Some surprising developments—from ‘forest bathing’ to a new ‘cannabusiness’—are among the top ten wellness trends for 2015 from Spafinder Wellness 365.
The spa and wellness marketing company has been forecasting global wellness trends for the last 12 years.
The recently-released trend forecast, however, is the first to take what Spafinder Wellness 365 execs called a “provocative direction.”
“In our 12 years of trends-tracking, we have never seen spa/wellness concepts go so deep and global, be so meaningful and move in so many surprising, provocative directions,” said Mia Kyricos, chief brand officer.
Kyricos and Spafinder president Susie Ellis, helped steer the trends research led by research director Beth McGroaty. It’s based on surveys of consumers, travel agents and spa/wellness businesses.
The trends, according to Spafinder:
Forest Bathing – Mindfulness Meets Nature
The Japanese coined the term ‘forest bathing’ to describe the practice of walking quietly through a forest with one’s mind attuned to its sounds, scents and colors. Spafinder cited studies that have found the practice lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and lessens depression.
Urbanization and the disappearing forests worldwide are fueling the trend. Spafinder said Korea, for instance, is investing in a new forest therapy center and the trend will soon reach the West. Globally the trend will lead to forest bathing programming at spa retreats, ‘wild forest/nature’ resorts and ‘forest therapy’ trails, the forecast said.
Cannabis—New Spa & Wellness Connections
Spafinder’s forecast doesn’t advocate for or against the use of cannabis but predicted a soon-to-come ‘explosive cannabusiness’ market given the legalization of the medical and recreational use of marijuana in the U.S. (Four state have legalized medical and recreational use: Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska. Nearly 20 states have legalized its medical use.)
“Cannabis is adopting the language of wellness,” said Kyricos. The wave of legalization will translate into “new cannabis spa/wellness connections” including cannabis wellness tourism packages, cannabis-branded day spas, and cannabis-based beauty and pain-relieving products.
Wellness Traditions from the Islamic World
“There’s been an emergence of information on wellness traditions from a part of the world that many are not familiar with,” said Ellis of the Islamic world, which Spafinder defines as some 60 countries stretching from the Middle East to Africa and Asia.
With a 1,000-year-old traditions, the region offers advanced ‘food as medicine’ and nature-based healing and beauty practices. The forecast predicts more people will seek nutritional, beauty and spa traditions central to Islamic cultures.
Spa on Arrival & En Route—The New Travel Ritual
When people used to travel on vacation or business, they perceived spa treatments as luxury add-ons, according to Spafinder. A new travel ritual means treatments, and other fitness and wellness experiences, are done on arrival or en route at airports to combat jetlag and jump start productivity.
There will be more spa/wellness features at airports, free massages at hotels and spa resorts at check-in, more online apps and concierges to make booking massages and classes easier, and more spas opening earlier, later or even staying open 24/7, according to the forecast.
“This is why day spas are so popular,” said Ellis. “People are looking to spas for a quick pick-me-up.”
Beyond the Stars—Luxury Redefined
“The new luxuries are solitude and space,” said Kyricos. That new definition of luxury combines with rising affluence and a thirst for new and different experiences to result in a search for authentic and novel destinations, Spafinder said. The luxury travel industry will be challenged to provide those offerings, it added.
Given the new definition, traditional rating systems based on current criteria for hotels, for example, may be too limiting and might lead to the formulation of new systems, Kyricos said.
My Fitness, My Tribe, My Life—Super-Social Fitness
“Fitness selection is becoming indicative of someone’s lifestyle,” Ellis said. “We call it super social fitness.” Social fitness defines who you know, what you wear, and where you travel, the forecast said. The trend replaces the frenzied quest for the latest fitness routines and practices.
We’re no longer just consumers, we are collaborators when it comes to beauty, the forecast said. That translates into a shift from “This color looks good on me” to “This color was made for me.” The forecast predicts more beauty brands will use in-store computer technology to come up with personalized solutions.
“This is about the science of digestion and about keeping your system healthy and resilient,” said Ellis. “Digestive health is becoming a bit part of the conversation.
“Probiotics are not just for the tummy,” Ellis added. There will be a proliferation of probiotics in what we drink, eat and put on our skin while more spas will address ways to heal digestive systems, according to the forecast.
Industrial Revolution—Blue Collar Wellness
“Workplace wellness is the terminology of the future,” said Ellis. While the first phase of workplace wellness programs have focused on white collar management employees, the future will see them extended to blue collar workers.
“Companies will add wellness programs to industrial segments, there will be more government education programs, health insurance companies will offer incentives for engagement, and labor unions will ask for health and wellness programs,” Kyricos said.
Wellness Homes, Communities & Cities
Eight years ago Spafinder named ‘spa real estate’ as one of its top trends. That trend toward ‘live at the spa’ developments died with the recession but the company now predicts a strong rebound in the wellness living market.
This time around, the concept of healthy homes will go even further to encompass entire towns master-planned around a ‘365 degree concept of wellness’ and new global ‘well being standards.’