Media Contact: Beth McGroarty
[email protected] • +1.213.300.0107

Global Wellness Summit Presents 5 Trends for the Thriving Florida Wellness Market

From leading the world in wellness communities and lifestyle real estate to a focus on the “science of happiness,” Florida is an innovator

Miami, FL – May 3, 2017 – The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the premier conference for the $3.7 trillion global wellness industry, today released five key trends shaping the future of Florida’s wellness market at a press conference held at The Breakers, Palm Beach, the site of the 11th annual Global Wellness Summit.

The 2017 Summit theme, “Living a Well Life,” will put a spotlight on how the future of wellness will impact every aspect of an individual’s life. The GWS, which takes place October 9-11, will include keynotes from dozens of high-profile experts, including Dr. Richard Carmona, former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Mehmet Oz, and draw 500+ delegates from over 45 nations to South Florida.

“Florida is a booming wellness market, and a real pioneer: for instance, it’s the uncontested world leader in developing new wellness communities and real estate concepts,” said Susie Ellis, GWS chairman & CEO. “Having the Summit back in the U.S. opens up unique opportunities for a dynamic, future-focused agenda – as we will hear from so many visionaries and entrepreneurs from the largest and most innovative wellness economy in the world.”

“Without a doubt, GWS delegates will walk away from this year’s Summit with a deep understanding and appreciation of how businesses can holistically embrace wellness and thrive,” said Paul Leone, CEO of The Breakers.

5 Wellness Trends in Florida

At today’s press conference introducing Florida media to the upcoming Summit, five experts presented five wellness trends now unfolding in Florida: Maggie Hsu, Summit Co-Chair and Adviser at; Clare Martorana, GWS Co-Chair and Member of the United States Digital Service at the White House; Denise Bober, VP of Human Resources at The Breakers; Susie Ellis, Summit Chairman and CEO; and Nancy Davis, Executive Director of the GWS. Each of the following global trends with special significance for Florida will be key topics at the Summit.

1) Florida: World Leader in Wellness Communities & Lifestyle Real Estate

Homes and communities designed for residents’ physical, mental, social and environmental health represent one of the fastest growing wellness markets: growing globally from $100 billion in 2013 to $119 billion in 2015 – and projected to jump to $153 billion by 20201. And Florida is the hands-down world pioneer and leader: a hotbed for experimenting with wellness real estate concepts. A few reasons: Florida is the birthplace of New Urbanism (examples like Seaside and Celebration), which emphasize crucial design features like mixed use, walkability, traditional neighborhoods and transit-oriented development, which paved the way for the broader concept of “wellness communities” – and the state experiences powerful population growth and inbound migration (from retirees to working people with families), driving constant creativity in new, more appealing housing concepts.

Florida has had shining examples of wellness communities for years. Canyon Ranch Living (operating 2008-2015) was the first mover. And 14-square-mile “smart” wellness city, Lake Nona (Orlando), now represents the most sophisticated example in the world of what master planning for human health and wellness can accomplish. And no development pipeline is more packed with diverse “wellness living” concepts than Florida’s. Just a few examples: The District: A Life Well Lived is underway in Jacksonville (from the founder of Celebration), with a wealth of healthy programs and much-needed affordable housing options to “farm and garden” focused wellness living developments like The Grow (Orlando) or Pine Dove Farm (Tallahassee) to super-luxe, urban, high-rise wellness condos like The Chopra Residences at Muse Residences (Sunny Isles Beach), a collaboration between Dr. Deepak Chopra; well-building company, Delos; and Property Management Group. Florida is way ahead of the curve on the wellness communities and lifestyle real estate trend, and looks to only expand on that title in the future.


2) “Conscious Travel”: A Destination’s Values to Increasingly Impact Consumer Choice

The environmental values of businesses and hospitality properties have been impacting consumer choice for years. But a future trend – for Florida and the world – is how the human values of a business/property will matter more. For example, the concept of “wellness travel” will no longer be confined to healthy guest programming, it will increasingly include how well the employees that deliver all this hospitality/wellness are treated or how much a property gives back. A few standout philanthropy-focused wellness travel concepts in the U.S.: The Golden Door, a California destination spa that gives back every dime of net profits to (mostly women’s) charities and Fogo Island (Newfoundland, Canada), where every dollar of profit goes back to restoring the economic fortunes of its once-struggling local island community.

If it’s a disturbing paradox that most global wellness resorts have not made the wellbeing of their workers a priority, Florida’s The Breakers-Palm Beach is a star counter-example: putting the wellness of their 2,000-strong workforce at the heart of everything they do. Their award-winning workplace wellness programs span a dizzying array of physical, mental, financial, environmental, family and community health initiatives – from healthy employee eating programs like an on-site green market to complimentary fitness classes to a host of work-life balance initiatives, including 50-hour work-week limits and extremely affordable child and elderly care on demand. And The Breakers’ data reveals how “doing good” by employees is the lynchpin to thriving as a business: reporting very low turnover and high productivity rates, and employee healthcare costs that are rising at nearly half the national annual business average (4.3% vs. 8%) over the last eight years.

