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Inside the Peak Wellness Movement

Peak wellness consumers don’t just want organic food and clean beauty products.

Amanda Chantal Bacon’s ideal morning wellness routine?

Twenty minutes of meditation, a 30-minute sweat in her infrared sauna, and a 10-minute shower.

But with a toddler running around and a 10-year-old she has to get out the door each morning, the founder of Moon Juice is doing her routine at breakneck speed.

Her pared down routine entails waking up around 5:30 am, taking a fistful of supplements, including quercetin, Moon Juice SuperYou, Moon Juice SuperHair, glutathione, and Moon Juice SuperPower, meant for immunity. For energy, she said she uses a NAD nasal spray and drinks 32 ounces of water mixed with Moon Juice Ting, a B Vitamin complex. Then, she moves on to a tonic that includes Moon Juice Sex Dust, Spirit Dust, hot water and a splash of almond milk. And during all of this, to sub for meditation, she’ll tune into a mantra while starting her day to calm and center herself.

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Bacon’s multi-step morning routine offers a glimpse into peak wellness, a life where all things wellness are taken into consideration. Peak wellness types aren’t just thinking about organic food and meditation, they’re incorporating wellness into travel, interiors, devices, wearables and other categories, aiming for optimal mind-body function.

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“Most people are just considering a paint color for their home,” said Chantal Bacon, who is known for exploring the fringes of the wellness world. “I’m considering the ingredients of the paint. Certain people are thinking about having a light fixture that looks nice — I’m thinking about the quality of light and incandescent lights. Having an autoimmune condition, you have to consider everything. It starts with the ingredients in your food and household cleaners, then it goes into skin care and hair care. Once you do that, you notice how much better you feel.”

Millennials and Gen Z are thinking about wellness much more broadly than previous generations, according to YPulse, a marketing research agency. For young consumers, wellness is not just about fitness and diet. It’s about mental health, sleep, skin care, preventing burnout and more.

Gen Z and Millennials are “the ‘wellness-intensified’ generations,” said MaryLeigh Bliss, chief content officer at YPulse. “They have taken the focus on wellness to new heights.”

They’ve taken it into new categories, too. The Global Wellness Institute reported that wellness lifestyle real estate was a $134 billion industry in 2017, growing 6.4 percent annually since 2015. It is projected to reach $197 billion in 2022.

To that end, the combination of design and wellness go hand in hand. The peak wellness consumer looks for products that not only improve their health, but improve their home.

For example, Molekule, a more aesthetically pleasing designed air purifier, was created to fit seamlessly into one’s space.

Molekule
A Molekule air purifier.

“Traditional air purification technology looks merely at capturing particles in the air,” said Jonathan Harris, chief executive officer of Molekule. “Molekule takes this further by using oxidation, which uses free radicals to break down and destroy pollutants at a molecular level, including viruses, bacteria, mold, ozone, allergens and more.”

Like Molekule, the Oura Ring was created to fit flawlessly into a customer’s life. The device, which is worn on your finger and tracks all of your data like sleep, activity, period prediction and temperature, among others, is meant for people to optimize their health and well-being.

“We have seven research-grade temperature sensors in this little ring and that enables us to get to know your personal temperature,” said Caroline Kryder, science communications lead at Oura. “There’s this myth that 98.6 degrees is your normal temperature. But some people run hot, some people run cold. If something looks off, you might be showing signs that you’re under the weather or it enables us to pick up on hormonal changes for women. We can see different phases of the menstrual cycle. During the first half, you’re cool because your body has a lot of estrogen. And then, after you ovulate, it’s driven by progesterone and you heat up.”

Oura
Oura has seven different temperature sensors.

Oura recently completed a study with the University of California, San Diego, where they were able to see pregnancy five and a half days after conception because the body heats up and then stays warm. “Oura delivers a lot of empowering information to look at the journey of your body over time,” added Kryder.

