The 2015 Global Wellness Summit (GWS) held last month in Mexico City gathered the brightest thinkers from a diverse cross-section of industries to contemplate the best strategies for “Building a Well World.” This year’s conference was the largest in the summit’s nine-year history, attracting more than 470 delegates from more than 40 countries in industries as varied as traditional medicine and technology to travel. “The Mexico City Summit was a watershed moment because passionate leaders from economics, medicine, government, technology, spa and wellness, travel, education, and even the arts came together to debate how to bring more preventative health into our chronic disease- and healthcare cost-burdened world—much like when the world first came together in Kyoto to declare solidarity against climate change,” says Susie Ellis, GWS CEO and chairman.
The agenda analyzed the many disruptions now underway in wellness. Here are the top 10 wellness trends for 2016:
1. From Cracking the Genome to Cracking the EpigenomeDeepak Chopra, M.D. explained that the future is decoding the epigenome, which is the assembly of DNA that is ceaselessly modified by lifestyle choices and environment. To solve this issue, research is underway to pinpoint the 20 or so genetic markers (out of 2,400) that are actually modifiable by healthy living.
2. From Optional to Mandatory Wellness With a world aging like never before (800 million people now over 60), global economist Thierry Malleret revealed that governments need to take legislative action to require or reward healthier behavior.
3. From “In Your Face” to Imperceptible Wellness Wellness will seamlessly blend into the fabric of our lives, including dawn-simulating lighting; bed sensors that monitor sleep; and responsive materials, including fabrics that cuddle and clothes that deliver the perfect massage.
4. From Workplace Wellness Programs to Total Cultures of Wellness at Work Wellness approaches in the workplace will change radically, moving towards meaningful, healthy cultures including everything from physical, to emotional, to financial wellness, as well as healthy workspaces, mandated vacations, and more.
5. From Medicine vs. Wellness to Truly Integrative Healthcare Medical leaders from the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics, Harvard, and Duke all agreed on the future trend of integrative medicine with the acknowledgement that every leading medical center either has, or is planning, a wellness/integrative center.
6. Medical Technology Breakthroughs: from Ingestible Health Trackers to Stem CellsMedical technology breakthroughs included ingestible, health-tracking nanochips that monitor 50 biological functions 24/7, which will help to usher in a new era of precision, preventative, and personalized medicine. Also, there is a future movement in stem cell harvesting and freezing that allows the chance for any cell, whether it is bone, insulin, pancreatic, heart, liver, brain, eye, collagen, or elastin, to be young again.
7. Wellness Homes: Big Growth and Big Premiums for Owners/Investors In the future, more homes, communities, and even cities will be master-planned from the ground up for human health. New examples include: Mayo Clinic’s ambitious 20-year project to turn its base of Rochester, MN, into a “City of Health” and Delos Living’s project to transform part of Tampa City, FL, into a 40-acre healthy city.
8. From Superfood and Diet Trend Hysteria to Sane EatingThe future in diet trends predicts a welcome return to eating as pleasure as well as the introduction to personally intuitive foods that are clean and sustainably sourced (from our own backyard).
9. Wellness Travel Booming: From Emerging Markets to New “Pairings” for Wellness Experts agreed that the heart of wellness tourism is the transformational experience, which is less about the destination and more about how the experience alters a person’s mind, body, and soul.
10. From Wellness for the Wealthy Few to the Democratization of Wellness A powerful thread running through the summit was the need to bring wellness to more members of society including the young and old, wealthy and poor, and the healthy and ill.