1. Wellness + Gathering:
Wellness Comes for the Loneliness Epidemic
By Beth McGroarty
Loneliness is still skyrocketing, and the number one predictor of health and happiness is relationships. The biggest wellness trend is the development of new spaces and experiences that bring people together in real life, creatively and with intention, where social connection is the burning center of the concept. Social wellness clubs will surge, group bonding comes first and wellness experiences serve as social icebreakers.
While working remotely, people need everyday places to be and belong. Younger generations are ditching booze and bars and seeking healthier social spaces. New social apps and platforms are creating dinner parties for strangers or bonding apartment dwellers with each other. More governments are fighting loneliness with new policies.
2. Wellness + Travel:
From Global Smorgasbord to Hyper-Indigenous
By Elaine Glusac
With a greater emphasis on authenticity, travelers are now seeking deeper cultural experiences and getting to the source of ancient healing and knowledge. Indigenous travel and cultural wellness is the travel trend for 2023, with inclusive, sustainable and regenerative experiences, including indigenous wellness practices, from purification ceremonies to food and nutrition.
India, the birthplace of yoga, looks to bring devotees back to the source. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the government of India announced a $250-million center for traditional medicine will be built in Jamnagar for the study and advancement of ancient practices such as acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine and herbal treatments, alongside modern medicine. The WHO estimates 80% of the world’s population uses traditional medicine.
3. Wellness + Workplace:
Workplace Wellness Starts to Mean Something
By Skyler Hubler and Cecelia Girr
Unfair pay, discrimination, and workplace harassment highlight how broken our systems are. Ultimately, a company’s version of ‘wellness’ has always been different from that of its workers. Overwork is rising with 70% of knowledge workers worldwide having experienced burnout in the last year. Remote work is here to stay, which is intensifying the work-life blur.
Labor shortages are shifting the power balance, so employers must work to attract talent. Wellness and mental health initiatives are among the top requirements for Gen Z, who will account for 30% of the workforce by 2030. A growing number of companies (Tesla, Exxon, Shein, etc.) are coming under fire as employees speak out against toxic workplaces.
Some employers are now working to improve vacation policies and gender-specific benefits, leaving behind superficial ‘solutions’ as workers unsubscribe to the ‘work to live’ mentality. New structures replace the work-life blur with boundaries with many European countries seeing success with a 4-day work week.
4. Wellness + Beauty:
From “Clean” to Biotech Beauty
By Jessica Smith
In beauty, there is a shift towards science-based products and solutions with consumer awareness of ingredients, effectiveness, and the impact of beauty products on wellbeing. Ingredient formulations now include pharmaceutical-grade substances, such as hypochlorous acid, a molecule found in white blood cells that activates the immune system’s ability to heal itself, improving the skin’s moisture barrier when applied topically.
By the 2030s, biome-kind beauty will end the ‘natural versus science’ debate, as created, skin-natural ingredients are shown to be more natural to the skin than nature-derived ingredients. Research in topical probiotics suggests that beauty products may have the potential to be used in conjunction with traditional medicine.
At the Babraham Institute, researchers restored the skin cells of a 53-year-old woman to match the profile of a 30-year-old. Jasmina Aganovic, CEO of Arcaea, is exploring how proteins can alter the shape of hair, imagine shampoos that create waves, curls or straight hair, and sunscreens that can make skin more resistant to UVA and UVB rays.
The demand for planetary-conscious beauty products is rising; according to Shopify, 63% of consumers are more likely to recommend a product if they believe it is less harmful to the environment.
5. Wellness + Cities:
Urban Infrastructure Just Might Save Cities
By Robbie Hammond and Omar Toro-Vaca
Cities across the globe are at an inflection point; widespread decline in people’s health and the overall decrease in healthcare quality have exacerbated an economic crisis that is most sharply seen in cities. However, some cities and businesses have discovered a solution: building wellness into their infrastructure to address social, mental, and physical health. The American Planning Association now advocates encompassing wellness principles like community, belonging and resilience.
