The Global Wellness Summit held at the end of December 2021 suggests a new era of health and wellness is in the offing.  The annual conference celebrated its 15th anniversary and brought together a historic number of experts from both the medical and wellness worlds, including keynotes from six doctors and professors from Harvard University.

Highlights from the summit included:

The Wellness Economy Is Forecast To Grow

All 11 wellness markets will experience strong growth; the ones hit hardest by the pandemic (wellness tourism, thermal/mineral springs, and spas) will see the biggest growth in the next four years; and the biggest pandemic “winners” (wellness real estate and mental wellness) will also see powerful market expansion.

In A Decade, 90 Is Likely To Be The New 40

The longevity science is clear: you are the coder of your own genes and the right wellness habits mean an unprecedented future of long, healthy lives.

Psilocybin Will Become A Key Medicine For Mental Health

Psychedelics and psilocybin are not being kept underground anymore: the medical research is on fire; there’s a steady decriminalisation/legalisation wave in the West, and investment in medical psilocybin and psychedelic companies is exploding.

The research shows that many people self-heal from serious/terminal diseases, defying explanation by traditional medicine–but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an explanation. Four components: healing your relationship to food, healing your stress response, healing your immune system, and healing your beliefs, are the key to overall wellbeing and the phenomenon of “self-cure.”

There is a strong call for a new “ecosystem of wellbeing”: a future where there is real unity between climate health and wellness (which hasn’t always been the case).

Women have long been ignored in medical research and far too little has been invested in women’s health.A new era is ahead, one with far more investment and innovation in women’s health solutions. Women are lifting the veil of silence and shame around issues such as menopause as never before (which affects one billion women, or 12% of the world population).

Circadian science companies will tackle the huge health problems that result when manmade ‘clock time’ is not aligned with people’s internal, individual circadian clocks. Future: apps and solutions that ‘shift’ our clocks back to true circadian time.

Senior living is also about to get completely disrupted because the current models are so far out of touch with the new (and coming) 55+ demographics’ mindsets and needs. The new ‘seniors’ want to live in communities that are multigenerational, regenerative for them and the community, and put purpose and meaning in life first.

The arts and an attention to ‘aesthetic wellness’ need to (and will) become a much bigger focus. One powerful example of where things are headed: how young generations are using music as therapy to escape screens and to connect with others.

The pandemic brutally exposed that health and wellness inequity is a bigger public health issue than we knew. While most governments have woefully underinvested in public health, there is a new urgency to change that.

We must address the many disparities in access to all kinds of health and wellness, whether access to nature or vaccines. Public health spending and initiatives will rise, with a focus on preventative wellness.

It’s impossible to overstate how much COVID-19 has raised the stakes on healthy buildings and indoor air qualityThe quality of the air we breathe will take on huge future significance. The science around air quality measurement and purification is evolving fast and exposing snake oil solutions.

The pandemic has brought many health and wellness silver linings. Just a few: medical innovation and regulatory approvals are moving faster than ever; plant-based diets have risen; telemedicine and digital health and wellness platforms mean much greater access to services and are moving more medicine and care into the home.

Research is mounting that breathwork needs to be a true pillar of wellness–not a fleeting trend. A Stanford University study tested four different breathwork protocols against each other and found that all four (for just five minutes a day) were more effective than meditation at reducing anxiety. One breathwork modality, “cyclic sighing,” (a combination of two inhales followed by a big exhale), had the most positive outcomes across every measure.

And travel is predicted to come back very strongly; with wellness travel doing even better post-COVID. The big industry experts suggest that the demand and the investment is already there.