Five Things We Learned From The 2018 Wellness Summit

October 2018Words by Mr Jamie Millar

Illustration by Mr Andrea Mongia

What venue could be better suited to host the 2018 Global Wellness Summit than the Technogym Village in Cesana, Italy, headquarters of the design-led fitness equipment manufacturer (or as it presciently christened itself a quarter of a century ago, “the wellness company”)? 

The world’s first “wellness campus” is situated in the Wellness Valley (can you spot the theme here?), the brainchild of Technogym’s charismatic founder and CEO Mr Nerio Alessandri, in Romagna, northern Italy, where it’s estimated locals are now 10 per cent more active than their fellow countrymen. The futuristic complex boasts a T-Wellness Garden with a path for running and biking, a T-Wellness Restaurant serving locally sourced, nutritionally balanced cuisine and the T-Wellness Centre: a two-storey showroom that doubles as a gym for staff to use on their two-hour lunch break. (Delegates were ferried there at 6.30am for an optional pre-summit workout.) The lift doors bear the instruction: “Take the stairs to burn more calories.” Exhausting, perhaps, but please hear us out.

The theme of this year’s summit, which took place earlier this month, was “shaping the business of wellness”, which by all accounts is booming. The headline news, as is customary, was the Global Wellness Institute’s annual health check of the industry: $4.2trillion in 2017, up 12.8 per cent in two years. (By way of comparison, the fashion industry is estimated to be worth $3trillion.) The summit’s own trajectory is also illustrative: what began in the early 2000s as a spa industry convention has grown into something much more wide-ranging and vital. The 650 delegates included Dr Richard H Carmona, the former US surgeon general, who announced a “moonshot” to eradicate all preventable disease by sharing information and knowledge from around the world: wellness is about more than self-indulgence and pseudoscience.