The World of Wellness

 

Once upon a time, the word ‘wellness’ was associated almost exclusively with lifestyle bloggers, cold-press juices, spiralisers, and the like. But today, it has seemingly spread into the everyday vocabulary of folks outside of niche groups.

Katherine Johnstone, a Global Wellness Institute researcher, says “Wellness, for more people, is evolving from rarely to daily, from episodic to essential, from a luxury to a dominant lifestyle.” And, indeed, wellness remains one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing industries. According to GWI, the global health and wellness industry is now worth a staggering $4.5 trillion…

Our founder, Irene Forte, is a member of the Global Wellness Summit Advisory Board. The international organisation brings leaders and visionaries together to positively impact and shape the future of the industry, as evidenced by this year’s theme, ‘Shaping the Business of Wellness’. In October, 600 delegates from all over the world gathered in Singapore to attend, and give, panels and presentations covering the important issues and hottest trends; Irene led an impressive panel with next generation leaders in wellness. We’ve highlighted some of our key takeaways from the three day event:

It’s all About Business with Purpose...

This was a key theme throughout the summit. A number of talks and panels hit on the subjects of social responsibility and sustainability. Patricia Dwyer, founder and director of The Purpose Business, described purpose as, “intentionally acting with positive impact to others.” Something that founders and CEOs in the industry will be giving lots of thought to.

We also heard from Jean Sung, Head of Philanthropy at JP Morgan, David Bollati, founder and chairman of Davines, and Rupert Schmid, President of Biologique Recherche, about the duty of taking action and how we can use the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as a framework.

It’s the Asian Century...

Founder and managing director of CatchOn & Company Ltd, Cathy Feliciano-Chon, is somewhat of an expert of Asian trends and consumerism. She told us that, “Asian economies will be larger than the rest of the world combined.” She noted that the region would lead the way in wellness with next-gen business leaders, a boom in wellness tourism, and a growing awareness of mental health.

Frederick Chavalit Tsao, founder of OCTAVE Institute, started that, “there’s a silent wellness revolution happening in China.” Agility Research & Strategy published a report on Chinese Millennial and Gen Z consumers’ wellness habits, finding that they are some of the most curious and informed in the world.

In Japan, hot springs (onsens) and meditative temples are just some examples of the alluring wellness travel prospects highlighted by Yoriko Soma, CEO of Conceptasia Inc. Japan is developing ‘smart cities’ to improve the wellness of urban environments, promoting workplace wellness to keep people active and investing in ‘super ageing’ - tech for the elderly. J-Beauty (products originating from Japan) is expected to become the latest beauty craze, with brands like Tatcha and Shiseido appealing to international markets with the ‘high-tech, high-nature’ approach favoured among younger consumers. Shiseido Brand Manager Miyabi Kumagai has been quoted in the past as saying that, “the Japanese beauty philosophy is very close to the healthcare philosophy.”

Hello, Sustainable Fashion…

Sustainability in the fashion industry has been a hot topic in recent times, heralding a new era of sustainable, ethical, more inclusive, intelligent and meaningful clothing.

An aptly-named panel called ‘Look Around, Not Ahead’ gave much food for thought about what we can be doing right now. Buddhagirl’s latest initiative is LANA; encouraging consumers to reuse and upcycle their existing wardrobe or swap clothes with friends and family to counteract the effects of fast fashion.

Nutrition is Becoming Personalised…

Diet confusion, new tech, and the ‘power of me’ has propelled personalised nutrition into the mainstream. We heard from Viome CE, Naveen Jain, on his science-based at-home microbiome tests ($149) that are designed to take the guesswork out of eating well. He started that, while humans share 99% of DNA, tremendous diversity exists among us when it comes to our unique gut microbiome - the cornerstone of our health and the ‘second brain’ of our bodies. Because no two people digest food in the same way, a food that may be healthy for one person, may cause inflammation in another.

The Rise of CBD Everything....

It seems almost harder to find products without CBD in them these days. This very popular trend should be treated with caution, though, as there is still not enough research surrounding this ingredient du jour.

Stephen Letourneau is the founder of Cannuka, a skincare range that combines CBD derived from hemp (that is to say, THC-free) and Manuka honey. He spoke about the unique properties that both calms and heals the skin. We also heard about the possibility of Cannuka introducing treatments, though some study needs to go into the potential effect on therapists conducting, say, five treatments in a day.

Prescribing Nature…

There is enough science surrounding the health benefits of nature to have earned the attention of the medical professionals. The power of nature is gaining momentum and looks set to continue in 2020 as it influences not just travel, but homes, schools, and offices too.

More wellness retreats are incorporating immersive nature activities, and ‘going deep into the wild’ has been tipped as a major wellness trend for next year. We even heard from author, Dr Qing Li, and from the president of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine on the benefits of ‘forest bathing’ - taking in the forest atmosphere- which was a term that emerged in the 1980s as an antidote to tech-boom burnout.

Let’s Not Forget 50+...

We mustn’t ignore older generations, urged David Harry Stewart, the CEO of Ageist. They comprise a brand-loyal market that are seeking transformational and exciting adventures to improve themselves. They are big spenders who aren’t necessarily being catered to in the wellness world. We heard a lot about Gen Z and Millennials, but the 50+ market are some of the most powerful and discerning consumers in human history.

Want to hear more? The Global Wellness Summit has launched a podcast series, available now on iTunes and Spotify. Irene’s podcast is coming out on 12th December.