Spafinder 2016 Trends Include Kids, Surfing and Sexual Wellness


Spafinder Wellness 365 released its 13th annual Global Spa & Wellness Trends Forecast, the definitive guide to the top ten trends poised to shape the wellness, hospitality, travel and spa industries and chart new territory in wellness for consumers in the new year. The 2016 forecast is unique for taking a detailed look at not just what, but why, where, and how, new directions in wellness will evolve in the year ahead.

This year’s trends show wellness stepping in to meet the challenges of major societal crises, including a rising generation of children who are stressed, anxious and overwhelmed at unprecedented and alarming levels, and adults who are suffering the effects of a hyper-connected workplace, demanding hours and sedentary habits. Another emerging issue? Healthy sexuality, as providers eschew the extremes of sensationalism and shame to shape new models for exploring and developing individual sexual wellness and happiness. The Trends also reflect people’s ongoing desire to bring more health and wellness into their current forms of escape, including new hybrid sectors of wellness travel. And with travelers’ unquenchable thirst for ancient, authentic experiences, Mexico will see renewed attention for its Mayan temazcal rituals.

“The 2016 trends reveal innovation in and enthusiasm for wellness travel, and how wellness is an integral part of the most fundamental aspects of people’s daily lives: work, family, and love,” said research director Beth McGroarty, who steered the research team, along with Susie Ellis, president of Spafinder Wellness, Inc. “Rather than focus on how “X is the new Y,” we strive to make sense of the sea of forecasts and identify mega-trends that are having, and will continue to have, the most meaningful impact on people’s lives, and on the industry, for years to come.”

The 2016 Spa & Wellness Top 10 Trends include the following. ·

Surf's Up! New Waves in Wellness

Surfing and its spinoffs are fast becoming a new wellness travel genre. It’s rapidly expanding in demographics, locations and offerings. Surfing is being incorporated into spa an wellness offerings, fitness classes and unique retreats. Hotel Komune Bali was identified as a leader for marrying "destination spa" levels of wellness with surfing and paddle boarding lessons at a famed wave break.

Sexual Wellbeing: Taboo No More

Change is underway in sexual wellbeing, as it is being integrated into programs at wellness retreats, spas, hospitals and fitness studios. Offerings include everything from newhigh-tech sex fitness trackers and “toys,” to some out there touch therapies, to sex-forward hotels.The new WOMANOLOGY+ RESTORE HIM clinics at Southern California’s Hoag Memorial Hospitals and Shh Retreats we identified as pioneers in the category.

Temazcal (temas’kal)

The ancient Mexican practice of temazcal is the latest manifestation of travelers seeking out native, authentic wellness offerings. It is an elaborate ritual in which a trained shaman uses heat, steam, aromatic herbs, and ancient prayers and chants to connect guests with forces of the physical and spiritual world. Leading the trend is El Dorado Royale, the Rosewood Mayakoba and The Viceroy—just a few of the luxury resorts dotting the coast of the Maya Riviera that offer authentic temazcal sessions. ·

Parenting Well: Serious Spa & Wellness for Kids

Poor diets, constant stress, and hours hunched over glowing screens are taking their toll on kids. This year look for more mindfulness and meditation in schools, kid-focused yoga classes, massage for toddlers, wellness-centric family vacations, or just an emphasis on local, organic eating, as parents reveal themselves willing to dedicate considerable time, attention, and money toward this niche that promises to be one of the industry’s most significant areas of growth. The David Lynch Foundation’s Quiet Time meditation program and Six Senses resort in Laamu Atoll of the Maldives have unique offerings in this category.

The Adrenaline and Zen Cocktail: Resetting the Mind & Body

Spafinder noticed a proliferation of high-octane adventure topped off with “après-adrenaline” relaxation at spas, resorts and wellness retreats. The medical science reveals why this seemingly paradoxical contrast therapy is addictive: adrenaline rushes followed by “Zen” relaxation uniquely reset and quiet the brain, and result in the most blissed-out relaxation. The new adrenaline + relaxation combos are less a paradox than a destination…and more destinations are serving up this mind-body cocktail. Costa Rica’s Rio Perdido, with a balance of extreme adventure and spa/hot springs relaxation, or the new CREACTIVE By Cirque du Soleil program at spa resort Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic have unique offerings in this category.

Well-Fests: Festivals Shift from Wasted to Wellness

Wellness festivals are cropping up all over the globe, celebrating health and wellbeing while still embracing the spirit that makes music festivals so popular (many of which are also adding wellness components to their own lineup). Wanderlust has a roster of festivals spread across a half-dozen countries and the UK’s Innocent Unplugged bans technology and offers only pedal bikes and a giant people-powered hamster wheel to provide power.

On Demand: Uber-izing Spa & Wellness

Apps and on-demand services are revolutionizing dozens of industries, including beauty and wellness. These new on-demand options provide an unprecedented level of flexibility, immediacy, and convenience, and many established industry leaders are also adding or partnering with on-demand services. Zeel in the U.S. or Urban Massage in the UK are both on-demand massage industry leaders and Manicube offers on-the-go manicures.

Skin Care Gets Seoul-ful: The Korean Beauty Explosion 2.0

Whether it’s full-service spas, a seemingly limitless variety of facemasks, or 10-step skin-care routines, Korean beauty, for women and men, is much more than just a fad. Look for South Korea to become the global leader of affordable, innovative and well-marketed products and more Korean-inspired spas, which combine spa and beauty with fun for the whole family. Peach & Lilly is a South Korean beauty product distributor and Spa Castle is a large Korean spa chain.

Healthy Cruising: The Ship of Excess Has Set Sail

Wellness is boarding ship, allowing travelers to de-stress and keep healthy while onboard and even once they dock. In 2016, think less cruise ship and more floating retreat as some of the most impressive spa and wellness programming and facilities in the world take to the high seas. Look for everything from yoga sessions on deck to medical beauty treatments to indigenous wellness and adventure activities while docked. Leading the trend are: Raison d’Etre’s LivNordic; Canyon Ranch SpaClub aboard the Seven Seas Explorer, set to sail its maiden voyage July 2016; and Carnival Corp.’s Fathom brand, which fuses travel with social responsibility.

Workplace Wellness Wakes Up

Forward-thinking companies understand that a culture of wellness has a positive impact upon productivity, and narrowly focused programs are metastasizing into an all-encompassing environment that fuses company welfare to employee wellness. In the next five years, expect to see more spa and wellness integrated into the workplace in unique ways such as free yoga and meditation classes, financial counseling and mandatory vacations. Leading the trend is Workplace wellness at Google, Apple and Virgin Group Ltd.

The 2016 Forecast is the result of research by the company’s team of analysts, editors and industry experts, and based on ongoing surveys of, interviews with, and visits to the 25,000-plus spa, wellness and beauty providers in the Spafinder Wellness 365 network. To read the complete version of The 2016 Spa & Wellness Trends Forecast, visit

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