The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) which recently took place in Mexico City, was the largest, most diverse, cross disciplinary conference in its 9-year history, attracting 470+ delegates from over 40 countries.
The theme of the summit was Building a Well World.
GWS Chairman and CEO, Susie Ellis. called the Mexico City Summit "A watershed moment" as great minds from a variety of sectors including medical (e.g., the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics, Harvard and Duke Universities), workplace wellness worlds (e.g., Johnson & Johnson and Zappos) in addition to economics, government, technology, travel, spa/wellness, education, nutrition, beauty and the arts - came together to debate how to build a healthier world.
According to Beth McGroarty, PR Director, the concluding report on the top shifts coming in wellness is a "distillation of what the experts at the Global Wellness Summit presented on that topic and the new developments/ideas which were most crucial to their theme."
It will be interesting in the upcoming year to see which area of wellness most captures the heart and attention of the public.
Ten Shifts in Wellness for 2016
1. From Cracking the Genome to Cracking the Epigenome
Dr. Deepak Chopra explained that the future is decoding the epigenome, that DNA which is ceaselessly modified by lifestyle choices and environment. Epigenetic breakthroughs are coming.
2. From Optional to Mandatory Wellness
With the skyrocketing cost of chronic diseases ($47 trillion worldwide over the next 20 years), and a world aging like never before (800 million people now over 60), wellness can no longer be optional. Initiatives that reward and support people will be most successful.
3. From "In Your Face" to Imperceptible Wellness
Wellness has historically been something you "do." The future is more wellness baked seamlessly into the fabric of our lives: dawn-simulating lighting waking you up gently, bed sensors monitoring your sleep, making instant ventilation/comfort changes; and responsive materials, including fabrics that cuddle us or clothes that deliver the perfect massage.
4. From Workplace Wellness "Programs" to Total Cultures of Wellness at Work
New Global Wellness Institute research forecast that workplace wellness approaches will change radically to incorporate meaningful, real "cultures" of health at work, tackling everything from physical, to emotional, to financial wellness: fair pay, healthy workspaces, inclusion of families and virtual workers.
5. From Medicine vs. Wellness to Truly Integrative Healthcare
Integrative medicine has been talked about for decades, but is finally happening. Medical leaders from the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics, Harvard and Duke agreed that now we're at the real "inflection point." Today every leading medical center either has, or is planning, a wellness/integrative center.
6. Medical Technology Breakthroughs: from Ingestible Health Trackers to Stem Cells
Medical technology breakthroughs presented were mind blowing. Ingestible, health-tracking nanochips that monitor 50 biological functions 24/7 will make clunky wearables seem prehistoric, and usher in a new era of precision, preventative and personalized medicine.
And new directions in stem cell harvesting/freezing (no more storing cells from a baby's umbilical cord, but rather the non-invasive extraction of stem cells from teeth) have the ability to make any cell "young" again: whether bone, insulin, pancreatic, heart, liver, brain, eye, collagen or elastin, cells. Which may be the path to curing diseases like ALS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
7. Wellness Homes: Big Growth and Big Premiums for Owners/Investors
More homes, communities and even cities are being master-planned from the ground up for human health. Mayo Clinic's ambitious 20-year project to turn its base of Rochester, MN into a "City of Health" and Delos Living's project to transform part of Tampa City, FL into a 40-acre healthy city are but two examples.
8. From Superfood & Diet Trend Hysteria to Sane Eating
Given the recent, hysterical obsessions with the next superfood or diet trend, experts are suggesting that we may be experiencing a collective, global eating disorder. Our manic importation of chia seeds, quinoa, goji berries, etc. is disturbing global ecosystems. The future? Clean, sustainably sourced (from our own backyard), personally intuitive foods - and a welcome return to eating as pleasure.
9. Wellness Travel Booming: from Emerging Markets to New "Pairings" for Wellness
Experts agreed that the heart of wellness tourism is the "transformational experience": less about the destination, and more about how the experience alters a person's mind, body and soul. Because "wellness" can sometimes remain a hazy concept for travelers, we'll increasingly see it paired with every travel category imaginable: wellness and..."adventure," "culinary and wine," "cruise," "cultural," "safari"...you name it.
10. From Wellness for the Wealthy Few to the Democratization of Wellness
A powerful thread running through the Summit was the need to bring wellness to more members of society: the young and old, wealthy and poor, the healthy and ill. Four areas cited were:
• Conscious Capitalism: For companies and individuals, success will increasingly be measured not by net worth but by "net good." Going forward, the winning brands will be charitable, collaborative and creative.
• In Sickness and In Health: Forty percent of people will get some type of cancer in their lifetime, and the spa and wellness industries will finally start embracing and retraining for them - eliminating the fear of, and myths about, treating those with the "Big C."
• Meditation and Mindfulness Go Mainstream: Nothing has been talked about more in recent years than mindfulness, but people will finally start practicing it because it's about to become far more accessible and unintimidating.
• To Build a Well World, Focus on Children: Spas/wellness retreats are now increasingly creating serious wellness programming for kids: from healthy cooking classes, to yoga, to meditation. In India, meditation and yoga are now taught to millions of school children daily.
To read the GWS report in its entirety click here.
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