The Magazine for spa and wellness in Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America​

Global Wellness Summit Day Two

My day kicked off with a group breakfast with Global Wellness Day Ambassadors and Key Supporters, a big surprise is coming later today!

Dr. Andrew Weil: How To Really Help People Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

The US does not have a healthcare system, but a disease management system, spending more than almost every other developed nation. Prevention doesn’t pay; wellness doesn’t pay. How can we encourage people to live a more healthy life? If information can be presented in a way that connects with people, they will move in the right direction. To deliver the message, you must embody health and demonstrate health. To improve your habits, spend more time in the company of people who embody these habits. This works for diet, exercise, mental wellness and happiness. Governments need to support these health messages with taxes and subsidies in the right place. Mexico has seen success with its tax on sugary drinks. Fashion is powerful, how can we make wellness fashionable and fun? If we can recruit celebrities to promote a wellness lifestyle this can encourage positive change.

Mary Anne Malleret and Thierry Malleret: 10 Good Reasons to Go for a Walk and Other Wellness Ideas

Walking is good for our bodies, it’s never too late to start and even a little helps. Every step you take is a step towards better health and the benefits that follow. In the absence of mountains, stairs will do! Move from the passive to the active, walking often replaces waiting and has an additional positive effect on our brains and our mental wellness. 40% of all car trips in the US are less than two miles long and could be replaced by walking. Walking encourages better decision-making, creativity and innovation. The more digital the world becomes the more appetite for walking and need for connection grows. Engage your colleagues in walking meetings, rather than sitting in a boardroom.

Wellness tourism worldwide is affected by even incremental changes in emerging markets like China; by 2018 one in ten tourists will be Chinese. The hospitality industry is responding accordingly, however the wellness industry is not yet ready for this change.

Dissonance can be seen between corporate culture and corporate wellness. Companies know wellness is important however working long hours and not taking vacations is still often glorified.

Elissa Epel, PhD: The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer

Aging is about DNA damage. How do we protect the genome? One way is to protect the telomeres; affected by stress and lifestyle these shorten faster with an unhealthy lifestyle.

We inherit the genetic predisposition of our telomere length, but to maintain telomere length over our lifetime, we must live a well life.
• Biological embedding happens during pregnancy; therefore the health of the mother during pregnancy is paramount.
• Habitual pathways. The importance of our mindset and threat vs. positive stress. Mind wandering vs. presence. Damaging vs. restorative behaviors.

Sleep quantity and quality, exercise, diet and connection are all relevant to telomere length. A meditation retreat vs. relaxation week at a resort; there was a dramatic increase in the wellness of both groups on day five. The vacation effect is seen with both groups however telomere length was improved in the group who took part in the meditation retreat. Retreats are shown to be powerful catalysts for change.

Ali Mostashari, PhD: DNA Testing: Understanding Results and Exploring Opportunities

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A storm is coming! The paradigm shift in wellness is imminent. Personal biological data, physiological data, personality data and behavioral science and artificial intelligence are converging to provide relevant information to the individual. The cost of testing has reduced dramatically and is now widely available at a low cost.

The data must be connected in a way that is meaningful, examples include:
• Personalization of nutrition data, nutrition facts are different for each person.
• Diet and weight loss: DNA profile knowledge can have a 33% increase in effectiveness of a weight loss program over one year. An increase of 30% in adherence to recommendations is also seen.
• Skin care: The genetic profile can be used to identify factors such as rate of collagen breakdown etc.
• Personalized employee wellness: wellness options can be adapted based on factors such as sleep quality, energy levels, diet etc. on any specific day.
• Personalized spa programs: DNA + microbiome + wearable devices can assist in creating individual programs. DNA testing with results in 48 hours is coming soon, this can then be used during retreats and spa vacations.

Personalization will take the wellness market by storm!

