2018 Spa and Wellness Trend: DNA Testing

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As spas seek to offer more customized options, DNA testing is providing another avenue in which to ensure spa-goers get exactly what they need based on their genetic makeup. It’s really no surprise with the popularity of such kits as AncestryDNA and 23andMe that an increasing number of people are looking to science to help them live longer and healthier lives. If they can look younger in the process, even better. 

In fact, 23andMe recently partnered with the Procter and Gamble brand Olay to identify what factors help people look younger. Although the study found that certain lifestyle choices might be more significant than genes when it comes to achieving youthful-looking skin, the study illustrates the growing relevance of genetic testing when it comes to product formulations. “In this study, having skin that looks exceptionally young—ageless—was not down to luck; genetics plays some role, but factors within women’s control have larger effects,” says Frauke Neuser, Ph.D., principal scientist of Olay Skin Care. “Future genomics and genetics research might enable us to provide increasingly personalized services and product solutions for women around the world.” Olay introduced a number of reformulated products based on the results of the study. 

According to Grand View Research, the DNA testing market is anticipated to reach $10 billion by 2022. Not surprisingly, the spa industry is tapping into this trend and using DNA testing and genetics to deliver more effective results. This past August, Apuane Spa at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita (Mexico) introduced myDNA Retreat ($2,142), a revolutionary program offering fitness and nutritional recommendations based on genetics. According to spa director Paulina Mercader, the program involves a simple test in which a swab is rubbed against the inside of their cheek to collect a DNA sample. Guests may also opt for an a la carte skin test ($272), which helps determine skin elasticity, sun and free-radical damage, sensitivity, and more. The results of the skin test are also used to create a personalized cleaning tonic and cream. “The big step of moving from generic treatments and offerings to genetic-based prescriptions allows us to provide more accurate and effective recommendations to improve overall wellness and skin health,” says Mercader. 

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa (Vista, CA) also gives spa-goers access to advanced blood testing analysis, personalized consultations, and intuitive online health and habit tracking with WellnessFX ($1,575), a breakthrough technology that helps them measure cardiovascular, metabolic, hormonal, and nutritional health with a simple blood test. “Only by looking at blood biomarker and genetic markers in combination can recommendations be made that are truly unique to each person’s biology,” says Kathrin Nikolussi, chief business development officer of Thorne/WellnessFX. 

In another example of the role genetics is playing, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa (Rancho Santa Fe, CA) just partnered with the Lifewellness Institute to launch the Wellness Collective, a series of workshops, lectures, and activities based on the science of epigenetics, the study of heritable changes in gene expression that don’t involve changes in the DNA. And at the Global Wellness Summit this past October, DNA and personal biomarker testing took center stage with epigenetics pioneer Kenneth R. Pelletier, Ph.D., M.D., keynoting a speech on how such testing is poised to transform the medical and wellness industries. According to him, “We are at an extraordinary tipping point with DNA, biomarker, and epigenetic testing—and the dam is about to burst.”   

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