A look into the future of wellness
What does the future of wellness look like? From silent dining and ‘healthy architecture’ to creativity-fuelled retreats, these emerging trends tick all the boxes for holistic holidaying
Each year, new trends are predicted in fashion, beauty, technology and the economy, but did you know there’s a global summit based solely around forecasting wellness movements? Last year, more than 500 leaders in the fields of travel, spa, fitness, beauty, nutrition, medicine and architecture put their heads together at the Global Wellness Summit in Austria to discuss wellness trends for 2017 and beyond – and the findings make for exciting reading (if living walls, circadian mood lighting and silent dining float your boat).
The good news is there are a number of destinations around the world already ahead of the curve and offering experiences set to go mainstream in the next few years. Read on and start planning your futuristic getaway.
‘Living’ living spaces and healthy architecture
Good quality air, water, light and sound are essential to human health and happiness and, in 2017, architects are making headway in bringing all of these elements into the buildings we live and work in – finally! Wellness architecture, according to the Global Wellness Summit, will be one of the largest and most impactful wellness trends of the future.
We’re talking ‘living buildings’ lined with toxin-purifying plants, walls made of algae biofuel cells which grow their own energy, a focus on air quality, the re-engineering of indoor acoustics and more vision-friendly lighting. There’s even talk of an app that alerts you whenever you enter a ‘sick’ building (think of the effect this could have on house prices in Auckland). Naturally, a number of wellness destinations and hotels are already operating with these new health-focused principles in mind.
Where to book
- A ‘Stay Well’ room at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas combines wellness technologies from Delos Cosgrove, CEO of Cleveland Clinic, and Dr Deepak Chopra, and features an air-purification system, aromatherapy, dawn simulator alarm clock, circadian mood lighting and a shower infuser that reduces chlorine. These rooms are also available at six Marriott International hotels around the US.
Social sweating: the new sauna experience
The word ‘sauna’ is likely to evoke images of small, steamy, claustrophobic hot boxes located near the changing rooms at the gym, correct? Not in Europe.
Europeans are reinventing the sauna from a private ritual to a socially conducive and stimulating experience. This type of ‘event’ sauna is called ‘sauna aufguss’ and is popular in northern and central Europe. Trained ‘sauna-meisters’ administer aromatherapy infusions and partake in complex towel rituals to circulate heat, humidity and infusions in front of a crowd of sauna-goers.
In 2017, the ritual is becoming even more elaborate, with sauna-meisters leading singing and chanting, acting out scenes from plays or movies, and throwing in a light or laser show for good measure. Other sauna trends on the rise include amphitheatres of communal sweating for 50-300 patrons, saunas with music, food and bars deep in nature (floating on lakes, for instance) and ‘urban sweat lodges’ in locations such as Los Angeles and New York.
Where to book
- Löyly in Helsinki, Finland, is a new public sauna complex with a restaurant which opens out to the sea. loylyhelsinki.fi/en/saunas
- Hot Box Sauna on Scotland’s Loch Tay has panoramic lake views, a DJ in the evening and a bar. Slàinte! facebook.com/thehotboxscotland
- The Well near Oslo, Norway, is the region’s largest bathhouse with 15 saunas across three levels, plus 11 pools and 100 showers. The complex is set to attract 100,000 ‘daycationers’ per year. thewell.no/english
Creative wellness escapes
If the path to creativity is de-stressing, and creativity is the key to mental wellness, then it makes sense that we should be dedicating more time to right-brain pursuits. It’s said that some of history’s greatest creative minds – the likes of Beethoven, Freud, Mozart and Twain – flocked to places of retreat, such as spas, to write, perform and create.
Now that creativity and the arts are once again at the centre of our wellness pursuits, hotels, retreats and spas are catching on. We’ll be seeing more art and performance integrated into wellness activities, such as concerts of chimes, gongs and singing bowls performed during yoga, meditation and massage. Courses in pursuits such as music-making, ceramics and knitting will be included in hotel packages, and programmes created specifically for artists, writers and creatives will help them with targeted stress reduction.
Where to book
- Schloss Elmau, a “luxury spa retreat and cultural hideaway” in the Bavarian Alps, Germany, hosts 220 concerts and performances each year from world-class musicians, poets and writers who ‘play to stay’. schloss-elmau.de/en
- Destination Spa, Canyon Ranch in Tucson, US, offers classes in sculpting, mandala drawing and Japanese kumihimo braiding (canyonranch.com/tucson), while The Lodge at Woodloch in Poconos, Pennsylvania, uses watercolour painting, drawing classes and journalling workshops to aid in self-discovery (thelodgeatwoodloch.com)
- Float in a candlelit, underground thermal pool while being serenaded by live flamenco guitar and Sufi flute at Aire Ancient Baths in New York City. ancientbathsny.com