A Global Wellness Movement
Susie Ellis, Chair of the Global Wellness Institute, tell us about what’s happening now, the future of preventive medicine and why wellness has turned into a global movement.
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It’s difficult to describe the many and extraordinary changes in wellness in the last 40 years! One is the amazing story of growth: from a deeply fragmented market (people thought of “wellness”, if they used the world at all, a maybe like “spas” or “dieting” to an ever-more expansively holistic, popular, defined concept that spans so many pursuits and sectors: yes, spas and healthy eating, but also mind-body fitness, wellness tourism, workplace wellness, complementary medicine, preventive/personalised medicine, wellness lifestyle real estate and beauty and anti-ageing. It’s hard to comprehend how much people worldwide have embraced more preventive approaches to health and wellbeing and how fast wellness is moving into new segments-from the homes we live.
Measurement and benchmarking is key to industry investment and growth, and probably one of the most critical contributions the Global Wellness Institute has made is to size the ten sectors of the global wellness economy. (The report, the Global Wellness Economy Monitor, was completely updated and released at the 2018 Summit). Our 2017 report found that wellness is a straggering $3.7 trillion industry, and one of the world’s fastest-growing, most resilient markets: growing nearly 11% from 2013-2015, while the global economy shrank by -3.6%-a growth gap of nearly 15%. Wellness expenditures are now nearly half as large as total global health expenditures ($7.6 trillion).
Perhaps the most deep shift coming is how people will consume wellness: less as an occasional luxury, and more infused into every aspect of daily life: how people eat, how they work (more workplace wellness), where they live (the rise of wellness communities and wellness lifestyle real estate), how they travel and even what they wear. So wellness will command a greater percentage of several multi-trillion dollar industries. The future is “wellness everywhere”-no longer just an infrequent luxury or experience. That is very exciting. Almost every industry is thinking about wellness now. We see developments like wellness architecture, wellness, travel, wellness for cancer, wellness in schools, wellness communities, wellness hotel rooms-and even see it percolating into traditional retail and department stores. In a world experiencing unprecedented stress, given our endless connection to devices and media and social media, we’ve seen a surge in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and loneliness, So, I see and inevitable continued surge in mental wellness: more creative pathways that can deliver peace, tech disconnection, community, stress relief and human touch becoming more important in the future. The wellness world has been more focused on the body, be it beauty, workouts or weight loss, but we will see a profoundly bigger emphasis on creative mental wellness and mind-body approaches-from meditation continuing to explode into the accessible mainstream to a continued focus on innovating healthy sleep to a bigger focus on digital disconnection. Finally, if the wellness revolution was largely consumer driven, I think we will see more governments, traditional medical institutions, insurance companies and employers embrace evidence-based wellness.