The Future of Wellness 2021

Hollywood and the Entertainment Industries Jump into Wellness


Wellness will become a bigger, more meaningful programming focus as Big Media digests the huge cultural force wellness has become and offers it to all. Smart TVs offer wellness 'channels' on their home screens while wellness companies become TV studios: meditation-apps, Calm and Headspace, recently scored TV shows, translating their meditative experiences into immersive television. Celebrities are all over wellness, not just as spokespeople but as company founders and major investors.

Music is for stress, sleep, focus, a better workout or just ambient bliss, and is now considered 'music-as-therapy.' Meditation apps are wellness music 'record labels'. Generative music technology will consider your biometric info to provide you with ‘sound-as-precision-medicine’.


The future: more collaborations between Big Media and the wellness world. A trend that could impact billions of lives!


GWS2021 Trend2 Immunity

The Future of Immune Health: Stop Boosting, Start Balancing


Immune health will remain a consumer obsession post-vaccine but in 2020, people were blitzed with ‘immune-boosting’ supplements, foods and therapies, precisely the wrong approach. We will see more evidence-backed approaches to immune health, with metabolic health, the microbiome, personalized nutrition, and experimentation with everything from 'positive stress' to intermittent fasting for immune resilience. Immunity programs at travel destinations will go deeper than 'immune-boosting' menus and IV drips.


People will keep gobbling trendy quick-fixes, but they’re ready for more. A wellness industry newly focused on the hard - and fast-evolving - immune science could extend and save many lives. And help its own reputation along the way.


The future: approaches that lead to immuno-stabilization and immuno-balance.



"Ritz-Carlton properties offer a variety of wellness programs, sound therapy retreats, healthy menus, and use of organic products that help our guests to improve their well-being and strengthen their immune system. Spa Alkemia at Zadun, Ritz-Carlton Los Cabos, blends ancestral and modern techniques to cleanse the body and clear the mind. The Savasana Sound Room offers guests a space for recovery, where sound and vibration create a deep state of meditation, bringing the body back into harmony. At Ritz-Carlton, we have seasonal wellness retreats and a bento box menu based on the four elements to reinforce immunity and wellbeing."


Viorica Coman, Corporate Spa Director at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company




GWS2021 Trend3 Architecture

Spiritual and Numinous Moments in Architecture


Architecture is a powerful influence on our wellbeing as it impacts all of our senses while making up 90% of our surroundings. Studies have shown how the built environment impacts our physical wellbeing: hormone production, inflammation, gut and respiratory health, stress level, immunity, cognitive performance, social interactions, emotional wellbeing, etc.


This trend sees architecture's departure from a visually ostentatious fad to a must-be-experienced effect that is subtle, yet potent, in its ability to touch our soul. We are not separate from our buildings; our buildings influence us, nudge our behavior and practices, impact our mood, and inhibit or enhance our capacity to tap into our own spirituality.


The Future: Wellness architecture has taken off, heavily focused on functional design, whether circadian lighting or air purification, and now, after last year’s great reset, architecture is elevating its game in all areas, especially its role in nurturing our spiritual wellbeing.





"AM Resorts is developing new projects with signature spas in partnership with skilled designers, seeking to provide an enhanced environment for our guests, focusing on personalization within the spas in addition to wellness suites in our resorts. We are at a moment in the wellness industry where the interaction within our environments and construction that connects us with nature has become paramount, we need to exalt the senses and reconnect with our origins."


Patricia Navaro, Corporate Spa, AM Resorts





GWS2021 Trend4 Justbreathe

Just Breathe!


Breath is a powerful health tool. The way we breathe has profound effects on mental and physical health. Practitioners are bringing breathwork to ever-larger audiences and expanding to new territories, including rehabilitation, fitness, community building, and relief from chronic stress, trauma and PTSD. “A lot of people ignored breathwork because it’s so simple and free,” says James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. “But there is so much research, and so many people are discovering for themselves how transformative it is.”


Wim Hof, a Dutch extreme athlete, adventurer and researcher known for his ability to strengthen his immune system using breath, mindset and cold therapy, says, “The breath is able to effectively bring anxiety down, as well as fight acute stress, including bacterial and virus stress and inflammation." Leading expert in breathing behavior analysis, Dr. Peter Litchfield researches the causes of dysfunctional breathing and its solutions. Combining behavioral sciences with respiratory physiology helping people identify breathing habits and replace dysfunctional ones with adaptive, self-sustaining ones. Estonian native Johann Urb created the Pyramid Breath Method, combining sound-release therapy, movement and visualization.


The Future: Breathwork parties and festivals are rising and the beauty of breathwork is that it’s something everyone can access: it costs absolutely nothing.



"Moon Palace Jamaica will incorporate breathwork in our guest journey; Pause, Breathe, Repair… an intuitive journey to health. We lead our guests through conscious breathing exercises while experiencing our hydrotherapy circuit.


The Sauna will include 4-4-4 gentle breathing: inhale, hold, exhale, for 10-20 minutes. In the Ice Room we suggest repetitive deep intentional breathing for 3-5mins. While enjoying the steam room, belly breathing exercises with counts of 4-7-8 are recommended."


Francine Gordon, Spa Manager, Moon Palace Jamaica





The Self-Care Renaissance


Over three hundred years after the first medical renaissance, when science began to dominate superstition, two complementary yet often competing entities, healthcare and wellness, converge in a new renaissance bringing enlightenment. Healthcare and wellness look to learn from one another as wellness learns to lean into science, establish standards, and hold itself accountable and healthcare transforms into a more holistic, lifestyle-oriented, industry. Hospitals will take inspiration from resorts, yoga studios might measure improved telomere length, and prescriptions may be coupled with personalized guides to optimal health.


