Developed by a team of research analysts, editors and industry experts, Spafinder’s 12th Annual Global Trends Forecast is based on ongoing surveys of 20,000-plus spa, wellness and beauty providers, thousands of travel agents and hundreds of thousands of consumers. Here, a highlight of the report.

1. Forest Bathing: The Japanese government coined the term in 1982, a translation of “shinrin-yoku,” which literally means “taking in the forest atmosphere.” The simple practice: quietly walking and exploring, with a mind deliberately intent on – and all senses keenly open to – every sound, scent, color and “feel” of the forest, in all its buzzing bio-diversity. With forest bathing (and the increasingly expert-led “forest therapy,” or shinrin-ryoho), mindfulness meets nature, and the goal is to “bathe” every physical cell and your entire psyche in the forest’s essence.

2. Cannabis:New Spa & Wellness Connections: Wellness “purists” (whether businesses or consumers) will likely embrace the new therapeutic topicals and hemp as superfood, while they shy away from the psychoactive, “rest and relaxation” uses of cannabis in a spa, yoga or travel setting. Cultures of purity and open-mindedness will sharpen, and for the latter, there will be more new intersections between cannabis – and spa, wellness and yoga – in more places, in years to come.

3. Wellness Traditions From The Islamic World: Wellness practices of the wide Islamic world do represent one of the “last, lost, great bodies of traditional health knowledge,” and Spafinder predicts that slowly, but surely, they will be discovered by the world – and travelers will increasingly head to the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, hungry for authentic everything.

4. Industrial Revolution: Blue Collar Wellness: In the years ahead, more employers in the industrial, construction, transportation and manufacturing sectors will understand that they may have the most to gain from programs that truly engage their employees in a healthier lifestyle–and that technology advancements will help more of these workers participate in programs.

5. Wellness Homes Communities and Cities: The wellness living trend will continue with major new wellness cities emerging. New “well building” standards will make healthy-for-humans buildings achievable worldwide – further spurring growth. Research on how building elements and community designs actually impact human health will drive growth. What’s most healthy about the new wellness communities is that they recall things many have forgotten: walking to work or school, growing your own food, knowing and caring about neighbors, and young and old living and learning together living with the principles of true community.

6. Super-Social Fitness: Social wellness is not just for the upper class anymore. Men are embracing group fitness in droves, particularly with obstacle/mud runs, extreme fitness, triathalons, spinning, and BrogaYoga (geared specifically for men). Athleisure retailers such as Prana and Lululemon are selling far more than one style of men’s yoga pants. And, children are part of the growing social fitness demographic. An uber trend still in its infancy, Spafinder predicts exponential growth in and for businesses and brands that cater to the deep need for both social connection and a healthier lifestyle.

7. Spa On Arrival and En Route: In a world where looking and feeling well is the measure of a life best lived, having wellness take the lead when we are coming and going makes perfect sense. Expect to see more spas and fitness studios catering to jet-lagged travelers; more businesses incorporating relaxation techniques to jump start meetings; and spas and fitness facilities becoming as common in airports as newsstands. Spa on arrival has definitely arrived.

8. Hyper-Personalized Beauty: We are not just consumers, we are collaborators and this trend has the potential to disrupt the beauty industry and inspire skin care, make up and beauty product companies to rethink everything. In 2015 we’ll see how the beauty and spa industry work even harder to respond to this shift. The next phase might very likely emphasize young entrepreneurs bringing even more cutting-edge technology right into our homes and spas. 3D-printed bath salts next?

9. Gut reactions: There is a much broader awareness of the impact of diet and environment on our health and wellbeing – something that the spa and wellness industry will greatly benefit from, thanks to a wide array of nutritional and diet expertise, as well as its natural focus on detoxification and cleansing. Research proving how we can effectively change our gut’s environment for the better is still in its infancy – but there’s no denying the tantalizing possibilities of using diet, environment and probiotics to combat much of what ails us – through our gut and beyond.


Beyond The Stars: Whenever it seems that the limits of spectacular have been reached, another spa, hotel or wellness retreat will set the bar higher. Inspired by discriminating travelers immersed in a digital world, with an appetite for more and better, spa entrepreneurs and their architects, aestheticians and other creative collaborators will continue to dazzle us with properties deserving of six and seven stars—and great prestige. Perhaps the future will present something extra-terrestrial – literally out of this world.

To access the full trend report, please click here.