Chantal Bacon noted that she is consistently contacted about specific devices and products that she uses to enhance her well-being.

“People contacting me are not wellness people,” she said. “It’s young families that want to do better, or the fashion-beauty girl asking me what is that BioMAT I talked about. ‘Remember you had some water person that did your house? Can I get that contact?’ Even down to, ‘what sauna do you use and often do you use it?’”

Taryn Toomey, the founder of fitness program The Class, amplifies her wellness lifestyle utilizing items like Higher Dose’s Infrared Sauna Blanket, a sleeping bag-like contraption that’s meant to increase the body’s thermal energy and enhance relaxation. She also utilizes a chi machine, a device of Japanese origin that applies constant movement and pressure to the body to produce energy, she said.

“Anything that I place in my life usually allows me to feel more grounded and supports the resilience of my nervous system,” she said. “When your nervous system is regulated, you can feel a deeper sense of connection to your presence and yourself. I know my body and my system enough to know that I have to move every day. That’s why The Class is such a huge part of my life.”

The Class’s flagship fitness studio in New York has a customized crystal grid underneath the floor meant to support clients’ aerobic experience. It was designed and installed by Rashia Bell, an energetic interior designer and founder of Cristalline.

“Energetic design is the confluence of our own personal energy, the energy of the objects around us, the energy of the things we choose to put in our spaces, and ultimately the resonance that we create within them,” said Bell. “It’s very similar to crystal healing, which is a big part of my practice in being certified as a crystal healer. It’s merging well-being and wellness within different facets and different spaces.”

Residential real estate is the next frontier that will be radically transformed by the wellness movement, according to The Global Wellness Institute. Homes, communities, and surrounding environments will directly affect daily behaviors and lifestyles, and together determine up to 80 to 90 percent of health outcomes, according to the institute.

Bell’s practice is all about wellness in the home and how to find more balance and harmony. “It’s about creating different moments and different touchpoints of wellness, and crystals are just one tool of that,” she added.

For example, at the Four Seasons Hotel Spa in Philadelphia, where Bell is a resident healer, she and her team installed crystals into the structure of the spa. Each treatment room is meant to target a different chakra.

“Clients are in that individual room having a crystal healing session with me or a massage where they have a tactile experience with stones. And then we add a sound meditation with crystal singing bowls,” Bell said.

Not everyone can tear up their floors and add a custom grid of crystals. For those who are more budget-conscious, Bell relies on decorative items to make a home or space more wellness-oriented. “Our interior design consultations with clients include an energy healing session because that lets me get an idea of where the client’s energy is,” said Bell.

YPulse has found that a majority of Gen Z and Millennials view their home as a part of their wellness efforts — specifically their mental wellness.

“YPulse’s trend research on the meaning of home for these generations found that 72 percent say that their home has been an important part of maintaining their mental health during COVID[-19],” said Bliss. “Over a third report that they have become more interested in making their home more of a mental health refuge since the pandemic started.”

Inside the Peak Wellness Movement
Peak wellness consumers don’t just want organic food and clean beauty products. Lucy Truman/WWD

Beyond the home, the peak wellness consumer is interested in taking the lifestyle on the road, too.

“I think about where I travel, how I travel, where I stay, what kind of food is going to be available, and the air quality,” said Chantal Bacon.

Wellness tourism combines two large and growing industries: the $2.6 trillion tourism industry, and the $4.5 trillion wellness industry, according to the Global Wellness Institute. Holistic health and prevention are increasingly at the center of consumer decision-making, and people now expect to continue their healthy lifestyles and wellness routines when they are away from home.

In March 2021, Santa Monica Proper in Santa Monica, Calif., revealed its Ayurvedic wellness space, Surya Spa. The 3,000-square-foot spa’s most popular treatment is Panchakarma, a series of four-hour treatments each day, for 28 days, with a seven-day minimum.