Roundtable Discussion and Audience Q&A Future Focus: The Next Frontier in Spas, Hospitality and Travel with Sallie Fraenkel

Gustavo Albanesi, Founder, Buddha Spa, Brazil
Roberto Arjona, Chief Executive & General Manager, Rancho La Puerta, U.S.
Sandra Ballentine, Beauty & Health Editor-at-Large, Conde Nast/W Magazine, U.S.
Nils Behrens, Chief Marketing Officer, Lanserhof Group, Germany
Anne Dimon, CEO & Editor, Travel to Wellness, Canada
Annbeth Eschbach, President & CEO, Exhale Enterprises, Inc., U.S.
Sharon Kolkka, GM & Wellness Director, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Australia
CK (Chee Kwong) Low, Managing Director, Skin Essentials (M) Sdn Bhd, Malaysia
Robin Mauras-Cartier, Regional Director, Spa & Wellness, The Set Hotels, UK
Diana F. Mestre, Director & Owner, Mestre & Mestre, Spa & Wellness Consulting, Mexico

What big disruptions are you seeing in the industry?

Todd – Massage centers and wax centers etc. Technology and companies like Zeel, on demand massage.
Gustavo – Massage on demand and therapists on demand, i.e. not on payroll.
CK – We are the disruptors! In 2006/7 moved day spas from malls to own properties. Combined day spa with healthy restaurants.
Nichola – building on recognition for personalization of wellness retreat and treatments. Facing red tape with licenses and sourcing local quality personal – i.e. needing a doctor for herbal medicine.
Sharon – reconnecting people back to themselves, holistic emotional wellbeing included in the delivery of spa treatments. Promoting the therapists rather than the treatment styles. Recruiting staff with a passion for healing. Beauty industry is impacting their ability to function, the influence of Asian run spas at a low price point now widely available. Would function better with a well run spa association.
Roberto – The future is rewinding rather than moving forward. The philosophy at the origins of Rancho La Puerta must be combined with the new technologies now available.
Karina – The tourism coming to Thailand is largely Asian. Immersive deep experiences are the key to success at Kamalaya along with the sustainability of the wellness programs for guests once they leave. Political disruptions affect the business at times.
Robin –The challenge is the plethora of offers available and the technology providing information, allowing everyone to believe they are an expert. Establishing a quality, trusted brand is their focus.
Diana – Luxury all-inclusive resorts show trends such as dollar value of spa included in stay. More people now taking spa services and even multiple spa services, from a market of guests that would not have in previous years. Wellness suites now offered at a premium creating a wellness lifestyle during the guests stay.
Anne –propose a question: The rise of the wellness retreat hosted by influencers is affecting destination spas. Travel agents are asking why they are bypassed as guests book directly with an influencer for a retreat. This will continue to be a disrupter.
Nils – Work-life balance is a myth. It is hard to find an employee who gives everything to their profession, more and more people want part-time hours to work around their other lifestyle priorities. Many sports teams are now visiting spas to focus on wellness lifestyle.
Sandra – beyond cream and steam! Spas must deliver more. An authentic experience is demanded by today’s market. Inspiration, customization, connection and transformation are key. Sandra likes to cry! An experience should have a profound effect.

Comment from Andrew Gibson – hospitality is changing the way we design and build hotels, changing the way we deliver spas and spa services. Wellness is the disruptor.

Sammy Gharieni – Nobody wants the average anymore, spas must be innovative and different. How can we wow the new market of millennials?

Nils responds: With a range of medical practitioners and cutting-edge research they are able to deliver results to football teams. Instead of a focus on detox, they move towards physical therapy. The variety is key to a wider approach.
Todd – the relationships that people develop with their service providers is more important than the relationship to the resort. It keeps the guest coming back. Take care of the staff to keep the guests coming back.

Collaboration Jam! Spotlight on Sponsors

Don’t Forget about the Fun! John Cohlan, CEO, Margaritaville Holdings LLC, U.S.

