20 Oct 2018 Spa Business Handbook
 

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Spa Business Handbook - Global Wellness Initiatives

Industry insights

Global Wellness Initiatives


The GWI now has 24 initiatives, each directed by an industry chair with the support of a global team. We caught up with seven of those chairs to get an update on what’s new

Introduction by Susie Ellis, Global Wellness Institute chair and CEO

A central pillar of the non-profit Global Wellness Institute is to support a fast-growing number of global industry initiatives. These taskforces have a collective mission to solve pressing problems and create new conversations and awareness – for a particular wellness market (whether wellness tourism. wellness architecture or workplace wellness) or a burning topic (like wellness for children or the issue of wellness in the digital age) or for a particular region (the Africa Wellness or Eastern European Initiatives).

The GWI now serves as the umbrella organisation for 24 diverse initiatives, each directed by an initiative chair who is a leader in that particular area of focus, and with a supporting global team of passionate members who donate their time and insight for the greater good of their industry and to drive more wellbeing in the world. The initiative model has been a great one for the GWI, because it lets experts from all over the world create their own mission and topic, set up their taskforce, and then lets them run with it.

I’ve watched them take on a life of their own, meeting regularly to move forward on their different projects – whether undertaking needed new research studies or campaigns to raise awareness around an issue, or holding roundtables around the world. The GWI could never accomplish on our own what these Initiatives can do, because the world is a very big place and wellness is made up of so many sectors and sub-sectors.

Although all the GWI Initiatives are relevant to the spa industry, the following puts the spotlight on several that have some particularly strong connections to it. Some have just launched (like the Digital Wellness and Sound Healing Initiatives) and others have been going strong for years (like the Hydrothermal and Wellness for Cancer Initiatives). And more are being formed all the time.

In the following pages, each chair summarises in their own words what their overarching mission is, what they’ve accomplished recently, and what their plans are for the coming year. We encourage spa and wellness experts to explore the Initiatives and get involved – whether by creating a new initiative or joining an existing one.


Beauty Meets Wellness  
Chair: Mike Bruggeman


 

Mike Bruggeman
 
CEO Organic Male OM4 – US

The vision of the Beauty Meets Wellness Initiative is to scientifically connect beauty and wellness, and create a new vocabulary that positions beauty as an active contributor to the health and wellbeing of consumers worldwide. Its mission is to empower the development of expert knowledge and resources to accelerate the beauty industry’s ability to create new “well” products and services and facilitate change in the industry narrative from anti-ageing to age-embracing, or promoting skin health and wellness at any age.

The Initiative conducted three global roundtables in 2017: in New York, London and Hong Kong. Their purpose was to tap into multiple global stakeholders to hear their perspectives on the connection between beauty and wellness – or lack thereof. In total, 112 participants from all industry sectors – dermatology, spa, global brands, plastics, the FDA, spa consulting, architecture, medicine, fragrance, wellness practitioners, etc. – provided valuable insights that helped shape the vision of the initiative for 2018 and beyond.

In 2018, the major deliverable is to complete the Global Consumer Insights Study, which will capture the consumer’s voice and check alignment between the industry and what consumers actually desire. The study was prompted by a hot topic discussed at each recent roundtable: the connection between beauty and mental wellbeing, as it would appear that the current beauty narrative often promotes a “pathology of perfection.” Ironically, as we were discussing this in 2017, Allure magazine announced it will no longer use the term “anti-ageing” in future publications, signaling a sea change and a move to a more age-embracing narrative.

A fourth global roundtable is also slated for Miami, focusing on the Hispanic/Latino voice, which will set the stage for the initiative’s future work.


"It would appear that the current beauty narrative often promotes a ‘pathology of perfection"

 


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The Initiative hopes to facilitate changing the narrative from anti-ageing to age-embracing

Mental Wellness
Chair: Prof. Gerry Bodeker, PhD


 

Prof. Gerry Bodeker, PhD
 
Dept. of Epidemiology Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, Columbia University

The Mental Wellness Initiative was created in 2016 to identify, understand and promote evidence-based practices, lifestyle choices and psychological development as pathways to becoming and staying well. Here the overarching goal is thriving – enabling mental wellbeing, happiness and continued growth and fulfillment throughout the adult lifespan.

By coming to understand what it is we are capable of, meaningful goals and evidence-based roadmaps can be created for living a life of fulfillment and higher potential. Paths to fulfilling our higher potential can also be ways of reducing mental health concerns and mental illness.

The focus of the team so far has been to map out those pathways and create an evidence base to support their validity. This resulted in the Mental Wellness Evidence Base, and this in turn laid the foundations for a white paper on mental wellness. Set to be published in late 2018, the report, Mental Wellness: Pathways, Evidence and Horizons, will present new directions in self-guided mental wellbeing. It identifies how the brain correlates many of these pathways and the capacity of the brain, the body, the mind, and the emotions to work together in a synchronised journey to optimal human growth and fulfillment.


