Each year experts around the world gather for the Global Wellness Summit. At this summit, new trends in the wellness industry are discussed specifically with the focus on having a meaningful impact on the industry. Perspectives are provided by economists, medical and wellness practitioners, academics and leaders across the sector.

In today’s article, we will be looking at the future of wellness (2022) and the trends provided in the Global Wellness Annual Trends Report which – as you will see – shows that the industry is truly growing exponentially and the wellness industry is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Let us have a look at the top trends for 2022 as listed in the report.

Trend 1 – Dirty wellness

Gone are the days when we can leave the health of the soil to farmers and foragers only. Cardinal to health is the impact of soil on human health. No, I am talking about the times we played in the mud and baked mud cakes. This trend suggests that the soil in which food is grown will become the next ‘food label’. 

Trend 2 – Toxic muscularity

Research and reports are finding that half of males between the ages of 16 and 40 struggle with a negative body image. It seems as though the consumption of image and performance-enhancing drugs are on the rise, not just in competitive sport lockers but also in schools and at the local gym. Health experts are equally aware of the danger poor body image has on the general population and programmes and support is being individualised to include men. More emphasis is thus being placed on mental health for men.

Trend 3 – Wellness tech / technical wellness

We have spoken about technology and wellness in many articles before. Here the emphasis is again on ensuring that the technology we use PROMOTES wellness and places it at the centre of how we DO wellness: as a tool to engage in our daily activities. Emphases, therefore, are more on the engagement with technology.

Trend 4 – Senior Living Disrupted

A huge shift towards what was considered to be ‘senior citizen and inactivity’ is now focussing on the activity of senior living. A new focus is placed internationally on the trends of senior living where communities are created for the mutually beneficial intergenerational co-living models and strategies for intergenerationality. These communities focus on holistic wellbeing through innovative and creative activities involving the whole community.

Trend 5 – Wellness Travel

Together with the ‘great resignation’ and record retirements, it is clear that people are more committed to work/life balance and personal growth. The travel industry is experiencing growth in what is coined ‘wellness travel experiences.’ People are linking to nature as a source of healing and a surge in wellness resorts is taking shape. 

Trend 6 – Closing the gender gap in medical research

Using technology to gather information to better inform medical research on women’s health conditions is being opened up. This continues to place women’s health as equally important to other health issues. Technologies are being developed to allow for better representation of women in trials and quicker access to participants. 

Trend 7 – Urban wellness playgrounds

Bathhouses and playgrounds seem to be something from an ancient era but within this framework, it refers to a rise in wellness-focused water resorts. These include hydrothermal bathing options (like saunas, pools, steam rooms, and so forth). The focus of these playhouses is on transforming urban wellness as it is becoming more and more popular.

Trend 8 – Next-Gen naturalism

In a world where automation and on-demand service delivery are at the forefront of doing business, there seems to be a boom towards slowing down by allowing people to join outdoor survival schools (where NO technology is allowed) or silent retreats (where no talking is allowed). The principle behind this is a ‘back-to-basics’ wellness with an absolute focus on the natural world.

Trend 9 – Health and wellness coaches

A rise in the professional registration of health and wellness coaches is clear. Health and wellness coaches are professionals focussing on motivating people to stick to healthy behaviours. These individuals either provide individual services or group services by applying a specific coaching technique. These individuals are trained to link individual training programmes and nutrition with personal challenges and struggles. They usually work with other health care professionals to assist individuals with their personal health goals. 

Trend 10 – Wellness welcomes the metaverse

Thanks to the pandemic, wellness and health are at the top of business and government strategies. The world is watching and this means that technology is moving faster to engage with individuals and businesses alike. As we enter this exciting new realm, the metaverse is not only looking at what’s better for us today but also at future opportunities.

As we moved through the pandemic and the changing world, we were forced to adapt to many different realities. It is only fitting that health and wellness advances and opportunities are at the forefront of human advancement. We were forced to change for our work, we might as well do it for ourselves…

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