• Kathryn Schutz

Spa and Wellness Trends

Every year at this time I look forward to the Top 10 Global Spa & Wellness Trends Forecast. ( It reminds me why I love selling travel in this sector so much. I love my luxury travel arrangements for clients and the wellness aspect just adds so much more. I am a firm believer that wellness is going to be huge and that we will all start practicing more preventive health maintenance. And as you'll see in my summary of Spafinder's report - there are SO many aspects to wellness!

1. Surf's Up! The New Wave of Wellness

Surfing as a mysterious endeavor is no more. Surfing and its sister sport, stand-up-paddleboarding, (SUP), are becoming one of the hottest fitness trends. They are attracting avid travelers because surfers keep pushing to increasingly remote destinations. (Experience travelers know that if you want to find the next great beaches, you follow the surfers.) There is an explosion of surf + wellness properties everywhere in the world. Surfing is a uniquely powerful mind-body workout: a low-impact form of functional and cross training, delivering a lean, flexible body. Simulated surf classes are now being offered at over 250 fitness studios. And SUP can be practiced on any body of water (lakes, rivers, resort pools) and is being combined with yoga and pilates. Man-made surfing parks will also fuel the growth.

2. Sexual Wellbeing: Taboo No More

We address every kind of wellness imaginable whether its physical, mental, spiritual, environmental or workplace, but sexual wellbeing has been left out of the equation. A new sophisticated, serious sexual wellness program is beginning to happen at spas, wellness retreats, hospitals and fitness studios. There is focus on a woman's pelvic floor health and exercises that strengthen the Kegel muscles that support the abdominal and sexual organs from underneath. Studies indicate yoga improves all aspects of sex. Pole dancing and burlesque classes are trending toward a classier "wellness vibe." Some resorts are immersing women in a crash course on improving their libido and pleasure, using everything from acupuncture, transformational breathing, Emotional Freedom Technique and everything-is-on-the-table group therapy while maintaining discretion. The venues of these wellness resorts are not disclosed and everyone is only known by their first names.

3. Temazcal

Travelers are seeking out native, authentic wellness offerings. Closest to home is Temazcal (temas'kal) originating in Mexico with thousands of years healing indigenous people. It is an elaborate ritual in which a trained shaman uses heat, steam, aromatic herbs and ancient prayers and chants to connect guests with forces of the physical and spiritual world. People often feel reinvigorated when returning home from wellness vacations but those who experience Temazcal report feeling "reborn." At luxury spas and wellness resorts in Mexico, Temazcal is becoming as ubiquitous a service as massage treatments and facials. Many are frequented by celebrities looking to unwind. They begin with a private consultation with a shaman who determines the objective of the guest's visit and then composes an appropriate "prescription" which often includes a Temazcal session or a dip in a cenote natural limestone spring.

4. Parenting Well: Serious Spa & Wellness For Kids

Poor diets, constant stress and hours hunched over glowing screens are taking a toll on kids. Parents are beginning to look at the same resources that they have used for themselves, for their children. Resorts and wellness destinations are starting to recognize that wellness is a family affair. They're offering good health and self-care with yoga sessions, cooking classes and spa treatments And they're encouraging kids to learn about the local culture and native habitats wherever they are. Mindfulness and meditation help children handles stress but also develop socio-emotional skills. Yoga offers children calm, focus and fitness as well as serious therapy (my son's football team even practices yoga!) Massage therapy will become the go-to treatment for children of all ages who suffer from injury, sleeplessness or pain. Ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture will become a choice instead of or in addition to antibiotics and surgery.

5. The Adrenaline & Zen Cocktail: Resetting the Mind & Body

Medical science reveals that a mixture of high-octane adventure topped off with "apres-adrenaline" relaxation at wellness resorts uniquely resets and quiets the brain resulting in the most blissed-out relaxation. Examples are ziplining, white water tubing and mountain biking tracks with heart-stopping plunges, vertical sling shots, waterfall rappelling followed by natural hot springs pools, spa treatments, meditation and yoga. Good stress as experienced in the adrenaline-boosting activities increases blood flow, heart rate and respiration shunting blood away from the brain to the muscles so that the brain is quieted. This is followed by taking the body to a place of the most deep, blissed-out, rubbery relaxation many times that experienced solely with a massage or other spa treatment.

6. Well-Fests: Festivals Shift from Wasted to Wellness

Wellness festivals are modeling themselves after multi-day music festivals such as Coachella and putting health on center stage. They appeal to a wide spectrum: those who seek to better their bodies and minds, and those who have no problem pairing wellness workshops with raucous parties and experimentation. Yoga, a stalwart of nearly every festival, comes in dozens of varieties. Luxury is also prevailing - luxury suites, members-only spa, fine dining, and mini-TED talks on hacking your own consciousness. Wellness will foster and thrive in communities as festivalgoers integrate health into their celebrations and more health-conscious individuals pursue their own wellness in public settings.

7. On-Demand: Uber-izing Spa & Wellness

With an app for virtually everything, health and wellness offerings are at your fingertips. Stress is at an all-time high and this stress paradoxically makes it more difficult for people to pursue traditional forms of wellness to alleviate that stress. On-demand services will circumvent these contraints and squeeze more personal time out of a crowded calendar. Massage, hair styling, make-up application, nail care and personalized workouts will be available on-demand and often times in the comfort of your home or office.

8. Skin Care Gets Seoul-ful: The Korean Beauty Explosion 2.0

South Korea is the leader of affordable, innovative and well-marketed products and more Korean-inspired spas which combine beauty and spa will proliferate. Jimjilbangs (spas) can be like malls combining spas and beauty with fun for the whole family - complete with food courts and karaoke. Most offer traditional spa treatments, sauna and steam rooms, indoor pools with sophisticated water jet technology, kiddie pools with a water slide and movie theaters!

9. Healthy Cruising: The Ship of Excess Has Set Sail

Today's "floating hotels" are providing some of the most impressive, comprehensive spa and wellness facilities in the world ranging from full floors to full boats, making for a truly healthy cruise vacation. High-tech medical spa services are being offered, from Botox to dermal fillers to teeth whitening and acupuncture to lonithermie. Cruises are also connecting their passengers to indigenous wellness and adventure actitivities on shore, such as trekking through an Amazon rainforest to visiting a family farm. Wellness travelers are also demanding voluntourism. Fusing travel with social responsibility affords passengers to disembark and serve local communities.

10. Workplace Wellness Grows Up

Forward-thinking companies understand that a culture of wellness has a positive impact on productivity. In the next five years, expect to see more spa and wellness integrated into the workplace in unique ways.

For resources and information on destinations, please contact us! We're truly thrilled to plan these types of vacations incorporating a little wellness or a lot.

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