Remember the magical mushrooms from the 1960s?
Guess what? They’re about to make a comeback in 2018, according to Susie Ellis, Global Wellness Summit chairman & CEO.
But this time in the form of medicinal foods with super powers that prove better than existing treatments for anxiety, depression and addiction, with experts predicting they will be legalized medicine within five years.
“There’s also mounting evidence that many regular mushrooms are magical for health – particularly as stress and inflammation fighters.
“We’ll see mushrooms (especially Adaptogenic varietals like reishi, cordyceps, chaga) get infused in everything imaginable: Powders, lattes, cocoas, chocolate, broths, oils and teas. And with many mushrooms boasting unique skin-boosting powers, mushroom-infused products will keep invading the beauty aisles.
Have social media like Facebook had their day?
No one is suggesting that but the Global Wellness Summit does predict a backlash against big tech and other things digital in 2018.
There’s more medical evidence coming to light about the disastrous effects that the 24/7 digital/social media connection has on our brains and happiness. “And it’s all about happiness,” said Susie.
She referred to The World Happiness Report first introduced at the UN, and Gallup-Sharecare Well-being Index, that take the global pulse on people’s happiness.
These reports revealed a number of crucial things:
People overall aren’t happy: The UN report (155 countries surveyed) reveals a world with a mediocre 5/10 happiness score.
First, happiness is a far more expansive concept than wellness: Physical health is one key measure (along with income, trust in government), but social connection plays an extraordinary role in human happiness.
Second, loneliness is as big a killer as smoking and it will force governments to take action, such as the U.K. recently appointing a Minister of Loneliness.
The big trend today is new massive trend – co-working, co-living and social spaces laser-focused on building well communities as well as the new third place membership clubs that blends daily events/workshops and mindful exercise and an Ayurvedic restaurant to transition from a society defined by separation into one of connectedness.
At the U.K.’s co-working and wellness space Mortimer House, each floor addresses one of Maslow’s (8) Hierarchy of Needs, from love and belonging to physical health. Co-working giant WeWork is on a global expansion tear with its work, wellness and community spaces designed for our gig economy, and are now launching other new community and wellness-focused concepts, like WeLive (co-living) and Rise by We (fitness/wellness centres).
What does all this mean?
A watershed backlash against big tech in 2018. Tech-fighting tech will appear, like Thrive Global’s coming tech detox app ThriveMode, which blocks texts and calls from everyone except your VIPs, alerts people you’re away from your phone, and lets you set boundaries on screen time, cutting you off when you binge.
In wellness travel, off-the-grid and no WiFI but destinations focused on contemplative community and nature will be the most sought after.
The Summit is also looking at explicitly happiness-focused wellness approaches such as eating for happiness, with menus and diets packed with serotonin-boasting foods like tuna, salmon, nuts, seeds, bananas, green tea, dark chocolate, spinach, blueberries and blackberries.
How about this? Happy fitness that returns exercise into childlike play, whether trampoline fitness classes (from Ireland’s Boogie Bounce to Hong Kong’s BounceLimit) or classes that feel like school recess, with everything from dodge ball to monkey bars. And more laughter yoga and smile asana.
Other Spa Wellness Predictions 2018?
A new era of transformative wellness travel that sees wellness as a journey – an on-going physical and emotional quest.
The Summit wondered why classes, treatments and experiences get served up piecemeal at wellness/spa destinations.
Enter transformational travel, described as travel that challenges people on a deeply personal level, creating emotion through the powerful medium of storytelling.
They predict more wellness destinations will use the power of wellness circuits and epic storylines to create a necklace of linked wellness experiences rather than the disconnected beads of programming, amenities, and itineraries.
A bold first: the opening of Six Senses Bhutan (May), a multi-chapter wellness circuit where people journey across five lodges, at each totally immersed in one of five key pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index.
More destinations will cast you as the fearless heroine in a dramatic wellness saga.
In Iceland’s The Red Mountain Resort concept spa-goers follow the intense, five-chapter emotional and sensory voyage of an ancient Icelandic hero. (More wellness experiences will deploy fantasy and wellness avatars “consider the craze for training such things as a mermaid”.)
“The transformative travel concept will surely get used to death, but in wellness travel it’s the very brand and promise. The future for wellness travel will be engaging people’s emotions as much as evidence-based healing” said Susie.
The way we look at pre-conception & paternity
“In our mom-centric world, we have not recognized that the health and lifestyle choices of both parents during the pre-conception period, which can impact their child’s health for a lifetime. This new trend challenges us to look before the traditional 1,000 days of pregnancy and early childhood and puts sharp focus on the role of epigenetics – the study of how gene expression changes with environmental and lifestyle factors, and that can be inherited.”
