From The Straits Times    |

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Health is wealth – we’ve known that for ages. So it’s a good thing that people are really starting to take action for the sake of their health.

The Oxford dictionary defines wellness as “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal”. Going by that definition, anything we do to stay healthy can be considered a wellness act, from everyday habits such as eating nutritiously, getting some exercise, and hitting the sack early, to more fancy pursuits – think wellness retreats and spiritual experiences.

Over the past year, some new-age wellness practices have emerged. For instance, there’s an undeniable growing interest in crystal healing, aura reading and sound baths. No matter how logical you are, surely you’ve heard of someone within your circle who has tried one of these things.

What’s next? Will these wellness practices continue to flourish in the coming months? What other wellness-y things will infiltrate our lives? Whether you’re looking to get on board the wellness wagon, or trying to reach the same frequency as your kombucha-sipping friend in meditation class, here are eight wellness trends in 2020 forecasted by Susie Ellis – founder and CEO of the Global Wellness Summit – you ought to know.


Sleep remains a high priority


Optimal sleep is not just about the number of hours you snooze, but also the quality of sleep. And you know the close relationship between sleep and health. Poor sleep impairs memory and concentration, causes your hormones to go out of whack (making you cranky and hungry), lowers your immunity and increases inflammation in the body, just to name a few detrimental effects. As international travel continues, the need for quality sleep is at an all-time high. Specifically, Susie points out a demand for jet lag services to help restore circadian rhythms. And these could come in the form of apps, sleep plans and massages.


Slow wellness travel


Admit it: Travel is on your 2020 #bucketlist. In light of our move towards sustainable living, there will be more conscious efforts to reduce carbon footprints, and that means choosing land transport over air, flying less, staying grounded and choosing #undertourism. In this case, slow wellness travel refers to travelling at a human pace. Think walking, hiking, cycling and riding. Seeing how we could all do with more physical activity, this is one trend we’d gladly jump on.


Urban wellness retreats

Photo: Pure Wellness Studio

In fast-paced cities like ours where stress and burnouts are getting more prevalent, busy working professionals are seeking quick respites. They could be in the form of weekend staycations, or as brief as taking lunchtime naps or meditating during free pockets of time. Wellness clubs are starting to pop up in various cities, notes Susie. If you’re up for something immersive, try Spa Esprit’s Super Vibrator treatment, a 120-minute session comprising an energy reading, aromatherapy, sound healing and a full-body massage. Or book yourself into a restorative infrared sauna session at Pure Wellness Studio. The infrared technology is said to boost sleep, skin health and muscle recovery.


Switching on the “belief” mechanism

Photo: Nila Wellness

Given the amount of stress and confusion in the world, there’s been an almost unquestioning uptake of spiritual activities such as crystal healing, sound baths, aura readings and the like. Well, if you believe that something works for you, then it works right? If you’re new to sound baths, check out one of the crystal bowl sound healing classes by Nila Wellness. The setup is non-intimidating, and all you need to do is lie down in any comfortable position, close your eyes and let the sound waves ripple through your body for the positive effects of vibration. You’re even allowed to fall asleep.


Forest everything


Because being in nature is so therapeutic and has proven health benefits, every activity to do with nature and being digitally disconnected is likely to be well-received. That includes forest bathing, hiking, going off the beaten track, and other wild, not-done-before outdoor experiences. Closer to home, the interest in indoor plants continues to bloom. 


Women-empowering travel


The wellness market is no doubt dominated by females (who have major decision-making power, by the way), so it should come as no surprise that more travel programmes will be catered for women, especially those seeking tough, gritty experiences. Solo female travel has picked up. Now, it’s time for travel companies to raise the bar by offering more bespoke experiences for this breed of women.


Ageing will be rebranded as cool


With longer average lifespans and a focus on active ageing, there will be a shift in perspective towards ageing, or what Susie calls “the new longevity economy”. Think about healthy ageing, instead of anti-ageing. Ageing is inevitable, so we might as well embrace it – both wrinkles and wisdom – instead of treating it like a disease. When your mind and body are sound and in sync, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 60 or 40. Age is really just a number. 


Wellness sabbaticals


Because it’s hard (and also, irresponsible) to simply drop your work and head off for a month-long holiday, Susie predicts a new travel concept called the “wellness sabbatical”, in which work and wellness are blended. This means going on relatively long breaks of at least three weeks, while staying connected and working remotely during that time. Hey, that sounds like a plan.

This article was first published in Shape