Each year, the Global Wellness Summit releases its top nine wellness trends that provide impact on the multi trillion global wellness industry.
It’s the only wellness forecast based on the insights of hundreds of top executives of wellness companies, economists, doctors, investors, academics and technologists.
These trends reflect how wellness is poised to take a bigger seat at the health care table. It predicts a future industry that will be more inclusive, accessible and affordable. How it will basically “get real” and more evidence-based – and tackle tougher and more crucial human pain-points…
The Self-Care Renaissance : Where Wellness and Healthcare Converge
We’re undergoing a new kind of medical renaissance where two complementary yet often competing entities—healthcare and wellness—will converge. Wellness is learning to lean into science, establish standards, and hold itself accountable. At the same time, healthcare is beginning to borrow from the wellness playbook—transforming a once sterile and strictly curative industry into a more holistic, lifestyle-oriented, and even pleasurable one. In this new era, hospitals will take inspiration from five-star resorts, yoga studios might measure improved telomere length, and prescriptions may be coupled with hyper-personalized guides to optimal health.
As Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier puts it, “Medicine is realizing that its roots have come from wellness traditions, and the wellness community is recognizing that not all doctors are evil.”
An increasing number of clinical studies from major universities like Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins are putting science and data behind something we’ve actually known for centuries—the way we breathe has profound effects on our mental and physical health and abilities. It might even help strengthen our immune systems.
Practitioners are bringing breathwork to ever-larger audiences and pushing it into fascinating new territories, including rehabilitation, fitness, community building, and relief from chronic stress, trauma and PTSD. Cool, clubby breathwork parties and festivals are rising. Perhaps the best part of all—this drug-free medicine costs absolutely nothing.
The Future of Immune Health : Stop Boosting, Start Balancing
After a long 2020, people are aware that their immune health is a holistic affair, that food and the microbiome are linchpins, and that “slow” not “hyper” strategies are the difference-makers. People will keep gobbling trendy quick-fixes in trendy bottles, but they’re ready for more
In 2020, people were blitzed with “immune-boosting” supplements, foods and therapies, but the idea that you can “boost” your immunity is unscientific nonsense, and “more boosting” is precisely the wrong approach. The future: approaches that lead to immuno-stabilization, immuno-balance.immuno-stabilization and immuno-balance.
We will see more evidence-based approaches to immune health, with metabolic health, the microbiome, and personalized nutrition becoming crucial—along with more experimentation with everything from “positive stress” experiences to intermittent fasting for immune resilience. And immunity programs at travel destinations will go deeper, more medical, with interventions that matter more than “immune-boosting” menus and IV drips.
Hollywood and the Entertainment Industries Jump into Wellness
If wellness programming on TV (whether Oprah or the Goop Lab) has been about wellness as a topic you passively consume, the future is TV content and platforms that involve and impact you:
Samsung TV launched Samsung Health, letting people binge 5,000 hours of free fitness/meditation classes from the buzziest brands. Wellness companies are becoming full-blown TV studios: mega-meditation-apps, Calm and Headspace, recently scored TV shows (HBO Max and Netflix), translating their meditative experiences into immersive television.
The ways that music is being created for stress, sleep, focus, a better workout, or just trippy, ambient bliss…has kicked into high gear. Meditation apps are becoming big wellness music “record labels”. Generative music technology—where your biometrics meet neuroscientist-designed sound—will take sound-as-precision-medicine to radical places.
The future: more collaborations between Big Media and the wellness world. A trend that could impact billions of lives which feels awfully overdue.
Spiritual and Numinous Moments in Architecture
In recent years, a storm of studies has demonstrated the powerful connection between the built environment and our physical health, and a new “wellness architecture” sector has taken off, heavily focused on functional design moves, whether circadian lighting or air purification.
In 2021, we will see new attention paid to creating everyday spaces that can incite sacred and numinous moments, that elevate our consciousness and potential, and ground us in gravitas in the midst of a mindless, consumerist society. Architecture and design will move up Maslow’s Pyramid, from our recent era of look-at-me, visually ostentatious fads like luxury McMansions to a new architecture reaching for the “self-actualization” tier—a built environment that can move our souls.
Adding Colour to Wellness.
While diversity and inclusion have become popular topics in the wellness industry, there is an argument that to generate substantive change, the industry must recognize and address the false narrative that wellness is only for affluent white people. It discusses how the industry can add colour to wellness by valuing black consumers and wellness professionals and describes the different ways that black people actually experience wellness offerings and spaces, highlighting racial inequalities.
Wellness enterprises that value diversity, respect black wellness needs, and work to support more equitable access, represent the future of wellness.
Resetting Events with Wellness : You May Never Sit on a Banquet Chair Again
Around mid-March 2020, the pandemic brought in-person events to an abrupt halt. And no matter the power of technology and the gratitude we felt for Zoomed Wi-Fi connectivity, the world hungered for personal interactions.
But there was a silver lining: new hybrid events (in-person and virtual gatherings) sprouted like mushrooms after a spring rain. Technology companies raced to be the platform for hosting hybrid meetings. Investors threw money at tech companies, and within months of the pandemic shutting down most in-person-only gatherings, new companies had taken hold, and a new world was emerging.
In 2021 and beyond, creativity is driving connection and how we gather is taking on new and healthier meanings.
Money Out Loud : Financial Wellness is Finding its Voice
A culture craving authenticity is breaking the money taboo—transforming finance from a one-size-fits-all and cut-and-dried industry to one that’s more human, empathetic and, dare we say, fun.
With research linking financial stress to anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, respiratory conditions and more—it’s about time money is put under the microscope. This growing financial wellness movement is taking money talk far beyond the bank. In 2021 and beyond, we’ll begin to see the end of financial systems designed to profit from our failures and the start of financial wellness awakening. Money talks. It’s time to start using a language everyone can understand.
2021 : The Year of the Travel Reset
The coronavirus pandemic acted as a near-complete brake on travel in 2020. The pause gave everyone—consumers and suppliers—the opportunity to think about rebooting travel for the better by correcting overtourism, becoming more conscious of where our money goes, and how to use the enormous power of tourism to sustain cultures and environments and perhaps even leave them better off.
Looking ahead, 2021 will be the year of the travel reset, going slower, nearer and more mindfully. The back-to-nature movement also coincides with booms in slow travel and human-powered travel, be it cycling, walking, skiing, climbing or kayaking. We’ll also see more travel with purpose – defined as ‘more proactive, progressive and looking to effect positive change’, all while still delighting in the indulgence of global exploration.
Sounds inspiring – our bags are packed!