Hundreds of the world leaders of the wellness economy have just concluded a four-day Summit in Tel Aviv, Israel. Longevity-setting healthy foods, rejuvenating spas, mind-balancing meditation, travel, and yoga still are front-and-center. But they now share the economic stage with evolving big-sector priorities that include sustainable foods, environmental health, mental health, employee fitness, weight management and technology. The two approaches – body and finance – are not in conflict. Longevity and health – of body and planet – call upon life-sustaining, harmonious behavioral change.
The Global Wellness Summit kicked off with a concept that is too often overlooked, thanks to the hectic pace of our lives and the drive to survive and succeed – gratitude. Renowned filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, whose films celebrate life and the human spirit, shared his newest work, Gratitude Revealed.
During the pandemic, Schwartzberg, the child of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, observed how severely disrupted our rhythm of life became under the COVID cloud. Things taken for granted – meeting a friend, brainstorming with colleagues, browsing a store – were suddenly replaced by isolation. Through the solitude of then-required quarantine, we also saw the ugliness in the world – climate change, racial discrimination, disregard for the needy, and young people suffering mental health strife and worse. We recognized that we needed to engage in creating sustainable existence.
Schwartzberg wanted to inspire during this difficult and unpredictable time. He wanted to help people in desperate need of connection by infusing within us a vision of how great life can be. His response was Gratitude Revealed. His words and film set the tone for this gathering – wellness means many things to many people. It should not be taken for granted.
Wellness is Now Big Business
The Global Wellness Summit and its corresponding research institute track the now $4.4 trillion global wellness economy that includes 11 sectors:
- Personal Care & Beauty ($955 billion)
- Healthy Eating, Nutrition, & Weight Loss ($946 billion)
- Physical Activity ($738 billion)
- Wellness Tourism ($436 billion)
- Traditional & Complementary Medicine ($413 billion)
- Public Health, Prevention, & Personalized Medicine ($375 billion)
- Wellness Real Estate ($275 billion)
- Mental Wellness ($131 billion)
- Spas ($68 billion)
- Workplace Wellness ($49 billion)
- Thermal/Mineral Springs ($39 billion)
The Shift in the Global Wellness Market – Enter Behavioral Health and Tech Investment
Private equity investment and technology are changing the world wellness landscape, and Israel was a natural choice of location for this year’s summit. More than $870 million in equity investment has been directed to innovators in Israel seeking to advance healthy, sustainable eating, mental health, pain management, and areas that engage corporate and personal wellness.
Summit Co-Chair Amir Alroy heads WellTech Ventures. It’s among the first private equity firms to focus on technologies that advance wellness and the understanding that we must move more toward self-care and life-care rather than the healthcare, sick-care approach. Alroy, who first explored the wellness movement by launching a chain of famous fitness clubs, later shifted to explore how wellness and technology could combine to accelerate behavioral change. Surrounded by a seasoned investment team, Alroy has jumped in as a market leader in the tech wellness category.
These three companies attending the Global Wellness Summit caught my attention. They should be on our radar screens – Medika Life will expand its coverage of ideas and innovators dedicated to preventing illness from progressing.
Food sustainability isn’t often at the forefront of our minds. We often think “healthy; sustainable food” is tasteless. Most decisions are based on taste and convenience. The foods we eat affect blood sugar and weight management. Over time, foods that aren’t good for our bodies result in metabolic changes that range from high blood glucose to elevated cholesterol. SavorEat is developing a revolutionary robot chef with customizable plant-based 3D printing technology as a solution for businesses and institutions requiring the production of fast, precise and consistent food output.
The concept of 3D printed food – designed to your taste preferences – might seem futuristic! But the future is now! Disruptive, its success can impact supply chain management, labor challenges, reduction of food waste, and food safety to address diners’ different needs. But disruptive change is never easy. However, food production remains one of the planet’s biggest challenges – regarding access to food and its ecological impact.
Posture and movement are part of physical health. How many people experience back or the aches and pains resulting from how we walk, run and exercise? How many visits to orthopedic surgeons, physical therapies, and pain clinics result from poor posture contributing to other structural woes?
According to a 2021 study by the American Chiropractic Association, more than 31 million Americans suffer from poor posture. Bad posture leads to health complications, including respiratory problems, back pain, high blood pressure, spinal dysfunction, and joint degeneration. Sency technology can capture every movement using only a phone camera to analyze motion and improve physical health – the result is a physical frame that can better support healthy aging.
Sleep is the body’s path to regeneration. Monitoring signals from the brain, heart and muscles during sleep provides a greater understanding of personal health and wellness and how to reorient self-care efforts. Newer research is showing that sleep patterns may even determine eye health. The challenge is that people must typically head to hospital-based sleep clinics with the necessary equipment – electrodes, gel, or suction cups – and sometimes, the analysis requires an overnight clinic stay.
X-trodes is changing how we obtain that information – at any time of the day or night! Their goal is to perfect innovative wearable technology for the measurement and analytics of electrophysiological signals through a patented technology that provides an automated and high-resolution analysis at any time. X-trodes wearable wireless technology will enable consumers, professional athletes and health professionals to monitor sleep patterns from home in a natural sleep environment. The science of sleep comes to homes!
Two Pioneers Continue to Expand the Wellness Tent
Global Wellness Summit founders Susie Ellis and Nancy Davis are must-watch leaders of a conversation that has evolved into a powerful economic movement. The United States now dedicates almost 20 percent of its GDP to healthcare, and global spending on health rose between 2000 and 2018 and reached US $8.3 trillion, or 10% of the worldwide GDP. However, most nations that invest in preventive – well-care – are spending far less than the United States yet enjoy significantly greater longevity.
Ellis and Davis have created a big tent for the wellness community. Yes, long-term experts in travel, hot spring treatments, and spas focusing on reorienting diet and mindfulness are present at the Summit. So are the scientists, epidemiologists, public health officials, and entrepreneurs. Health is holistic. There is no one path to a long, healthy life. It’s no longer a question of how long we will live. Medical innovation can sustain life. Now, with those added years, we must choose how we will enjoy the journey.
Medika Life will soon publish its Top 50 Global Wellness Leaders list – the pioneers, entrepreneurs and game changers advancing wellness.