Eight 2018 Trend Picks from the Global Wellness Summit

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Mushrooms, wellness travel, wellness kitchens, and women-inspired wellness are just a few of the 2018 trend picks that the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) included in its 90-page report released earlier today. The trends were decided upon by the summit’s 600+ wellness expert attendees who came from over 40 countries to the summit in 2017. “No other trends report is based on the perspectives of so many wellness experts,” says Susie Ellis, GWS chairman and CEO. “And every one of this year’s trends pushes the health and wellness envelope in unexpected ways.” Take a look at the summit’s eight wellness trends for 2018 below.

Wellness Meets Happiness: In 2018, the conversation surrounding happiness is becoming more important. Recent studies have revealed crucial details surrounding happiness. One, people overall aren’t happy: The UN report (155 countries surveyed) reveals a world with a mediocre 5/10 happiness score. Two, happiness is a far more expansive concept than just wellness: physical health is one key measure (along with income, trust in government), but social connection plays an extraordinary role in human happiness. Another mounting body of science provides the other key “happiness” lesson: alarming research on how designed-for-addiction smartphones and social media are creating a depression, anxiety, suicide, addiction, and extreme body issues epidemic. The happiness science lessons are clear: the wellness world needs to put a greater focus on happiness generally – and on driving social connection and technology disconnection specifically.

Mushrooms Emerge from Underground: Whether “magic” or medicinal, the superpowers of mushrooms are coming to light. The report states that in 2018, more people will explore the unique medicine mushrooms can provide for our brains and bodies. The report also states that so many “regular” mushrooms are magical for health: particularly as stress and inflammation fighters.

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A New Era of Transformative Wellness Travel: Transformational travel is appearing as a buzzword in 2018, being used to describe “travel that challenges people on a deeply personal level, creating emotion through the powerful medium of storytelling.” GWS is predicting that 2018 will bring more wellness destinations using the power of wellness circuits and epic storylines to create a “necklace” of linked wellness experiences rather than the disconnected “beads” of programming, amenities, and itineraries.

Getting our “Clean Air Act” Together: The wellness industry is ready to take personal responsibility for the air we breathe. According to the report, the toxins in the air that we breathe (both indoors and out) have become a catastrophic invisible killer, responsible for the premature deaths of 6.5 million people worldwide. Over 90 percent of the world’s population now breathe air that violates air quality guidelines: countries like China and India are smothered in toxic air, while the (energy efficient) airtight buildings in developed nations can prove just as deadly. As the gravity of this issue becomes clearer – and disagreements over standards get left on the table by governments – we will see individuals owning their own “clean air acts.”

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Reframing the First 1,000 Days: In our mom-centric world, we have not recognized that the health and lifestyle choices of both parents during the pre-conception period – including emotional wellness – can impact their child’s health for a lifetime. This new trend challenges us to look before the traditional 1,000 days of pregnancy and early childhood and puts sharp focus on the role of epigenetics, the study of how gene expression changes with environmental and lifestyle factors, and that can be inherited. It also examines the father’s role in creating a supportive and healthy environment during pregnancy and after birth.

Extreme Wellness: The power to become the best we can be has never been more attainable, and the pursuit of wellness has never been more extreme. An age of hyper-personalized, deep-view health and wellness, thanks to tests combining DNA, epigenetic and microbiome testing (like Wellness FX), is on the horizon. In the name of physical and mental wellness, humans are re-wiring themselves to achieve the once impossible. In 2018, extreme challenges and experiences will bring a wealth of super powers to everyday, ordinary humans.

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The Wellness Kitchen: Our kitchens are finally catching up with our healthy eating habits. For generations, kitchens have been places where we store dead food in dark cupboards – that would be consumed months, or even years, later. However, the old eating and lifestyle habits of the 1950s are history, and today more people want to eat living, healthy, organic food. The newly christened “Wellness Kitchen” will store and showcase fresh fruits and vegetables as opposed to processed foods, and new designs and technology will celebrate uncluttered, well-ventilated spaces that are as encouraging of socializing as they are of preparing healthy food.

A New Feminist Wellness: From a surge in women-only wellness-infused clubs and co-working spaces–to a storm of FemTech “solving” for women’s bodies, the GWS 2018 trend report feels that the global economic future is certainly female. According to the report, we’ll see more women-only clubs, co-working spaces, and collectives, where women work, network, empower each other, unwind and learn – with much wellness on tap. There will also be more wellness travel squarely aimed at women’s empowerment, from more tough all-women’s adventure travel to more “painmoons,” wellness retreats providing women emotional healing after divorce, breakups, grief, anger, loss of sexual happiness, and more.

Related Story: Meet the Speakers of American Spa’s Women in Wellness Conference

Access GSW’s full 90-page report here.

Take a look at American Spa’s top 10 trend picks for 2018 here. And don’t forget to register for our 2018 Trend Report webinar hosted live on americanspa.com on Monday, Feb. 29 at 1 pm EST.