Wellness is seeping into every aspect of our lives, from exercise and diet to sleep and work. According to the Global Wellness Summit, complete health also has become a big business, raking in $4.2 trillion a year worldwide.
As GWS prepares for its annual conference of industry professionals at Grand Hyatt Singapore October 15 to 17, we asked organizers to share their insights on the latest trends in approaches to wellness.
Nature Immersion Getaways
GWS reports that there’s a wave of global urbanization, with 55 percent of the world population living in cities. That number is projected to jump to 68 percent by 2050. A consequence of this surge in urban living is that people are seeking ways to immerse themselves deeper into nature. Hotels are accommodating by moving workouts and spa treatments into the great outdoors. But nothing captures this trend more than the rise in forest bathing.
Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, began in Japan in the 1980s. Despite the translation, the practice doesn’t literally mean to take a bath among the trees. Instead, it focuses on soaking up the essence of the forest. The practice is supposed to aid immune systems, reduce blood pressure, ease stress, boost energy and improve sleep.
Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star L’Apothecary Spa at L’Auberge de Sedona in Arizona steeps you in its pristine Oak Creek surroundings with its Connecting with Nature offerings. Led by a certified forest bathing facilitator, the personalized sensory sessions encourage you to absorb the gushing waters, towering trees, red rocks, blue skies and local wildlife. You’ll receive a journal to record your experience. Another option is a nighttime forest immersion. Star bathing helps you find peace under the serene starlit sky amid the wooded backdrop. When the darkness of night envelops your sight, your other senses are heightened.
Tough and Transformative Wellness
Travelers want to visit wellness destinations that push them harder to conquer challenges, engage in extreme experiences and, ultimately, transform them, GWS reports.
Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire in England has devised The Escape, an antidote to boring old fitness routines. Amid the property’s 500 countryside acres, the two-day bootcamp includes an outdoor meditation session, two “extreme” exercise classes, a nutrition masterclass, tailored treatments in the spa, yoga, tai chi and a highwire adventure.
Chatham Bars Inn hosts an ongoing Wellness Weekend series that features interactive itineraries hosted by wellness experts in stunning Cape Cod. The activities consist of mindfulness workshops, motivational lectures, personal coaching and plenty of exercise at the Four-Star hotel.
In Mexico, Four-Star Grand Velas Los Cabos targets women with its five-night Alpha Female Adventure Getaway. The rigorous schedule includes a power hike through the Sierra de la Laguna biosphere reserve, swimming in a hot spring, snorkeling and paddleboarding. The getaway also comes with a four-handed tequila massage, an 80-minute treatment that releases muscle tension. A therapist rubs the liquor into the skin to reduce inflammation.
Alongside exercise and diet, sleep is essential for optimal health. And the focus on rest across the travel industry has been one of the biggest wellness trends.
Hotels are rethinking the sleep experience. Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner is attacking stress-induced insomnia with a holistic approach. Partnering with sleep experts at Longeva, the D.C. hotel created a spa treatment that fosters a good night’s rest, a special snooze-inducing room service menu with dishes like almond butter banana dark chocolate toast (the treat’s high magnesium relaxes muscles, and bananas have tryptophan, the same amino acid in turkey that makes you drowsy after Thanksgiving dinner), a TV station that serves as a sleep machine and a take-home kit so that you can continue deep slumbers in your own bed.
The newly opened Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards in New York City was built with sleep in mind. The wellness hotel’s rooms have total soundproofing, blackout blinds and mattresses made with temperature-regulating natural fibers to prevent night sweats. If that’s not enough send you to dream land, you can employ the assistance of an Equinox sleep coach.
For all the good they provide, smartphones also have sparked a slew of problems: they cause an “always on” work mentality, the overconsumption of negative news and a social media addiction that has led to an anxiety and depression crisis, GWS says.
More travelers want to go to a place to unplug, clear their minds and recover. Mandarin Oriental launched a digital wellness initiative at all of its spas in 2018. In collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, the program teaches ways to manage your relationship with technology and the stress that can accompany a constantly connected digital lifestyle. Experience it at Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou’s luxurious Five-Star spa. The 100-minute Digital Wellness Escape homes in on the head, eyes, neck, shoulders, hands and feet.
Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing turned its offerings into a two-night package that includes a 90-minute treatment, a class pass to nearby Pure Yoga in WF Central as well as breakfast and a healthy lunch at Café Zi.