Some call it the “Democratization of Wellness,” and it’s well underway.
Wellness—which usually involves doing something for your health that does NOT involve a medical doctor—is rapidly moving beyond being an ideal available only to those who can afford it. The world is waking up to the idea that the concept of wellness must be woven into the fabric of our existence in order for us to thrive. And business is embracing wellness as well: it makes good economic sense.
Recently 10 Future Shifts In Wellness were identified by the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) held in Mexico City last month. The Wellness Warrior team was there, and you can read our reports from the field here and here. For a more comprehensive overview, check out the special Spa Opportunities GWS Edition.
It’s an exciting, fluid time in the world of wellness, and it’s important to note that none of these shifts toward prevention and protection is a given—individuals must choose to support and even demand them (from their doctors, caregivers, workplaces, manufacturers, favorite consumer brands, etc…). Together we can make these shifts a reality (particularly #10, which is why Wellness Warrior exists). The full report, "Global Wellness Summit Identifies Top 10 Future Shifts in Wellness" will be published later this month in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
1. From Cracking the Genome to Cracking the Epigenome
Science has understood our genome for the last decade, but we are now learning that our genes are not immutable—lifestyle and environment have a profound effect on our genes.
2. From Optional to Mandatory Wellness
As the cost of chronic disease continues to rise ($47 trillion worldwide over the next 20 years, or 30 percent of GDP), the economic argument for taking care of ourselves, our people, and our planet cannot be denied.
3. From “In Your Face” to Imperceptible Wellness
Just as we feel like we can’t “live without” our cell phones, fostering our wellness will become a part of our everyday lives that we no longer consider optional.
4. From Workplace Wellness “Programs” to Total Cultures of Wellness at Work
Our workplaces won’t just offer subsidies for gym membership, but the value of our wellness (our happiness, our feeling of connection, our joy) will be a consideration of all companies.
5. Medicine vs. Wellness... to Truly Integrative Healthcare
The body-mind-spirit as an integrated and interconnected system and will be at the forefront of treating and preventing disease in the medical world.
6. Medical Technology Breakthroughs: from Ingestible Health Trackers to Stem Cells
Nanotechnology (for example, a health tracker/monitor that you swallow) and new techniques in stem cell extraction are making it possible to monitor our bodies in incredible ways and potentially cure diseases like Type 1 Diabetes.
7. Wellness Homes
Building for wellness, where architecture and planning are informed by creating a holistic experience for humans, will attract builders, buyers and investors.
8. From Superfood and Diet Trend Hysteria to Sane Eating
Local, organic, and seasonal fresh foods will continue to grow as the standard components of a healthy diet.
9. Wellness Travel Booming: from Emerging Markets to New “Pairings” for Wellness
Travel experiences will shift from opulence and luxury to promoting wellness-transformative experiences, often at resorts that have a wellness “purpose.”
10. From Wellness for the Wealthy Few to the Democratization of Wellness
The health and wellness for all people will be of the utmost importance for businesses, governments, healthcare and other institutions. (In other words, soon the whole world will become Wellness Warriors!).