"Evidence-based roadmaps can be created for living a life of fulfillment"

 


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A new white paper from the Mental Wellness Initiative is due out in late 2018

Sound Healing
Chair: Suzannah Long


 

Suzannah Long
 
CEO So Sound

I’m honoured to chair the new Sound Healing Initiative, because as an active member of the sound healing community for more than 20 years, it brings me joy to bring the power of sound healing to the global stage. This Initiative’s mission is to amplify global awareness, research and education about the transformational experience of sound. Sound therapy empowers consumers in proactively becoming ‘response-able’ for their health and wellbeing. We’re gathering existing research and enrolling global market leaders in our committee who are actively working with sound, music and acoustic resonance/vibrational therapies in healthcare; corporate wellness; hospitality/spa; education; dentistry; chiropractic, physical and massage therapy; fitness and wellness centres; cancer; MS, Alzheimer’s and assisted living centres; psychology; bedding; PTSD, autism and other special needs care facilities. This Initiative will broadcast the research studies and efforts made by sound healers worldwide. Recently we’ve launched a ten-bed clinical hospital study using sound/acoustic resonance technology to support optimal patient wellness, rest and recovery. In addition to helping patients, our goal for creating sound sanctuaries is to support doctors, nurses, staff and the community in proactively reducing anxiety, pain and compassion fatigue. Sound sanctuaries are also extremely impactful in the corporate environment, helping employees become more centred, creative and productive.


"We want to amplify awareness about the transformational experience of sound"

 


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The Initiative is gathering research on the benefits of sound therapy

Digital Wellness
Chair: Jeremy McCarthy


 

Jeremy McCarthy
 
Group director of spa & wellness Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

The focus of the Digital Wellness Initiative has been to identify the potential risks to human wellbeing from the rapid emergence of mobile technology. It has brought together experts from healthcare, economics, technology and wellness to explore the intersection between technology and wellness in a recent report entitled ‘Wellness in the Age of the Smartphone’. The paper identifies areas where technology may be interfering with human wellbeing:

1. Sleep: Technologies designed to drive engagement often compete with sleep. Time spent on devices is correlated with lower quality and quantity of sleep. 2. Inactivity: Technology is leading us towards an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, with negative implications for our physiology. 3. Mental Health: Rising levels of anxiety and depression have links to technology usage. 4. Relationships: Technology changes the way we relate to one another. Despite living in the “connected age”, loneliness is on the rise. 5. Safety: Technology-induced distraction is now a key factor in accidents. 6. Productivity: Ironically, the most technologically advanced countries seem to be becoming less productive, not more.

The report is already generating interesting discussions in industries such as technology and education, and they’re helping us determine where to focus our efforts in the future.


 


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Loneliness is on the rise in the ‘connected age’

Wellness Architecture
Chair: Veronica Schreibeis Smith


 

Veronica Schreibeis Smith
 
CEO & founding principal Vera Iconica Design

The Wellness Architecture Initiative has three core objectives for 2018. The first is to build resources on the Initiative webpage to help inform the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industries on how the built environment impacts health and wellbeing. This resource will direct professionals to the key definitions, principles, guidelines and evidence. Secondly, reports will be published this autumn that begin to answer the industry’s biggest questions surrounding wellness architecture. The content has been generated by leading international thought-leaders who have gathered over the last twelve months at multiple think-tank and roundtable sessions. We also plan to host a roundtable at the AIA Wyoming Design for Wellness Conference in September. Participants will include leading architects, design practitioners, scientists, doctors and planners.

As the AEC Industry transitions from environmentalism to “well-ism,” awareness and education is one of the biggest needs. Our long-term objective is to honour all building and design practices that enhance health and wellbeing, to be the go-to platform to share ancient wisdoms and emerging sciences, and to provide education opportunities that have not yet been established in traditional academic curriculums.



Hydrothermal
Chair: Don Genders


 

Don Genders
 
Managing director Design for Leisure

As anyone in spa and wellness knows, hydrothermal areas are among the most expensive and intricate to develop – from creating a natural flow from experience to experience, to making sure the extensive amount of water required is obtained as sustainably as possible, to ensuring that water doesn’t infiltrate and damage any other areas of a building, to simply understanding what hydrothermal experiences might be the best fit for the potential guests. These and many other issues are what the Hydrothermal Initiative’s 17 members are dedicated to solving for the industry.

It was founded to arm anyone – whether architect, builder, spa designer or spa operator – with the tools and information they need to create an effective hydrothermal area. The result is the popular Guide to Hydrothermal Spa & Wellness Development Standards, a book first published by the Initiative in 2014.

In 2018, the Initiative will release its 3rd edition of the Guide to Hydrothermal Spa & Wellness Development Standards. And it promises to feature expanded content on hot springs and geothermal mineral waters with the help of the Hot Springs Initiative, as well as new specifics on building residential spa areas and a look at the technology that has evolved to enhance the use of hydrothermal areas.


"Hydrothermal areas are among the most expensive and intricate to develop"

 


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The initiative will have expanded content on hot springs

Wellness for Cancer
Chair: Julie Bach


 

Julie Bach
 
Executive director Wellness for Cancer

This Initiative creates greater industry awareness, cancer-aware guidelines, and programmes and solutions about how to safely and ethically address the topic of cancer with the broader context of wellness and wellbeing. The goals for 2018/2019 are to: 1) Develop cancer-aware guidelines with the medical industry, and test them through pilots within the wellness industry, to see if we’re able to adapt what we do with greater safety and efficacy. 2) Address areas of opportunity or impasses that limit the industry’s potential, and 3) Secure charitable donations to fund new research projects.

The Initiative held its second roundtable at the Mayo Clinic in May 2018, and participants included leading integrative doctors, wellness leaders, and cancer charities. The roundtable’s theme was “Teachable moments, fostering healthy behavioral lifestyle choices through the cancer continuum” – and it built upon the initiative’s leadership role in bridging medical evidence with specifically adapted cancer-aware guidelines and programmes for the spa and wellness world.

People don’t want to be defined by their cancer and they shouldn’t be.

This is the overall focus of the initiative – to change the lens, to provide appropriate evidence-based guidelines and knowledge foundations, and to shepherd the spa and wellness industry in a new direction with safety and efficacy.



Originally published in Spa Business Handbook 2018 issue 1

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