Kate O’Brien discovers that wellness trends for this year – from Ahimsa to vibrational energy healing – are perhaps more diverse than ever …
Move over millennials, 2020 is the age of the Silvers and according to David Harry Stewart, CEO of Ageist, this brand-loyal market is seeking transformational and exciting adventures that make them better versions of themselves. “The vast majority of financial assets are with people over the age of 50. This is the most powerful, most discerning consumer in human history and contrary to what is often thought, they are healthy, optimistic and hungry for new experiences to enrich their lives.” In the beauty sector (which constitutes over 25 per cent of the total wellness worth) “anti-ageing” is passé, this new decade is about positive ageing looking and feeling your best and through advances in epigenetics, genomic testing and nutritional supplements, science is helping us achieve this.
The “new age” is the “now age” and Energy Healing is very much at its core. “We are unhappier by the hour,” says Anna Burjstam, founder of Raison d’Etre, vice president of spa and wellness at Six Senses and founding board member of the Global Wellness Summit. She believes, “Medicine helps explain much of what people are searching for today. Science is coming on board, too, through quantum physics and the quantum fields in our midst that hold key information that affects us all.”
According to the latest GWI report, the future of fashion lies in re-thinking each touch-point in the cycle: from how brands design and make our clothes to how we buy, care for, experience and dispose of them. Currently every point is broken and the fashion industry is a massive force in destroying the planet. Fashion today is about buying less, keeping clothes for longer and changing our attitude to pricing, with the rise in natural fibres and up cycling of ocean plastic, Algae, mushrooms and crop waste among others. Cutting-edge mapping technologies mean that in future Well Fashion will embed numerous wellness benefits, such as clothes that adapt to environmental and bodily changes (heat, cold, UV rays, etc) and active-well clothing that helps us sleep and heal.
According to Dervla Louli, Irish native and founder of Compare Retreats in Hong Kong, “2020 is all about wellness experiences and products that give back to communities, that don’t harm the earth and that encourage wildlife conservation. The majority of Compare Retreats’ clients prefer booking retreats at properties with plastic-free policies and many are becoming increasingly interested in giving back to local communities during their stays. Studies suggest that the simple act of giving back to others or doing good deeds may increase dopamine levels and produce positive feelings, making this the ultimate way to feel good from the inside out.
The essence of Asian healing in its various guises (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine etc) is disease prevention and doctors were paid to keep people healthy, not to treat illness. In a similar way, functional medicine treats the body as a whole to maintain health and prevent disease. As science is now proving that our individual gut microbial ecosystem is a far more important marker of overall health than DNA testing, while also predicting how our bodies will react to specific medications and nutrients, bespoke gut-centred nutritional advice is the key to health at large. What’s more, innovative scientific research on individual’s genome and health biomarkers can help us make more appropriate lifestyle modifications to optimise our health. Expect Highly Personalised Nutrition plans to be increasingly popular in 2020.
Technically one aspect of quantum healing, Vibrational energy healing – light and sound healing (intense breath work, white light healing, crystals, sound therapy, kundalini yoga, gong baths etc) – is taking centre stage in top spas and wellness destinations. These innovative healing solutions derive from energy medicine with light-and-sound-specific spas and meditation domes being designed to tune in to individual vibrational frequencies in the brain and rebalance wayward energy through the body.
The sense of smell is having a renaissance as a new scientific understanding of the crucial role scent performs in our physical and emotional wellbeing is being unearthed. “Until recently, smell has been the most underrated and under-utilised of our five senses, but it’s turning out to be the most important,” says Joanne DeLuca of Sputnik Futures, a company that specialises in anticipating consumer trends. Although still it its infancy, the neuroscience of scent is predicted to become more prevalent in our lives, from personal scent to the growing depth of medical evidence supporting scent’s power to heal.
“Happiness is inside you waiting” is the phrase at the core of Gelong Thubten’s book A Monk’s Guide to Happiness: Meditation in the 21st century. Meditation is mainstream now and Thubten sees a move from mindfulness and stress reduction towards real compassion and a connection to the world, which lies at the heart of Tibetan Buddhism and meditation with compassion. “It’s about interconnection, how we are part of this wider community and must have compassion, so we can find real happiness for ourselves and others. Meditation is not a high, but simply a return to the simplicity of the present moment. It is not a competition, it’s just about being you.”
The one unifying message throughout the wellness industry is Ahimsa, the poignant title of U2’s latest collaboration with Indian singer and producer AR Rahman. Literally translated from yoga’s classical Sutras as “non violence” or “non harming”, this is not just about an end to violence, Ahimsa means so much more – it means kindness to ourselves through how we treat our bodies, how we treat those close to us and the world at large and ultimately it means kindness and love being the definitive truth that sustains and uplifts us all.