In a recent interview with the Global Wellness Institute Melisse Gelula spoke of the pre-COVID elitism and privilege in the wellness industry and the sudden turn around which has come about as we were forced consider our own health (mind & body), our own home, and our own community like never before. Has a global pandemic changed wellness?
This has sparked a conversation amongst many as to whether or not the global pandemic has been a wake-up call that was needed, and whether a global pandemic has changed wellness forever. There are varying opinions as to if or how much change we are facing in a post-pandemic world, with those involved in the wellness industry around the world weighing in.
Highlight more than Change
Steve Andrews, CEO, Soothing Touch, Barbados stated “I do not believe the global pandemic changed wellness. I believe it has highlighted the importance of the wellness sector. The issue is that we have to push the wellness industry to a place where people conceive of the sector as being beneficial and catering to everyone and not just a few”
He went on to add “Our forefathers and mothers have passed on to us the value of wellness as a way of life. Wellness was at every level of every community and this is where it belongs. However, it seems we have packaged and sold it to the highest bidder. If wellness was a part of our daily lifestyle, I don’t think the world would have been on pause now because of Covid-19. We now have an opportunity to bring back the rich heritage of well-being to the average person. So, let’s work on well-being so we don’t have to wait on a vaccine”
Andrews sentiments were echoed by Dr. Yinhsu Liu, Co-Founder Bliss Now Inc. with “COVID19 has brought wellness/wellbeing living/lifestyle to the forefront as we yearn for a healthier body and a healthier world” said, “The more we go through this collective trauma, the accentuation of existing health and wellbeing challenges, unhealthy and unsustainable lifestyle choices, the mental and emotional challenges are highlighted.”
Davina Pickering, Private Chef, Thailand was on the same train of thought with her comments; “Collectively it definitely has created more awareness with individuals on how important wellness is to be applied in our lives to bring that balance we are missing. Never before has the understanding of the importance of the immune system been such a key discussion globally”
What is Spa? What is Wellness?
“I believe COVID-19 won’t change the concept of wellness, but it will grow its popularity, with more variations, and will understand more what wellness actually is and how they need its benefits’ advised Lulu S. Widjaja, Bali Anugerah Sejahtera (BAS), Indonesia
“Many still confuse spa and wellness and since the demand for wellness will grow, the industry will need to adjust to accommodate the growth and be able to customize the offering so customers can achieve their personal wellness needs” added Widjaja.
Resisting or Assisting Gravity?
Movement and Confidence Specialist, Darren Scherbain took a broader approach with his reply laying out the importance of our connection with Mother Nature when asked if the global pandemic changed wellness. “Human’s evolved in direct contact with nature, but unfortunately, we have become unplugged from any sustainable connection. A strong association exists between increasing inactivity and the emergence of chronic disease. Nature designed us to be hunters and gather s in the great outdoors. Disconnected from nature means we are not physically and mentally stimulated in the same way. Instead of resisting gravity, we are assisting gravity.”
Scherbain went on “When we get up close and personal with nature – be it in a silky sandy beach or barefoot in the grass we give our overstressed mind and bodies a much-needed boost. There are many reasons why connecting with nature is good for body and mind. Research confirms that barefoot in the grass or sand will help us absorb electrons from the earth’s surface. A natural antioxidant that prevents cellular damage from free radicals. Plugging into the earth’s surface also regulates the autonomic nervous system and circadian rhythms.”
Wellness should be for Everyone.
The shift seems to be more about our collective reality that we have been living (or at least trying to live) in a rarefied atmosphere surrounded by unsustainable luxury when there is a greater opportunity for growth from a broader more mass-market approach business perspective where the profit margin per customer may not be as big, but the volume of business more than makes up for this. A global pandemic has only served to highlight this and our reliance upon the international jet setter, while if we want to survive today we have to focus on the local market – the one that might spend less money per visit, but will potentially return to our spa monthly or even weekly. If it hasn’t already done so, it will require a shift in thinking by Spa Manager. Expect to see more loyalty programs, the better name recognition of frequent guests, the introduction of more multi-day packages, and potentially even the return to the good-ol’-days of membership cards.
Online spa and massage booking platforms have come and gone but there are some with strong marketing behind them who have remained. As technology changes or new ones are introduced, we will face even more apps (some useful, most useless), and other ‘all-new’ bells and whistles to thrill our customers. However, the days of instant, quick-fix feel good are on the wane as we realize that there are Eight Dimensions of Wellness that we are yet to fully understand, but with so much innovation related to teletherapy, portals for diagnostic testing with customized supplements, digital mental wellness platforms and more, has wellness finally become mainstream?
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