People worldwide are increasingly concerned about sharpening economic and wellbeing inequalities, and the wellness businesses of the future that will be sustainable and successful (because people can honestly feel good about them) will adopt new employee, community and philanthropic campaigns…and broadcast their “human” values as clearly as they would their LEED certification.


3) A Coming Wave of DNA, Personal Biomarker & Epigenetic Testing

Over the next 5 years a flood of individual genetic tests, followed by more sophisticated personal biomarker and epigenetic tests, will hit Florida (and the world) – radically rewriting how healthcare, wellness and prevention get done. The first wave of mainstream genetic tests, like 23andMe, returns pure probability data: you have X% more risk of developing certain health conditions. Critical info, but limited by nature, because it’s not our genes that most powerfully determine what diseases we get, but lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, stress, pharmacological interventions and our environment. Enter the science of epigenetics: the analysis of how we turn our genes “on” and “off”, and the basis for new tests that measure dozens of personal biomarkers to identify what’s genetically modifiable. For instance, a new three-part test coming this year called Wellness FX (a collaboration with Mayo Clinic) combines a genetic test; comprehensive blood, body and biomarker diagnostics testing; and an intestinal biome test (pinpointing what your body can actually absorb/benefit from, whether specific drugs or foods) – to give a 365-degree personal health profile.

These more evolved epigenetic and personal biomarker tests will ultimately make possible the Holy Grail: precision medicine and wellness, which can identify everything from what drugs/dosages a person should take to what’s the best diet for them. And this coming tsunami of genetic and biomarker tests are especially relevant, and a unique business opportunity, for Florida, because of the state’s largely aging population. Almost 1 in 5 Floridians are over 65, and no state is experiencing a more intense inbound migration of seniors: projected to nearly double the senior population (to 10 million) by 2030. Older Floridians are living longer, and desperately want to live well as long as possible. So, new business models revolving around these cutting-edge tests will arise in Florida (they already are): whether at medical institutions, medical-wellness centers, or spas, because the interpretation of results and subsequent “prescriptions” need to be overseen by medical professionals. And the coming wave of epigenetic tests will forge stronger connections between the medical and wellness worlds, as the things proven to most positively impact genetic expression are diet, exercise, meditation and stress reduction.


4) New Directions in Mental Wellness

For decades, a physical health focus has dominated in the wellness industry, far overshadowing mental wellness. That ubiquitous industry term “mind-body” hasn’t been an equal marriage, and perhaps significantly less so in Florida with its “body beautiful” culture. But with a serious mental wellness crisis skyrocketing in Florida (and the world), wellness resorts, spas, and fitness/wellness centers (along with schools and workplaces) are suddenly ramping up the “healthy mind” programming. The stats on the spiking depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, and suicide rates are alarming, so much so that the World Health Organization has forecast that by 2030 the world’s largest health risk will be depression (not obesity). In the U.S., roughly 1 in 5 people experience an actual anxiety disorder in any given year (NIH). And Florida has special challenges: ranking 50th among states for public mental health program spending.

So many forces are conspiring to make us unhappier and more stressed: from the new always-on work and digital connections – to social media keeping us “alone together” – to a new world of “fake news” where any agreed-upon idea of reality is disappearing. And Florida’s wellness industry is responding, by rolling out creative new mental wellness approaches…

– Integrative mental wellness concepts, like wellness destinations adding neuroscientists and psychotherapists. For instance, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort just brought in neuroscientist Dr. Adonis Maiquez to provide guests with brain health and medical advice at their massive 65,000 square foot spa. Or Rezilir Health (Hollywood, FL), where clinicians deliver integrative brain health plans, spanning everything from stress-reduction to conventional neuropsychiatric care. (Now available to guests at Ame Spa & Wellness Collective at Turnberry Isle Miami, with their new Rezilir Health partnership.)

– Meditation Mainstreaming: Meditation is becoming the “new yoga” at Florida’s wellness hotels, resorts and studios. And unintimidating drop-in meditation studios are launching, like Innergy in Miami Beach, promising “no gimmicks” mindfulness classes all day long.

– Sleep is IT: As evidence mounts that sleep is the key to mental wellbeing, sleep programs are hitting the tipping point: whether wellness destinations bringing in doctors to design sleep-inducing programs to spas focusing on sleep. Just one example: Miami Beach Edition Spa hooks guests up to a Biotic Wave micro-current machine encouraging the brain into “deep sleep mode” after treatments.