Successful economies are reorienting toward urban wellness infrastructure, building a more resilient and more vibrant vision of what a city can be. Healthy communities make prosperous cities and research shows the strong relationship between the health of a population and the strength of the economy.
A new vision of wellness spills out of the spa and into the streets. If a wellness center cannot be reached by public transit, is it really accessible? If parks and public spaces are made unsafe by crime, do they serve a wellness purpose? Smart commercial real estate developers know that wellness is good business for any enterprise serving the public, from shopping centers to hotels to museums.
The High Line’s creators formed the High Line Network, which has helped fuel more than 60 adaptive reuse projects across the Americas, including La Mexicana Park in Mexico City.
6. Wellness + Weight:
Brown Fat and Eliminating Obesity
By Michael Roizen, MD
The ultimate health question is, “How can we live longer without experiencing symptoms of ‘old age’?” Brown fat is being explored as a path to increased longevity and youthfulness. In 1998 we predicted that 60 could be the new 40; you can slow your rate of aging more than 20 years by age 75 with lifestyle decisions (nutrition, fitness, sleep, stress management, and more). In 2030, longevity potential increases exponentially: 90 will be the new 40.
The transformation of white/yellow fat into beige/brown fat has the potential to eliminate one of the greatest agers: obesity. Induced tissue reprogramming includes activating brown fat from white fat.
Because much of the world now consumes inexpensive high-calorie foods, we have unprecedented obesity. If we have more brown fat, we can burn off the damaging white fat.
Cold Therapy: Brown adipose tissue can be recruited, expanded, and activated to raise body temperature by exposure to cold. Just 11 minutes per week (in different sessions) of water exposure below 60°F (15°C) activates thermogenesis. Allowing the body to warm naturally is preferable to a sauna or hot water.
Fasting: Sublethal starvation activates metabolic pathways that enable genetic maintenance and repair. Fasting increases brown fat and thermogenesis via longer extended fasting or a fasting mimicking diet (windows of calorie restriction).
Food Ingredients: A range of ingredients and supplements improve thermogenesis and assist in weight loss. Many have effects that may be due to their ability to convert white fat to brown, including capsaicin, creatine, cinnamon, and trehalose.
7. Wellness + Governments:
The Case for Coming Together
By Thierry Malleret
The GWI, in its recent report, makes a compelling case in favor of wellness policies, which have been years in the making. They will now evolve, multiply and strengthen – a defining trend of 2023 and beyond.
Two fundamental reasons make this inevitable: unwellness shrinks the size of the labor force while at the same time causing declining productivity, and wellness saves public money because prevention is less expensive than cure.
8. Wellness + Water:
Blue, Hot and Wild
By Jane Kitchen
We’re now watching several trends come together under the umbrella of soaking, dipping or swimming in natural water as a growing body of evidence around ‘blue wellness’, the way that water benefits our wellbeing, has emerged. An explosion of interest in wild swimming and cold water swimming follows publicity of the benefits of cold water immersion – a natural remedy for anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Open water swimming and winter ocean, or lake, dipping is now an activity that appeals to a range of ages and abilities, as people desire social connection and connection with nature; search for natural remedies for mental and physical ailments and pursue authentic, local experiences. In hospitality, some innovative resorts offer guided swims in local waterfalls, lakes or rivers. In cross-country swimming, where hiking and swimming are combined, and lakes, rivers or estuaries are considered not an obstacle, but a part of the challenge.
On the other end of the temperature spectrum, owners and developers of hot springs are combining entertainment and cultural activities with soaking – a social, natural, and quite often, affordable activity. GWI researchers predict annual growth rates of 18% for thermal and mineral springs through 2025.
9. Wellness + Sports:
New Business Models for Hospitality
By Lisa Starr
Savvy brands are responding to today’s wellness focused consumer by creating spaces and options ensuring that wellness, fitness and recovery services can be maintained along with business meetings and networking.
