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

Global Wellness Summit – Highlights from Day 1

Having just arrived the afternoon before, I’d had the chance to catch up with just a few of the many delegates and friends attending this year’s Global Wellness Summit (GWS). The first day got started with a beautiful presentation from Louie Schwartzberg, ‘Gratitude Revealed’. Through the visual medium of film Louie perfectly captures the beauty of nature and delivers the message of species under threat. The Monarch butterfly that migrates between Canada and Mexico is down to 20% of its population from just a few years ago, largely due to use of pesticides and Monsanto’s Roundup. The message: we must protect the beauty of nature before it’s too late.

The summit then got underway with messages of welcome from Susie Ellis, our Co-Chairs: Alfredo Carvajal and Gina Diez Barroso, and then our emcee, the beautifully vibrant Giselle Fernandez. Miguel Torruco Marqués, Mexico City Minister of Tourism, also welcomed the group to the city and outlined the focus and initiatives the Mexican government is committed to, to improve the wellness of its people.

The day continued with 6 short keynote speeches, statistics presentations and an afternoon of breakout discussions. Thierry Malleret, Global Strategist and Economist advised that with the direction the health of the population is headed, mandatory wellness will become a reality in the not too distant future. Samer Hamadeh,Founder and CEO of Zeel, revolutionized massage availability with his Uber-like system of massage on demand, highlighting the requirements of the consumer market. Consumers typically want a massage within 3 hours of booking, an impulse buy, often during the evenings when conventional spas may be closed. Claudia Aguirre, PhD and Neuroscientist, explained the deep connection between brain and skin and how the future of skincare could develop by considering the fact that the skin has a brain and can hear and see.

The international audience of delegates from 41 countries was introduced to the indigenous Mexican experience of the Temazcal with an outline and explanation from Diana Mestre and Bonnie Baker, followed by a Mayan blessing and welcome ritual performed by Temazcalera, Fernanda Montiel, of Riviera Maya.

Workplace wellness featured heavily in the agenda today, the main take away for me was the concerning information provided by Joseph Allen, Assistant Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Director of the Health Buildings Program. The air quality of our indoor environment can drastically affect activity level, task orientation and strategy. The upside being that ‘enhanced green’ buildings show improvements on every scale measured.

My last session of the day was attending a casual conversation on ‘Brain Sex’ with Edie Weiner, President and CEO, The Future Hunters. A world-renowned futurist, Edie outlined the proven differences between the female and male brain.This resonated with me later on, at our evening event. When given a question on future global ethics, the women of the group discussed the question at great length (what is ethical, what does it mean to each of us, etc.), while the men of the group only wanted to provide a simple answer and complete the task. The difference is clear; the ‘efficient’ male brain wants to provide quick, straightforward answers but can often miss other criteria that affect the topic and the outcome, while the ‘effective’ female brain offers of 360-degree view and analysis of the task but can sometimes waste time.

Sara Jones