Global Wellness Trends 2023 Summaries
People have spent three years prognosticating about how the long, thoughtful pause forced by the pandemic would transform the very idea of wellness, and the Wellness Trends 2023 reported by the Global Wellness Summit shows that big changes are here. People are now more reflective, they seek more science, they’re less selfish (more concerned about each other and the planet) and want solutions that are not only meaningful, but also work.
1. Wellness + Gathering: The Loneliness Epidemic
We know loneliness is skyrocketing; that it kills; that the #1 predictor of health and happiness is relationships. But somehow, the recent uber-capitalist wellness market has led with two things: a sea of keep-them-spending me time products and digital wellness—both lonely journeys of self-care. The pandemic has proven to be the breaking point: the biggest wellness trend is new spaces and experiences that—intentionally and creatively—bring people together in real life, where social connection is the burning centre of the concept.
2. Wellness + Travel: From Global Smorgasbord
Wellness and wellness tourism have long resembled Disney’s “It’s a Small World,” buffets of global experiences typically divorced from place. Yoga, born in India, is ubiquitous worldwide; ayahuasca retreats have departed their Amazonian homelands; you can get a Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage in Dubai. But with a new critique of wellness as a profound cultural appropriator, a rising social justice movement, and greater emphasis on authenticity, travellers are now seeking much deeper cultural experiences and showing interest in going to the source of ancient healing and knowledge about how to care for the land and for themselves. Indigenous travel and going-to-the-cultural-source for wellness is our travel trend for 2023.
3. Wellness + Workplace: Workplace Wellness Finally Starts to Mean Something
From protected time off to finally acknowledging women’s health needs, employee wellness is getting a much-needed rethink. Employers have been casually tossing around the word “wellness” since the 1980s. But four decades later, we have little to show for it. Worldwide, 70% of knowledge workers have experienced burnout in the past year, and a recent global study found that 38% of workers hate their jobs so much that they wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemy. Clearly, all those workplace wellness initiatives haven’t been working for us. But with the pandemic dramatically accelerating shifts in work models and the mental health crisis—and employees newly empowered—things are changing for the better. In this trend, we explore how superficial wellness at work schemes are being replaced with more meaningful solutions.
4. Wellness + Beauty: From Clean to Biotech Beauty
As the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, one thing has become clear: science is king. In the world of beauty, the shift towards data-backed products has never been more evident. We’re seeing an about face from the conversation around clean beauty (with all its muddy claims) to a desire for lab-tested, science-backed and even lab-created products. In this trend, we look at the evolution from the greenwashing and false claims to today’s new—and welcomed—medical, bio-positive and tech-forward product development, and explore what the future might hold.
5. Wellness + Cities: Urban Infrastructure Just Might Save Cities
The role of the city has been reimagined countless times over the centuries (they’ve been trading posts, political and artistic centres, and recently, concrete jungles of retail and offices). But the pandemic served as a wake-up call on just how unwell our cities are, sparking a new recognition of the inextricable relationship between the health of the cities and the health of city dwellers. Global cities are now at another historical inflection point where they are rebuilding themselves around the wellness needs of their citizens. “Urban wellness infrastructure” is no longer perceived as a luxury—it’s a necessity. This trend examines diverse, creative ways that an urban wellness infrastructure—the melding of capital improvements and business opportunities that holistically address social, mental, and physical health—is being embraced all around the world as a solution for accelerating growth, fuelling post-pandemic recovery, and cultivating healthier, happier citizens.
6. Wellness + Weight: The Skinny on Brown Fat
and Eliminating Obesity
Harnessing the ability to live longer and younger is among the biggest trends in medicine and wellness today. Michael Roizen, MD, believes a crucial factor in the longevity quest is recognising that not all fat is created equal, and transforming white/yellow fat into beige/brown fat has the potential to move the needle on one of the greatest health crises—obesity. The reason? Brown fat has increased mitochondrial density and burns lots of calories, while white fat is metabolically inefficient and doesn’t use much energy. Yes, moving white fat to brown powers weight loss, but obesity is a serious disease, a key factor in heart disease, cancers, dementia and more.
7. Wellness + Governments: The Case for Coming Together
Wellness policies have been years in the making, but in 2023 and beyond, they will evolve, multiply and strengthen. Governments *know* the crippling economic and societal costs that come when people don’t feel mentally and physically well. They know that unwellness shrinks the labor force while simultaneously hurting productivity—the worst possible combo for long-term economic growth. They know that preventative wellness saves public money because it always costs less than cure.
8. Wellness + Water: Blue, Hot, and Wild
The pandemic spurred a hunger for in-nature experiences that shows no signs of abating. But when we talk about the nature surge, we usually remain on terra firma. In 2023, people will jump into the world’s wild waters for some blue wellness—from an unprecedented global surge in new-look hot springs destinations to wild and cross-country swimming going global.
9. Wellness + Sports: New Business Models for Hospitality
Savvy hospitality brands are responding to demands from wellness-focused clients looking beyond the basement gym, in search of pro-athlete-level equipment, fitness classes and wellness programming, whenever and wherever they travel. Some hotel brands are even creating facilities that cater to entire amateur or professional sports teams, expanding the function of the hotel and ensuring professional quality for the rest of us. We predict businesses that support this trend will become the go-to brands for future generations.
10. Wellness + Senses: Multisensory Integration
Advances in neuroscience and neuroaesthetics confirm that, when combined, the senses elevate our human experience. Nature is multisensory and it turns out, so are we. The senses have always been present in wellness. In fact, we subconsciously associate many wellness activities with one sense or another… spa is touch, wellness music is sound, chromotherapy is colour, healthy food is taste and thermal is temperature. This siloed approach is quickly changing in remarkable ways. Now brands are accessing multiple senses simultaneously to better support wellbeing outcomes, amplify wellness experience and influence behavioural change—think using multiple sensory cues, in a harmonious way to deepen meditation.
11. Wellness + Biohacking: The Wild, Wild West of Biohacking
Biohacking is the attempt to control biology and defy disease, decay and death so we can become superhuman. The idea is not new: our ancestors were masterful biohackers and developed low-tech hacks such as fasting, isolation, chanting, yoga, martial arts, body temperature manipulations, and traditional medicines to increase their health and wellbeing. However, there is a new trend in biohacking featuring technology that is staggering. Super-technologies such as AI, brain-computer interfaces, sensorless-sensing, CRISPR, xenobotics, nanobotics, probiotics, morphoceuticals, 3D-tissue-printing, cloud-computing and blockchain technologies allow us to manipulate molecules, modify genes, manage microbes, create living robots, regenerate body parts, seamlessly monitor and track health metrics, and manipulate our sensory inputs
12. Wellness + Faith: Having Faith in Business
It’s not surprising that the pandemic led to a resurgence of faith. What is surprising is that the corporate world is embracing it. While diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in workplaces have focused on race, gender, sexual orientation and marginalised populations, one aspect that’s been strikingly left out of the conversation is now emerging: faith. As global workplaces become radically reshaped to address inclusivity, purpose and employee wellbeing, more companies are now tapping into the full identity of their employees by including religion as a full-fledged part of their DEI commitments—encouraging employees to form official (company-sponsored) groups around their faith, just as companies encourage women, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ groups to do
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