– More Arts, Creativity & Dance: Classes getting people painting, drawing, writing, journaling, dancing, singing and crafting (at hotels, wellness retreats, spas and fitness studios) are on the rise, as a raft of studies show the powerful impact that creative expression has on depression and anxiety. And the creativity programs are maturing beyond the “adult coloring book”: for instance, Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa (Palm Beach) has offered nights of oil painting under the stars. And social dance classes, not just dance as physical exercise, are poised to surge, as medical evidence mounts for its strong impact on mood and forestalling brain aging. Florida, with a rich dance culture – from samba to salsa – brings unique resources here.

– Breathwork: Studies show that proper breathing controls brain waves that can reduce anxiety, insomnia and depression. And breathwork training is happening at more Florida wellness centers/spas, like during massages at Bamford Haybarn Spa at 1 Hotel (South Beach).

– “Out There” Approaches: A striking thing about the wellness landscape today is how practices that would have been perceived as New Agey and “out there” a few years ago are now the hottest trends. Desperately stressed people seem to be seeking ever further on their journey for mental wellness, and this is especially true in Florida. At Tierra Santa Healing House at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, focused on indigenous South American healing, celebrity shamans are the new mind coaches. At Vigor Me wellness center (Miami Beach) try Clas Therapy, a “brain balancer” which synchronizes color, light, sound and aroma therapies to reduce stress. And the stress-melting flotation tank trend is heating up in Florida, like at Floatessence in Boca Raton.

– Silence & Unplugging: In a world of 24/7 connectedness, more Florida wellness destinations are focusing on silence and unplugging. Just one example: at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Miami guests experience a new Digital Wellness Program, where you surrender your phone, follow a Mayo Clinic-designed mindfulness regime, and at checkout, reclaim your device (repackaged in a protective gold shield).


5) The Science of Happiness

As long as governments have been measuring their progress, they have focused narrowly on GDP and income gains. But slowly over the last few years, a new science (and measurement of) “total happiness” is gaining ground. For instance, since 2012, Gallup-Healthways has issued its “Global Wellbeing Index” measuring total wellbeing for nations worldwide, while the annual World Happiness Report is released each year to coincide with the UN’s International Day of Happiness on March 20th.

What’s crucial about these new studies is that they dramatically expand the concept of wellbeing beyond GDP (“money”). For instance, the World Happiness Report also measures five other factors: healthy years of life expectancy, social support, trust, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity. And each year the studies find that beyond financial and physical health, that components like social support and connection, a perception of “fairness”, and mental wellness, are paramount for human happiness. Which is why poorer, unhealthier nations can rank happier than rich, healthy nations – and Northern European nations always hit it out of the park.

Suddenly, there is real momentum for this science of happiness. (The 2017 World Happiness Report generated a million downloads the first day!) And governments are taking action: for instance, the UAE has established numerous “happiness” initiatives, including appointing the world’s first Minister for Happiness. And now the happiness movement has landed squarely in Florida, when in March the World Happiness Summit (WOHASU) was held in Miami, the first global gathering of happiness experts coming together to help everyone from governments to regular people bring more of the six key elements of wellbeing (social, financial, community, physical, sense of purpose, and mindfulness) into their life and policies. This conference will help brand Florida as a happiness innovator, and you can see that the concept is already starting to percolate. For instance, Miami’s Mayor has stated that his goal is to make Miami the happiest large city in the U.S. And, according to the most recent Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index, while Florida ranks 11th among states for total wellbeing, several Florida metro regions are national leaders. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island residents led the entire nation in reported wellbeing for the second straight year, while North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton ranked sixth out of 189 American cities.

The new “science of happiness” will impact Florida’s wellness culture in diverse ways. For instance, a focus on mental wellness, social connection, positive psychology, mindfulness and building healthy, close communities will become more important. You can see the happiness trend start to impact wellness programs: for instance, Florida psychotherapist and wellness guru, Erica Korman, created the 3H method (healed, healthy and happy), and The Grand Beach Hotel (Miami) has brought her in for happiness workshops. And as studies increasingly reveal that happy workers are healthier and more productive ones, more workplace wellness programs will tackle employee happiness. For instance, The Breakers recently brought in Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness, for employee workshops. Sunny Florida has always had happiness as part of its “brand” (after all, it’s home to “the happiest place on earth”) – but the happiness focus looks to move in new, very different directions.

For more info on the press conference or trends, contact Beth McGroarty: [email protected] or 213-300-0107.

About the Global Wellness Summit: The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) is an invitation-only international gathering that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $3.7 trillion global wellness economy. Held in a different location each year, Summits have taken place in the U.S., Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico and Austria. The next one will be held at The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida from Oct. 9-11, 2017.

1Global Wellness Institute, “2017 Global Wellness Economy Monitor”


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