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What about the fun? Wellness is great but Latitude Margaritaville now offers a place to live incorporating wellness and fun. The shared love of ‘paradise’, the beach and palm trees creates a bond within the community, in turn, creating an engaged society. Baby boomers like the idea of living in a place with their contemporaries, they are not necessarily prioritizing being close to their family and grandchildren.

The Critical Key to Harnessing the Science of Human Performance: Jack Groppel, PhD, Co-Founder, Johnson & Johnson, Human Performance Institute, U.S.

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Most senior executives in corporations around the world are not taking vacations. If they do, it’s for their families and they continue working. Time, energy, actions and values are becoming compromised. Getting home tired, stressed and exhausted and ‘needing a drink’ affects wellness, sleep affects wellness and medication does not improve this. We are now accessible 24/7 and no one has taught us about taking breaks, vacations and time away from work.

When demand exceeds capacity symptoms of exhaustion set in. We face brutal accountability, intense pressure, ever-rising targets, we’re pushed to do more with less and we are overscheduled. People work harder and longer, we improve training and tech and we compete more intensely. Human beings are multi-functional, fully integrated energy systems. If you lack energy it doesn’t matter how intelligent and capable you are.

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Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Bitcoin and Blockchain for Wellness: Fad or Future? Maggie Hsu, Adviser, Zappos.com, U.S.


Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency generated by mining. Blockchain is a distributed immutable ledger. Via Airswap, blockchain will organize the world’s assets. Sample cases include, hotel room inventory, creative IP, Diamond tracking, medical records, organizational structure and labor organization and collectible item authentication. Watch out regulation, security and adoption, as these elements are very new.

WHAT IF – Imagining the Unimaginable Impact of Technology on Your Business: Paul Price, Group CEO, CoCreativ, U.S.


The technology trap is created when the rate of change is different to what we think. Technology is changing at an extremely fast rate.
Play #1: You’re in the behavior business (not the wellness business). Shopping, sharing
Play #2: Make wellness a ritual
Play #3: Be Omnichannel. Do you have every digital platform working on your behalf?
Play #4: Mobile everything: phones, tablets, wearables etc. Mobile purchases are rising.
Play #5: Be Visual. Video and images are of paramount importance, engage and be relevant.
Play #6: Nail Search. Drive search to your site via keywords and monitor their performance.
Play #7: Imagine the unimaginable. Virtual reality can transport you. Who will be the first to launch a VR wellness experience? Augmented reality includes filters, makeup applications on screen. Voice print identity is increasing because the voice is the most natural human interface.
Play #8: Every company is a technology company.
Play #9: The digital paradox. Better, faster, cheaper all the time.
Play #10: What is your customer’s journey?

Beyond the Bangles: Ritual, Wellness and Letting Go Jessica Jesse, CEO & Creative Director, BuDhaGirl LLC, U.S.


Being present and using intention in daily ritual is the founding philosophy of BuDhaGirl bangles. Rituals make us who we are, they give us strength and insight and remind us of the impermanence of our situations. The importance of being present and remembering that ‘this too shall pass’ can influence our state of mind.Turn your routines into rituals.

Living to 160: Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer, Cleveland Clinic, U.S.


Aging is an international concern. Be half as old as you are – that is where we are heading, imagine at 90 having the physiology of a 45-year-old. Healthcare needs to be fixed if social disruption is to be avoided. Aging is the driving force in chronic disease, so make your ‘RealAge’ younger! The US must get healthy. The alternative is not sustainable. Just simple behaviors cause change; eating a healthy diet, not smoking, 30 minutes of activity daily, stress management. The US should pay people to get healthy; it still makes financial sense.

Reduce your ‘RealAge’


Global Wellness Day 2017 & 2018
Wellness for Everyone. Emphasizing Happiness, Kids and Love
Belgin Aksoy Berkin, Creative Director, Richmond International & Founder, Global Wellness Day, Turkey


Sara Jones
Author: Sara Jones

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