Circadian health, wellness music and cool aging are some of the key wellbeing trends of 2020 according to the Global Wellness Summit (GWS). The annual conference featuring international wellness industry leaders has released its list of wellness trends that it believes will have the most meaningful impact on the 4.5 trillion global wellness industry this year.
These trends emerged from the insights of the 550 experts from 50 nations that gathered at the recent Summit, including top economists, doctors, academics, technologists and the CEOs of international corporations across all fields of wellness.
The trends are: true circadian health; mental wellness and technology; ageing rebranded; music wellness; the wellness sabbatical; J-wellness (i.e. Japan’s unique wellness culture); energy medicine gets serious; organised religion jumps into wellness; the fertility boom; and in wellness we trust: the science behind the industry.
1. Circadian Health
Consumers and the wellness industry alike are focusing less on solutions targeting sleep and fatigue and more on circadian health optimization, not only to promote sleep but to boost the brain and body systems controlled by the circadian clock—the body’s internal way to determine day from night.
Japan is the longevity nation, containing more centenarians per capita than any country on earth. All eyes will be on Japan this summer as they host the Olympics, which will spur a fascination with J-Wellness, an ever-evolving culture of ancient-meets-hyper-modern approaches, products, and solutions for wellbeing.
3. Mental Wellness and Technology
Awareness of the need to address mental health has grown significantly in the last few years. Mental health tech will move into the mainstream as cultural norms continue to shift. Industry analysts predict the next year will see a big spike in the adoption of telehealth, both in the mental healthcare space as well as primary care. Consumers’ embrace of convenient treatment as well as interest in self-care will transform how employers, universities, and local governments offer subsidized mental wellness care.
4. Ageing Rebranded: Positively Cool
Baby boomers redefined ageing, and now the market is finally catching up to them, according to the GWS report. It reads: “Unlike previous generations, today’s 55+ are anything but boring; they’re active, vivacious, and far more engaged in exciting endeavours. Today’s retirees start businesses, run marathons, and travel widely. Even perceptions about their physicality is are underestimated: They are now the fastest-growing gym membership group and show the highest rate of frequent attendance.”
5. Energy Medicine Gets Serious
More wellness destinations will go ‘high energy’: serving up even more ancient energy medicines, more cutting-edge energy technologies, and more blending of both ancient and modern solutions. Six Senses Resorts’ ‘Grow a New Body’ programme – dubbed ‘neo-shamanism’ – deploys many approaches to fix your energy body. On the modern side, energy-medicine evaluations with doctors, light therapies, altitude training, and ozone and oxygen therapies – while ancient shamanic approaches include mitochondria-boosting diets, fasting, plant medicine, and intensive spiritual work to clear negative emotions.
The GWS report reads: “Energy medicine is at a pivotal moment, with the medical world and ‘ancient wellness’ finding some common – at least in principle – theoretical ground. Common ground leads to new conversations and solutions.”
6. The Wellness Sabbatical
Enter a new travel concept: the wellness sabbatical, where days of work and wellness are intentionally blended, at destinations that actively, creatively make this possible. On a wellness sabbatical, you’re set up to work a few productive hours a day (great workspaces, technology), but you also schedule a lot of daily wellness experiences (healthy food, movement, time in nature, sleep, human connection, etc.).
7. Wellness Music
Music as an intentional therapy is being radically reinvented by new technologies and is emerging as one of the hottest trends in wellness. Thus ‘wellness music’ is being born, with a big uptick in scientific research identifying how music’s structural properties (such as beat, key, chord progression, etc.) specifically impact the brain and biometrics such as heart rate and sleep patterns, so that evidence-based music and soundscapes can be developed as precision medicine.
8. Organized Religion Enters Wellness
More and more, faith is incorporating the latest wellness trends, signifying a shift away from viewing bodywork as vanity. While the bulk of this trend depends on independent churches and start-ups, we’ll start to see megachurches, national religious organizations, and more influential leaders further embrace this trend. Many institutions now start to see health and wellness initiatives as a crucial part of tending to parishioners’ wellbeing.
9. The Fertility Boom
Fertility is no longer a taboo topic hushed about in doctor’s offices. The last few years saw incredible progress in this space on multiple fronts. Celebrities and newsmakers shared their personal experiences; numerous countries expanded their health coverage to include IVF; while Silicon Valley funded a number of start-ups attempting to solve every issue impacting fertility—for both men and women. So far, women’s health start-ups are believed to have secured over $1 billion in investment, and of that, 60 percent is focused on fertility or pregnancy. It’s just the start of what many see as a fem-tech revolution.
10. Science-Backed Wellness
There are tens of thousands of medical studies on wellness approaches, despite the fact that the wellness world isn’t on an even playing field, lacking the deep pockets of Big Pharma to conduct big trials among large populations over long periods of time. But there are resources to help you explore all the hard science. We’re in a wider cultural crisis now over fact and fiction; science and belief; and shrill opinion versus collective, consensual notions of reality and truth. In 2020, the truth makes a comeback, and in wellness, more watchdogs will help.