations are embracing a dramatic approach to “turning off” the noise: true silence. “Silent spas” and new (silent, contemplative) “wellness monasteries” are on the rise. And “silent” restaurants, salons, gyms, stores and airports are all being unveiled…

Art & Creativity Take Center Stage: More art, music, literature and dance (as experienced and “to do”) will be at the center of more wellness experiences. Yes, adult coloring books – but well beyond: from classical concerts to painting classes at hotels, wellness retreats, spas and studios.

L’Oréal is among the big beauty brands embracing natural ingredients and committing to sustainability,
something that resonates greatly with today’s consumer. Image Source: L’Oréal

Wellness Remakes Beauty: The massive $1 trillion beauty industry is undergoing seismic shifts to meet the needs of a wellness-oriented population, focused on a “beauty comes from within” – rather than the old superficial, topical – model. The trend to watch in the new wellness-beauty conversation: the rising science of “neuroaesthetics,” exploring the complex, positive connections between the human brain and beauty.

The Future is Mental Wellness: Mental wellness will be the biggest future trend, period: from wellness destinations bringing in neuroscientists and psychotherapists – to meditation becoming seriously mainstream, while evolving into new breeds – to apps that track your mental state.

Wellness for Cancer training taking place at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, UK. Image Source: Julie Bach

Embracing the C-Word: The wellness world is waking up to the needs of a surprisingly underserved population: cancer patients – with new training initiatives and programming that finally provides comfort and positive recovery paths.

Beyond the Elite “Ghettos” of Wellness: In a world where rising inequality and a sense of “unfairness” is leading to a global, populist backlash, a wellness industry that’s become narrowly associated with wealthy elites (…the $300 yoga pants and treatments) must, and will, change.