By Sara Jones, for Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe
Each year, the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) identifies new trends that will have a meaningful impact on the $4.2 trillion wellness industry
Well Fashion – Way Beyond Athleisure
A new era of sustainable, ethical, intelligent, healing, more inclusive and meaningful clothing is on the rise.
The greedy, throwaway fashion machine has a disastrous impact on the environment and humans: the waste, the pollution and the garment workers (mostly women). Less than 1% of clothing material is ever recycled. This model creates a staggering 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and dumps 20% of all global wastewater.
The fashion industry spews 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. If nothing changes, the fashion industry will use up more than 25% of the world’s entire carbon budget by 2050. Washing clothes releases half a million tons of microfibers into the ocean every year, equal to 50+ billion plastic bottles. Textile dyeing is the second-largest water polluter in the world, and it takes 2,000 gallons of water just to make a typical pair of jeans!
“We’re moving from an age of conspicuous consumption to an age of conspicuous conshumanism,” where people display their humane, rather than monetary, worth through choices they make as consumers.” LS:N Global. Indie brands along with globally recognized pioneers, such as Stella McCartney, Eileen Fisher and Patagonia are all reaching for sustainable and ethical practices.
A new era of AI and 3D design technologies means brands could start delivering smarter, on-demand, made-to-order clothes. The future is natural fibers that are sustainably sourced; clothes made of algae, mushrooms and crop waste. Wearable technology becomes… naturally wearable, migrating to clothes.
Wellness Takes on Overtourism
Worldwide, more than 1.3 billion people travel internationally annually. That explosion is a double-edged sword. If greater wealth leads to a growing ability to travel, then, in theory, more places could benefit economically from tourism. The trouble, however, is that the tourism expansion happens to be highly concentrated. By 2020, Euromonitor projects the top 20 countries will see an additional 121 million arrivals, while the remaining 59 countries will receive around 72 million arrivals. Overtourism is one of the most pressing issues impacting the travel and tourism industry today.
Meditation Goes Plural
It’s hardly breaking news that meditation is one of the most powerful wellness trends. In a few short years, it has been installed – along with a healthy diet and exercise – as one of the three pillars of wellbeing.
Meditation is at an adoption and conceptual tipping-point. Meditation will move from a singular to a plural practice – from a generic concept to specific types. Just a few years ago, meditation was a fringe activity for insider wellness types, but it’s now clocking the meteoric growth yoga did 20 years ago. Now, 40% of Americans say they meditate at least weekly, and the CDC reports meditation is now tied with yoga as the top two alternative medical practices in the US.
There is enough science about the health benefits of nature to get the attention of the medical profession. Nature as medicine; just don’t tell big Pharma.
In 2018, the NHS Shetland (Scotland) rolled out “nature prescriptions” to help treat high blood pressure, anxiety and depression. The doctors and nurses have been urged to describe the health benefits of being outdoors, along with specific outdoor activities for people to engage in throughout the year.
MediScent: Fragrance Gets a Wellness Makeover
A new understanding of scent’s crucial role in our physical and emotional wellbeing is transforming how we think about, nurture, and use our sense of smell.
The concept of aromatherapy, or using scent to treat “disease,” is a centuries-old practice. However, what’s old is new again thanks to huge leaps in technology, fragrance development and neuroscience studies, including new formulations; cleaner and greener ingredients; and more science-based research encouraging medical professionals, health insurers and skeptical consumers to take another, more serious look at this age-old treatment.
China – Uncovering the Wealth in Wellness
China’s unprecedented economic growth, political influence and technological advances have transformed the country into a global powerhouse. Given the size of the market and its growing middle class, China’s influence is now impacting the global wellness industry.
China’s outbound travel will have the biggest impact on global wellness. Wanderlust among Chinese consumers will dominate and reshape global tourism with its explosive growth and unique consumption habits.
Nutrition Gets Very Personalized
Diet confusion, new tech and the “power of me” propel personalized nutrition into the mainstream.
Preliminary studies have shown that individuals are more likely to stick with personalized nutrition advice based on DNA, blood biomarkers and genotypes (a positive offshoot of our craving for the hyper-personalization of everything?). A study of 100 Habit users found that women lost an average of eight pounds and men an average of 12. Habit’s Grimmer says: “When people eat in harmony to their body, a natural result is weight loss.” The same study showed a positive increase in the consumption of nutritious foods and a reduction in those things many of us can do without: sugar, trans fats and salt.
It’s called the “death positive” movement; everything around dying is getting radically rethought – from making the experience more humane to mourning and funerals getting reimagined, to people actively exploring death as part of a mentally healthy life. Finally, a “better death” is becoming integral to the idea of a “well life.”
People are rethinking the way we care for people at the end of life, realizing that we can have it go well or badly. So, we see the rise of a new practitioner, the death doula, who fills the gap in care between medicine and hospice, families and fear – and who is dedicated to giving people a better, more meaningful and peaceful death.