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GWI reveals 2021 wellness trends

Photo by Alexandr Povolny from Pexels

Hollywood wellness programming, evidence-backed approaches to immunity, breathwork, and the self-care renaissance are some of the trends predicted by the Global Wellness Institute for this year.

Other trends identified by the GWI include the following: The year that travel reset; Adding colour to wellness; Resetting events with wellness; Financial wellness; and Spiritual and numinous (i.e. having a spiritual or religious quality) moments in architecture.

GWI VP of Research & Forecasting, Beth McGroarty, predicts that Hollywood and the entertainment industries will jump into wellness. She writes: “There will be collaborations between Big Media and the wellness world and binge-able wellness programming of all kinds – a trend that could impact billions of lives and which feels awfully overdue.”

McGroarty also believes that the future of immune health is a case of ‘stop boosting, start balancing’. She continues: “Immunity has become a consumer obsession led by a blitz of pop-it, guzzle-it, IV-drip-it ‘immune-boosting’ superfoods and supplements – none of which change the complex immune system significantly. Moreover, the primary ways the wellness industry has been addressing immunity are flat-out wrong. The future is evidence-backed approaches to immune health, with metabolic health, the microbiome, and personalised nutrition leading the trend. And we’ll see more experimentation with everything from ‘positive stress’ experiences to intermittent fasting for immune resilience.”

As part of the GWI trends report, Sandra Ballentine, beauty and health editor at large of W Magazine, writes about how top medical schools agree that how we breathe has a profound impact on our physical and mental health. Writes Ballentine: “Enter 2021 and a new trend – the people, places, techniques and tech that are pushing breathwork into exciting new directions. Consider this: The Breath Biohacker and The Breathvangelist are among the many go-to breathing experts, with breath parties and festivals the place to be.”

In terms of the self-care renaissance, Cecelia Girr, cultural strategy director of TBWA Worldwide, writes that 300 years after the first Medical Renaissance (1400-1700), there is a new era in healthcare. “Wellness is learning to lean into science, establish standards and hold itself accountable. At the same time, healthcare is beginning to borrow from the wellness playbook, transforming a once sterile and strictly curative industry into a more holistic, lifestyle-oriented and even pleasurable one. Look to a future where healthcare and wellness converge – and prescriptions may be coupled with hyper-personalised guides for optimal health.”

Commenting on the adding colour to wellness trend, GWI research fellow Tonia Callender observes that the graphic videos and the protests of last year made diversity and inclusion a popular topic in the wellness industry. She writes: “This provocative trend discusses Black wellness and its role in the wellness industry and the different ways Black people experience wellness offerings and spaces. It also provides insights into the future, highlighting how companies are changing the wellness narrative by adding colour to wellness.”

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