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Global Wellness Institute CEO Susie Ellis kicked off the day with a welcome greeting, and turned the floor over to Ophelia Yeung and Katherine Johnston, the Institute’s lead researchers. The result of their past year’s research is the landmark study Build Well to Live Well: Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate. The environments in which we live, sleep and play, as well as where we work, are so impactful on our mental and physical health and well-being, and yet this has not been a focus of architects or the building trades for many years. Wellness Real Estate is “proactively designed and built to support the holistic health of residents,” according to the report, and may feature aspects including walking areas, playground, exercise spaces, outdoor access and mindful building standards. Yeung and Johnston pointed out that wellness real estate does not automatically make a wellness community; that is created when you mix in culture and people who care about healthy lifestyles. That has never been more prevalent than now, and the consumer demand is driving a 10-25 percent price premium, creating opportunities for developers and investors. Kyricos & Associates and the Wellness Community Initiative contributed to the research and report as well.
The second report was another popular topic, Beauty2Wellness, spearheaded by Anjan Chatterjee, MD, Chair of the Neurology Department of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Chatterjee and his team have been conducting detailed studies into how the human brain perceives beauty and thus ascribes meaning—perhaps unintentionally, and based on personal biases or experiences. The researchers had studied 10 years’ worth of Google News—some 100 billion words—and charted their usage as related to either beauty or wellness, with a goal of strengthening the connection between the two.
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Swiss think-tank scientist David Bosshart, MD, shared, via video, the results of the report created by his team at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, entitled Wellness 2030, The New Techniques of Happiness. This is a team of people with their minds planted firmly in the future, but grounded in the science of both today and tomorrow. One of the new disruptive technologies discussed was data fashion: clothes that can read the wearer’s emotions. Examples included yoga pants that let you know when you are in proper alignment in a pose, and bras with sensors that track your posture. The group believes that the wellness industry will become an extension of the data economy, but foresees power struggles in the future between consumers and companies over who owns the data. Some of the trends predicted included “data selfies,” which will give insights into our complete well-being; and biofeedback through apps and automation, which will reveal our mental and physical health. The report can be read here.
Last but far from least came the GWI’s annual wellness trend report, presented by Ellis and GWI Director of Research Beth McGroarty.
Post presentations, the media delegation was served a healthy lunch and then spent time in the wellness playground, exploring the wide-ranging experiences and products offered by the sponsor companies. The journalists will no doubt will create more stories on the power of wellness, and the more consumers hear this, the more likely they will turn to their local spa for solutions.
– by Lisa Starr