Intelligence Immune health, spiritual design, and seven other wellness trends for 2021 By TTG Asia / Posted on 29 January, 2021 16:44 From Hollywood jumping into wellness and the rise of spiritual architecture and design to a new future for immune health that stops “boosting” and starts balancing, these are among the nine wellness trend predictions for 2021 released by the Global Wellness Summit. The wellness forecast is based on the insights of hundreds of top executives of wellness companies, economists, doctors, investors, academics and technologists across a dozen nations that gathered in person and virtually at the recent Summit to debate where wellness was headed – making for a uniquely informed, global set of predictions. Here are the nine wellness trend predictions for 2021: Hollywood and the entertainment industries jump into wellness Wellness will become a bigger, more meaningful programming focus as Big Media digests the huge cultural force wellness has become. If wellness programming on TV has been about wellness as a topic you passively consume, the future is TV content and platforms that involve and impact you. Smart TVs are baking wellness “channels” onto their home screens: Samsung TVs launched Samsung Health, letting people binge 5,000 hours of free fitness/meditation classes from the buzziest brands. The future: smart TVs (like Apple’s) that connect to your health wearable (like Apple Fitness+) to serve up personalised wellness/fitness experiences right on your TV. Wellness companies are becoming full-blown TV studios: Mega-meditation-apps, Calm and Headspace, recently scored TV shows (HBO Max and Netflix), translating their meditative experiences into immersive television. The ways that music is being created for stress, sleep, focus, a better workout, or just trippy, ambient bliss… has kicked into high gear. It’s a paradigm shift: If music has always been consumed around artist, song and genre, now it’s “serve me music-as-therapy.” Meditation apps are becoming big wellness music “record labels,” and more apps are launching, specifically focused on music-for-wellbeing. The future of immune health: stop boosting, start balancing We join many forecasters in naming immune health a 2021 trend, not only because we agree that it will remain a consumer obsession post-vaccine but because the main ways the wellness industry has been addressing it are… flat-out wrong. In 2020, people were blitzed with “immune-boosting” supplements, foods and therapies, but the idea that you can “boost” your immunity is unscientific nonsense, and “more boosting” is precisely the wrong approach. The future: approaches that lead to immuno-stabilisation, immuno-balance. We will see more evidence-backed approaches to immune health, with metabolic health, the microbiome, and personalised nutrition becoming crucial – along with more experimentation with everything from “positive stress” experiences to intermittent fasting for immune resilience. And immunity programmes at travel destinations will go deeper, more medical, with interventions that matter more than “immune-boosting” menus and IV drips. Spiritual and numinous moments in architecture In recent years, a storm of studies has demonstrated the powerful connection between the built environment and our physical health, and a new “wellness architecture” sector has taken off, heavily focused on functional design moves, whether circadian lighting or air purification. What has been glossed over is design that can tap into and nurture our spirituality. In 2021, we will see new attention paid to creating everyday spaces that can incite sacred and numinous moments, that elevate our consciousness and potential, and ground us in gravitas in the midst of a mindless, consumerist society. Spiritual wellbeing is an inextricable part of a well life and rightfully deserves more design consideration and designated spaces in our homes, workplaces, communities and urban landscapes. Just breathe! An increasing number of clinical studies from major universities like Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins are putting science and data behind something we’ve actually known for centuries – the way we breathe has profound effects on our mental and physical health and abilities. It might even help us strengthen our immune systems. Practitioners are bringing breathwork to ever-larger audiences and pushing it into fascinating new territories, including rehabilitation, fitness, community building, and relief from chronic stress, trauma and PTSD. Cool, clubby breathwork parties and festivals are rising. There are even studies that point to breathwork as a possible therapeutic for one of the world’s deadliest diseases: hypertension. Perhaps the best part of all – this drug-free medicine costs absolutely nothing. The self-care renaissance: where wellness and healthcare converge Over three hundred years after the first Medical Renaissance, we’re undergoing a new kind of medical renaissance where two complementary yet often competing entities – healthcare and wellness – will converge. Wellness is learning to lean into science, establish standards, and hold itself accountable. At the same time, healthcare is beginning to borrow from the wellness playbook – transforming a once sterile and strictly curative industry into a more holistic, lifestyle-oriented, and even pleasurable one. In this new era, hospitals will take inspiration from five-star resorts, yoga studios might measure improved telomere length, and prescriptions may be coupled with hyper-personalised guides to optimal health. Adding colour to wellness Graphic videos and the protests of last summer prompted many businesses to voice support for anti-racism. While diversity and inclusion have become a popular topic in the wellness industry, this trend argues that to generate substantive change, the wellness industry must recognise and address the false narrative that wellness is for affluent white people. It discusses how the industry can add colour to wellness by valuing black consumers and wellness professionals and describes the different ways that black people actually experience wellness offerings and spaces, highlighting racial inequalities. Resetting events with wellness: you may never sit on a banquet chair again Around mid-March 2020, the pandemic brought in-person events to an abrupt halt. And no matter the power of technology and the gratitude we felt for Zoomed Wi-Fi connectivity, the world hungered for personal interactions. But there was a silver lining: A new trend that will forever change meetings and events was born, with wellness at the core. New hybrid events (in-person and virtual gatherings) sprouted like mushrooms after a spring rain. Technology companies raced to be the platform for hosting hybrid meetings. Investors threw money at tech companies, and within months of the pandemic shutting down most in-person-only gatherings, new companies had taken hold, and a new world was emerging. Money out loud: financial wellness is finding its voice Money has topped the “do-not-discuss” list for decades – right alongside religion, sex and politics. But it’s 2021, and transparency is trending. A culture craving authenticity is breaking the money taboo – transforming finance from a hush-hush, one-size-fits-all, cut-and-dry industry to one that’s more human, empathetic, and, dare we say, fun. This growing openness is being driven by a much larger mental health awakening. And with research linking financial stress to anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, respiratory conditions and more – it’s about time money is put under the microscope. This growing financial wellness movement is moving money talk far beyond the bank. Financial therapists are tackling the intersection between money and mental health, and the three billion views of #personalfinance content on TikTok prove that finance influencers are officially a thing. In 2021 and beyond, we’ll begin to see the end of financial systems designed to profit from our failure and the start of financial wellness awakening. Money talks. It’s time we start using a language everyone can understand. 2021: the year of the travel reset The coronavirus pandemic acted as a near-complete brake on travel in 2020. The pause gave everyone – consumers and suppliers – the opportunity to think about rebooting travel for the better by correcting overtourism, becoming more conscious of where our money goes, and how to use the enormous power of tourism to sustain cultures and environments and perhaps even leave them better off. Looking ahead, the year 2021 may be the year that all travel becomes wellness travel. From the manic travel of 2019, which was the ninth year of record-setting growth in travel, outpacing global economic expansion, 2021 will be the year of the travel reset – going slower, nearer and more mindfully. But travel will reset fitfully, mirroring the vaccination rollout, which has prompted optimism as well as tentativeness.