TREND: Extreme Wellness

Your Brain Fully Optimized

The “designer brain” has arrived. The technology and know-how that enables us to rewire our brains to perform better—whether it’s cognitive improvement or mental wellness or a greater sense of happiness—there’s now a brain hack you can try.

Brain health is already big business. The market for brain supplements is forecast to reach $11.6 billion by 2024, up from $2.3 billion in 2015. Memory enhancement is a key driver, but people are also looking for better mental attention/focus, sleep recovery and even dream enhancement. Nootropics (supplements that are “smart” cognitive enhancers) are making their way into spas and the world of wellness—a biohack café stocked with nootropics could be coming to a Six Senses destination near you!

There are so many diverse brain hacks that rewire our brains to perform better—or simply be more content. For instance, the founders of the Flow Genome Project aim to help you get into a brain “flow state” with the help of neuroscience, promising “heightened creativity, increased performance, and accelerated problem-solving” all by training the body and the brain to reach this optimal state.

We are seeing more “brain wellness centers” like Field, a private members’ club in New York, which cultivates “elite minds” by using neuromodulation technology to enhance the brain’s performance—and offers personalized brain function treatments that take into account so many factors, from psychodynamics to their genes to their brain activity.

The “brain hacking” approaches promise to get even more extreme—and more mainstream—because the science indicates that we really can train our minds to perform and feel better.

Forecasting The Future

The brain health/optimization trend will only boom in the future, given so many relentless macro forces. For one, we live in a world that is aging at an unprecedented rate: According to WHO, between 2015 and 2050, the world’s population over 60 will double, reaching 2 billion, up from 900 million. Another force: With the rise of an always-on digital life barraging us with negative “junk” and throwaway info, people are desperately seeking to regain their sanity, focus and memory.

If the wellness world just a few years ago focused more narrowly on physical health, today new approaches to mental wellbeing and brain health are clearly ascendant. And brain optimization will mean more than just thinking “better, faster, smarter.” A key trend (first driven by Silicon Valley) is “consciousness hackers” who use technology to reach a deeper spiritual place or state of happiness (without the constraints of religion or the time it takes to become a master meditator).

We’ll see more brain fitness solutions bent on improving concentration and productivity from companies, such as BrainHQ or Cognifit, and more innovative brain technologies, such as Palo Alto’s Transformative Technology Lab experimenting with brain-machine interfaces that pulse light to the brain to energize the neural cell’s mitochondria to activate a better state of mind—designed as an alternative to pharmaceuticals or spiritual meditation.


This is an excerpt from the TRENDIUM, a bi-weekly communication exploring the wellness trends identified in the 2018 Global Wellness Trends Report.
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