It also examines the father’s role in creating a supportive and healthy environment during pregnancy and after birth.
The wellness kitchen
The old eating and lifestyle habits of the 1950s are history, and today more people want to eat living, healthy, organic food.
The newly christened “Wellness Kitchen” will store and showcase fresh fruits and vegetables as opposed to processed foods, and new designs and technology will celebrate uncluttered, well-ventilated spaces that are as encouraging of socializing as they are of preparing healthy food, says Susie.
She sees refrigerators being reimagined to properly store and transparently display fresh fruits and vegetables, and kitchens will have space for gardens and sprouting. Noisy appliances will be a thing of the past. Composting delivery systems and particulate and oxygen sensors will be standard features. And there will be more emphasis on healthy building materials. Because just like the food it contains.
“The Wellness Kitchen doesn’t merely feed. It nourishes.”
Taking personal responsibility for the air you breathe
The toxins in the air that we breathe –indoors and out— have become a catastrophic invisible killer, responsible for the premature deaths of 6.5 million people worldwide.
Over 90% of the world’s population now breathe air that violates air quality guidelines. Countries like China and India are smothered in toxic air, while the (energy efficient) air-tight buildings in developed nations can prove just as deadly.
“As the gravity of this issue becomes clearer and disagreements over standards get left on the table by governments, we will see individuals owning their own clean air acts.”
This can mean filling our homes and offices with plants, donning chic air pollution masks, actively monitoring indoor air quality using new sensors and apps, investing in devices that purify the air around us (even within the confines of our cars), adopting the storm of new pollution-fighting beauty regimes, embracing more salt therapy and breath-work training, or choosing lung-cleansing travel destinations.
She believes this trend will put more pressure on businesses and governments to take action against the ultra-fine particulates that are dirtying our air.
Also interesting is the growing to extreme wellness – “to become the best we can be”.
It’s already happening. Brain hacks are on the rise, and there is a surge in brain-optimizing nootropics and even private brain optimization clubs, like the soon-to-launch Field in New York City, which uses neuromodulation technology to create that elite brain.
An age of hyper-personalized, deep-view health and wellness, thanks to tests combining DNA, epigenetic and microbiome testing (like Wellness FX), is on the horizon. In the name of physical and mental wellness, she adds, humans are re-wiring themselves to achieve the once impossible.
More people will train like an Olympic athlete, or tough out extreme mind over matter workshops, like the Ice Man Wim Hof’s training in Switzerland, deploying meditation and breath work to brave extreme ice and learn to master our immune and autonomic nervous systems.
“Building a better brain and hacking the body’s basic make-up through precision medicine and wellness – anything and everything seems suddenly possible. Because extreme challenges and experiences will bring a wealth of super powers to everyday, ordinary humans.”
The new feminist wellness wave
With this new feminist wave, we’ve also seen a shift in the self-care concept – from more selfish (me) to more political (us).
A woman-dominated wellness world has been steadily solving for women’s bodies and lives for years, creating, in effect, a supplemental, woman-focused healthcare system, says Susie.
“With this confluence of forces, we predict new intersections between women’s empowerment, feminism and wellness in 2018. The woman-empowering message in wellness will get more explicit and the parameters of what constitutes wellness for women will radically expand. By women, for women wellness solutions.”
The FemTech wave will only rise, with a new army of women doctors, technologists and designers solving solutionsfor women’s actual bodies and lives – whether apps putting fertility, contraception and hormone tracking in women’s hands (Natural Cycles, MOODY U) to smart clothing engineered for real women’s bodies (Universal Standard) to a raft of for-women sexual wellness products/platforms.
Women of colour will move the industry beyond #WellnessSoWhite, whether with for-them fitness and yoga classes to beauty brands rolling out cosmetic lines that reflect dozens of skin tones.
More wellness travel will be squarely aimed at women’s empowerment: from more tough all-women’s adventure travel to more wellness retreats providing women emotional healing after divorce, breakups, grief, anger, loss of sexual happiness, etc.
There will also be new, more feminist beauty programs, that put a brain back in the beauty equation such as Six Senses soon-to-launch Holistic Anti-Ageing clinics.
“This fourth wave of feminism is galvanizing this rush of for-women, by-women wellness. But no matter the future political climate, this trend comes down to one fact: the sheer growth in women’s spending power, because economists agree the global economic future is female.”