Each day of Panchakarma starts with an Abhyanga, a four-handed oil therapy using individually herb-infused oils. It also includes Shirodharam, a warm herb-infused oil or fresh coconut water poured in a healing stream over the third eye, and a customized basti, a light and traditional enema of oil or herb-infused tea, which aims to help gently remove toxins from the body. Customization is a specialty at Surya Spa, which uses combinations of herbs that are then cooked to create bespoke treatments.

“I wanted to bring Ayurveda to the world and have people experience treatments they’ve never had done before,” said Martha Soffer, Ayurvedic guru and founder of Surya Spa. “We’re making Ayurveda more modern, more feminine than masculine. Everything is very comfortable, but still very traditional.”

Meanwhile, The Ranch, an intimate wellness retreat immersed in nature, has continued to expand its wellness offering, making sure that the client has an ongoing connection to The Ranch once they leave. In January, the Santa Monica mountains-based retreat (which is opening a new location in Italy at Palazzo Fiuggi come May 15) hired functional nutritionist and holistic health practitioner Bridgette Becker to administer diagnostic testing to dig into the gut, hormones and overall blood work.

The Ranch
The Ranch Mario Fuentes

“Bridgette gives the client a questionnaire in advance and goes over everything, curating nutrition, exercise, yoga, and programming,” said Sue Glasscock, cofounder of The Ranch. “They have one-on-one Zoom conversations to make sure that person stays on track. And then, you can move to more of the diagnostic testing, which is The Ranch 360, a more comprehensive and clinical experience that includes blood, hormones, food sensitivity panels, heavy metal testing and stool analysis.”

Similarly, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea has partnered with Next | Health, a health optimization and longevity center, to offer guests their IV lounge and biomarker tests for micronutrients, food sensitivity, heavy metals and genetics. For Next | Health and the Four Seasons Maui’s phase two launch, they will reveal new regenerative treatments. “When you’re doing IV therapy upon arrival, throughout your trip, or right before you leave, you’re able to boost your immunity and mood and alleviate any stress that you have from traveling,” said Vanessa Kekina, director of marketing at Next | Health.

The different IV therapies include blends for immunity, energy, and longevity, among others. They also launched a jet lag relief pack, which is a combination of electrolytes, glutathione and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. “For people who are into health and wellness, the best way to make informed decisions is to follow their data,” said Kekina. “We have our baseline tests, which is a comprehensive evaluation of key biomarkers that gives you an overall status of where your health is at. So, if clients were to get their blood drawn prior to their travel, the idea is to set up a full wellness experience that includes everything from menu choices to exercise, a morning and night routine, and certain IVs to include. If they got their blood drawn at the resort, by the time they get home, they’re set up for a good long kickoff.”

In Water Mill, N.Y., Shou Sugi Ban House is all about its non-dogmatic approach to wellness, including programming that integrates holistic living, fitness, nutrition, advanced skin and body care, hydrotherapy, yoga, healing arts and meditation.

Shou Sugi Ban House
Shou Sugi Ban House

“Some people come here and they will be focused on how to improve their wellness through culinary,” said Jodie Webber, creative director at Shou Sugi Ban House. “Many clients through the pandemic are trying to reconnect with themselves through meditation and deep healing, because people are spending a lot of time with themselves. We are growing our programs, adding deeper, more immersive healing experiences.”

Shou Sugi Ban House
Shou Sugi Ban House Fredrika Stjarne

Looking further forward, Chantal Bacon believes there’s even more room for the wellness movement to expand, and said that the real white space for wellness is in assisted living facilities.

“Looking at the facility that my 95-year-old grandmother lives in, the food that’s there, the care that’s there, it’s so painful,” she said. “I would never want my mom living in a place like that. I want my mom to live somewhere where she gets sunshine, where the windows are open, and where she has organic food. Also, I would want there to be naturopaths on site where she is having IVs, ozone therapy, and meditation. That’s the missing part of the wellness puzzle.”

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