Social media grants us access to the lives and routines of elite athletes and feeds our fascination with their abilities. Given the public preoccupation with sports, the habits of the ‘celebrity athlete’ influence how consumers want to live their lives, maintaining their routines when traveling. Using sports as a lens through which to attract and connect with consumers is a timely business strategy as emotional connections to sports have become a unifier that transcends boundaries, languages, age and cultural differences.
10. Wellness + Senses:
By Ari Peralta
Multisensory design seeks to create and bring harmony to our brain by lining up the right blend of sensory cues that we find beautiful and comfortable. After all, nature is multisensory and provides us with infinite combinations of sensory stimuli that help us regenerate.
Cues such as light, scent, temperature and sound have been proven to add more meaning, context, purpose and function to wellness experiences. Advances in neuroscience and neuroaesthetics expand our understanding of how the senses work. The senses talk, influence and compete with one another, like a biological language of sorts that all humans already speak.
In the field of design, our perception of space is carried out through the five senses, not just sight. Today, many designers have begun to explore the different sensitive dimensions of objects, which allow them to go further than visual aesthetics and focus on improving wellbeing.
We subconsciously associate many wellness activities with one sense or another; spa is touch, wellness music is sound, chromotherapy is color, healthy food is taste and thermal is temperature. Wellness brands are now evolving their approach by combining sensory input to deepen and amplify felt experiences.
11. Wellness + Biohacking:
The Wild, Wild West of Biohacking
By Marc Cohen, MD
Emerging in both the wellness and medical arenas, biohacking must be explored so we can collectively find, and understand, the best way forward. Biohackers look to break into our biological operating system and expand physical, mental and cognitive performance, as well as human lifespan beyond current limits.
Biohacking can include using technology to monitor and track health metrics, manipulate sensory inputs, use biochemistry to alter the body’s functions or modify biology through genetic engineering or implants.
Our ancestors were masterful biohackers. They learned that fasting, isolation, silent meditation and certain plants could produce altered states, and augment human performance. Early humans also manipulated their body temperature in settings like sweat lodges and cold plunges, they used chanting, drumming, music and dance to induce trance states and control consciousness, and developed yoga and martial arts practices that gave them extraordinary powers.
AI can now perceive and do what humans can’t; it is likely AI will soon exceed skilled humans in diagnostics and clinical care, replacing radiologists and pathologists. The global AI healthcare market is expected to reach more than $208 billion in 2030. Plus, smartphone apps and medical voice assistants have the potential to make expert medical care available to everyone at very little cost.
Smart wearable devices are closing the loop between information acquisition and practical interventions so that fitness trackers can personalize your Peloton, Technogym or other ‘smart gym’ equipment, while EEG signals can control neurofeedback devices.
Soon AI-assisted real-time biofeedback will be used to control temperature, pressure, color, sound, smell and electromagnetic stimulation and create storylines and augmented reality games that take us on personalized healing journeys.
Biohacks involving water are flourishing. The subtle properties of water have been exposed by a series of water pioneers investigating the ‘Forth Phase of Water’ and demonstrating the secret ‘intelligence’ of water.
Understanding the importance and complexity of the microbiome has led to a renaissance in the use of fermented products such as kombucha to hack our inner ecology and literally infect ourselves with good health. Supporting skin microbial health, kombucha-based skin care is a fast-growing segment that offers living products for oral, skin and intimate care.
While CRISPR technology hacks the genetic code and reprograms cellular hardware, non-neural bioelectricity controls how groups of cells behave. Researchers have recently converged molecular biology, AI and supercomputers to hack biological control processes and reprogram living cells to create ‘xenobots’, which are ‘computer-designed organisms’, or ‘living robots’.
12. Wellness + Faith:
Having Faith in Business
By Brian Grim
While diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have focused on race, gender, sexual orientation, poverty and marginalized populations, one aspect that’s been largely left out of the conversation is now making a case for good business practice and workplace wellness: faith.
Recent research studies are showing that when work makes room for employees to express and practice religious identity and faith, it measurably contributes to recruitment, retention and revenue. Some corporations incorporate faith-friendly initiatives, from providing food choices to observing different religious holidays and accommodating prayer times and rooms.