10 Shifts in Wellness for 2016


10 Shifts in Wellness for 2016


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Yoga at Six Senses Laamu

With the Global Wellness Summit at Mexico City this year coming to an end, here are some key takeaways that were discussed at the forums and panels. Attended by hundreds of delegates from over 40 countries, these experts gathered to forecast breakthroughs and contemplate strategies for “Building a Better World”.

1. From Genome to Epigenome Can chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer get turned on or off? There’s been hype for years that cracking the human genome would be the solution to all kinds of diseases, but researchers are catching on to the increasing role epigenetic modifiers – genetic markers that are endlessly modified by lifestyle and environmental factors after conception – play in our lives.

2. Mandatory Wellness Wellness has long been framed as a lifestyle choice, but in light of snowballing healthcare and aging issues across many nations, it is being discussed whether relevant legislation should be erected to enforce changes – faster. In Japan, government authorities are already measuring people’s BMI (and waistlines) and will penalize them if they don’t make changes. Mexico has instituted a soda tax, and in Mexico City restaurants have removed saltshakers from tables.

3. Imperceptible Wellness While wellness living may still be a conscious effort for now, it is predicted to become more “imperceptible”. Futuristic technology such as dawn-stimulating lighting to replace the shrieking alarm clock and bed sensors monitoring our sleep will be a major factor in perfecting a seamless, healthier lifestyle. Experts also predicted super-futuristic “living” buildings with mobile sensors that monitor health indicators (oxygen, hunger, stress levels) to make real-time changes.

4. From Workplace Wellness “Programs” to Total Cultures of Wellness at Work The future is shaping up a “real” culture of health at work, from physical, emotional, to financial wellness: fair pay, healthy workspaces, inclusion of families and communities, and better approaches to work-life management. Mounting evidence shows that with a change in the “program” mentality, happier workers will not only help reduce healthcare costs, but also drive recruitment, retention, and higher profits.

5. Truly Integrated Healthcare Today, every leading medical center either has, or is planning a wellness/integrative centre. Doctors have always been reimbursed for treating disease, but a future where they get remunerated for preventing it looks possible. For example, the Mayo Clinic’s partnership with Mandarin Oriental in Bodrum will see more health assessments and research-driven therapies combined with Mandarin Oriental’s spa and wellness approaches.

6. Medical Breakthroughs Medical breakthroughs that were presented, such as health-tracking nanochips that monitor biological functions 24/7, and new directions in stem cell harvesting which have the ability to make any cell “young” again, are touted to be on the path to curing diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

7. Wellness Homes More homes, communities, and even whole cities are being master-planned with more elements of the human health in mind. Preliminary numbers indicate healthy investment returns for these homes and hotels- 5-35% premium for wellness-branded, single-family homes, 7-10% for wellness rentals and 15-30% average daily rate premium for wellness branded hotels – according to a panel of real estate developers.

8. Sane Eating Recent (hysterical) obsessions with superfoods and diet trends are on a collision course with sustainability, as food-trendiness of things like (imported) chia seeds, quinoa, goji berries and coconut disturb global agricultural ecosystems. The future appears to lie with sustainably sourced personally intuitive foods, and a welcome return to eating for pleasure.

9. Wellness Travel Resorts and destinations with a solid wellness angle are becoming bigger players in the market. With industry leaders like Six Senses Hotel Resorts Spas encouraging “integrated wellness” programs that focus on providing an overall transformational experience, this will remain the category driver going forward. Wellness travel will also be fueled by the coming trend of “work less, travel more”, and phenomenal growth is projected in emerging markets, including trailblazers like Sri Lanka, Cuba, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Croatia.

10. Democratization of Wellness A strong undercurrent at the Summit was the urgency to bring wellness to more segments of society: the young old, wealthy and poor, the healthy and ill. A powerful shift can be seen in how wellness is becoming more accessible and unintimidating, and how this lifestyle is permeating into mainstream media. The focus is now on “taking wellness to the masses”.

Read the full report here: http://www.globalwellnesssummit.com/global-wellness-summit-identifies-top-10-future-shifts-in-wellness

Jenny Lo

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