The future: healthcare and wellness converge, a yin yang approach where two seemingly opposing forces finally discover that they can, and must, work together. As Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier puts it, “Medicine is realizing that its roots have come from wellness traditions, and the wellness community is recognizing that not all doctors are evil.”




"Karisma Hotels & Resorts has created the Simply Wellness program. Constructed within the pillars of wellbeing are healthy and fun options that form part of the guests' activities during their stay. As a result they can adopt them into their daily life."


Grecia López, Corporate Director of Rooms & Spa Operations, Karisma Hotels & Resorts






GWS2021 Trend6 Addingcolortowellness

Adding Color to Wellness


To generate substantive change, the wellness industry must recognize and address the false narrative that wellness is for affluent white people. The industry must value consumers and wellness professionals of all backgrounds and understand the different ways that people of color actually experience wellness offerings and spaces. Companies that truly value wellness for all racial groups and income levels will thrive as they expand their consumer markets and increase business innovation and profitability. Wellness enterprises that value diversity, respect all ethnic groups’ wellness needs, and work to support more equitable access, represent the future of wellness.


Editor's note: as an industry and region that is largely catering to North American clientele (in addition to domestic and Latin American clientele), spas, retreats and wellness resorts across our region of Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America must ensure they are effectively communicating and serving all demographics of the market.



GWS2021 Trend7 ResettingEvents

Resetting Events with Wellness


In 2020, many activities and in-person events came to an abrupt halt. It was no longer safe to gather, and no matter the power of technology and the gratitude we all felt for our Wi-Fi, we hungered for personal interactions. The economic impact of these event cancellations has been estimated at $22 billion, the pandemic paradigm shifted everything. Several conflicting issues converged in the world of meetings and events: a pent-up desire to travel; the still-spreading coronavirus; the uptick in virtual technologies; coupled with the unending human desire and need for connection. While gatherings were cancelled, the strong evolutionary drive to be social was evident.


The silver lining: A new trend that will forever change meetings and events was born, with wellness at the core. Hybrid events (in-person and virtual) sprouted as technology companies raced to be the hosting platform. Within months of the pandemic shutting down in-person gatherings, a new world was emerging, reinforcing topics like health, safety and immunity and new protocols and technologies to mitigate risk. In 2021 and beyond, creativity is driving connection, and how we gather is taking on new, and healthier, meanings!




"With much of our group engagement shifting to virtual, Hilton is working to create unique experiences for our guests from a digital wellness perspective. This includes purely virtual activities such as streaming meditation content or mindfulness talks to key guests. It also includes hybrid experiences such as digital fitness classes that can be projected in a hotel’s physically distanced studio space, while at the same time being streamed to others in their guestrooms."


Jessica Shea, Senior Director Spa & Fitness Operations, Americas, Hilton Resorts






 GWS2021 Trend8 Moneyoutloud

Money Out Loud


Transparency is trending in 2021 as a culture craving authenticity is now breaking the money taboo, transforming finance from a hush-hush topic to one that’s more human, empathetic and even fun. Financial therapists are tackling the intersection between money and mental health. Financial literacy courses simplify complicated finance jargon and the three billion views of #personalfinance content on TikTok prove that finance influencers are officially a thing.


This openness is driven by a larger mental health awakening, uncovering heavier pressures that are contributing to an unhealthy society. Wellness is already sparking crucial conversations around therapy, sex and death. So, as the number one source of stress globally, it’s about time money is put under the microscope.



"Marriott International Spa Division is developing a platform where spa and wellness isn’t only seen as a pampering experience for the wealthy, but a necessity to live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Developing 2- and 3-day wellness and happiness retreats, where we partner with some of the world's most renowned wellness experts to educate and build individual life wellness plans, not only while visiting the spa, but continuing the plan once leaving. We see this trend continuing as money becomes a popular discussion."


Suzanne Holbrook, Senior Corporate Director, Spa Operations, Marriott International





GWS2021 Trend9 Travel

2021: The Year of the Travel Reset


The pandemic put the brakes on travel in 2020 and while some people eventually learned how to continue to travel safely, most stayed home. Travel operators fought, and continue to fight, for their livelihoods, but consumers and suppliers both had to think about rebooting travel for the better, becoming more conscious of where the money goes, how communities benefit or don’t, and how to use the power of tourism (which accounted for more than 10% of the world economy pre-pandemic) to sustain cultures and environments.


Will 2021 see all travel becoming wellness travel? Health assessments, including pre-arrival COVID-19 tests, are becoming precursors to travel. Vaccine passports, recording of virus tests and vaccinations, are already in development. From the manic travel of 2019, which saw record-setting growth, 2021 will see a travel reset: slower, nearer and more mindful, mirroring the vaccination rollout, which has prompted optimism as well as tentativeness.


The future: regenerative travel, challenging overtourism, correcting undertourism, tentative travel, embracing nature, and putting purpose first.



"Our guests crave enriching experiences with deeper significance. This inspired the ‘Journey to Resilience’, identifying four pillars of human development: physical, emotional, mindfulness, and relationships. Each Rosewood property offers a wellness journey to enhance recovery and adaptability. We hear guests describe their experience as insightful as they resonate with the continued benefits from the treatments.


Community connection is also essential, we invite guests to visit Kin Beh, a school supported by Mayakoba, where they can connect to a purpose beyond themselves."


Emmanuel Arroyo, Regional Director Spa & Wellness, Rosewood Hotels




www.globalwellnesssummit.com / www.globalwellnessinstitute.org