8 Wellness Trends for 2017 – And Beyond

Global Wellness Summit experts identify future directions for the $4.2 trillion wellness industry: from a new focus on “silence” at hotels, retreats and spas – to the bold reinvention of sauna-going – to wellness rewriting both the architecture and beauty industries

When 500+ wellness experts from 46+ nations gather to debate the future of wellness, you have one uniquely authoritative and global view of the trends set to unfold. And that’s what happened at the recent tenth-anniversary Global Wellness Summit in Kitzbühel, Austria, which (with its specifically future-focused theme for 2016, “Back to the Future”) brought together leaders from the travel, spa, beauty, fitness, nutrition, technology, medical, economics and architecture worlds, to identify not only what the top wellness trends in 2017 (and beyond) will be – but why.

With a wave of annual wellness trends reports, the future shifts that Summit experts identified have a distinct “get real” quality: from architects finally designing buildings for human health to many new directions ahead in mental wellness to the wellness industry reaching beyond its (narrowing) association with wealthy elites. And much innovation lies ahead: from a new focus on both “silent” and creativity and arts programming (whether at hotels, spas or fitness studios) to the 2,000-year-old sauna tradition getting a 21stcentury reimagining.

“No other forecast is based on the perspectives of so many wellness experts, from renowned economists, academics or futurists to the heads of global hospitality, spa and beauty brands,” said Susie Ellis, GWS Chairman & CEO. “And it makes for a powerfully collective, global and informed set of predictions.”

After the trends were identified, Global Wellness Summit researchers expanded on the global angles and examples to illustrate the ways they’re already taking shape in our world.


The 2017 Global Wellness Trends

1. Sauna Reinvented

From theatrical Sauna Aufguss events to jaw-dropping amphitheater saunas…sweating will get more spectacular and social in years ahead

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2. Wellness Architecture

Healthy-for-Humans Building…Finally

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3. Silence

From silent spas – to wellness monasteries and “down-time abbeys” – to silent eating

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4. Art & Creativity Take Center Stage

Yes, adult coloring books – but well beyond: from classical concerts to intensive painting classes at hotels, wellness retreats, spas and studios

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5. Wellness Remakes Beauty

Borders between beauty and wellness blur: the $999 billion beauty sector gets a shake up thanks to seismic shifts in the way we aspire to and perceive true beauty

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6. The Future is Mental Wellness

Mental wellness will be the biggest future trend, period: from wellness destinations and spas bringing in neuroscientists and psychotherapists – to meditation becoming seriously mainstream, while evolving into new breeds – to part-mind, part-body workout brands – to apps that track your mental state

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7. Embracing the C-Word

Wellness industry stops turning away cancer sufferers and, instead, provides comfort, solace and positive recovery paths

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8. Beyond the Elite “Ghettos” of Wellness

In a world where rising inequality and a sense of “unfairness” is leading to a global, populist backlash – a wellness industry that’s become narrowly associated with wealthy elites (…the $300 yoga pants and treatments) must, and will, change

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