The wellness industry is enjoying a modern renaissance.
Our story begins in the 1950s – with Halbert L. Dunn, known as “the father of the wellness movement.”
Dunn was the chief of the U.S. Office of Vital Statistics, and he wanted to find a term that encompassed the positive aspects of health like physical, social, and mental well being.
Dunn outlined the concept of “high-level wellness.” He defined it as “an integrated method of functioning, which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable.” In other words, we're always moving towards our best self.
The promise of wellness living is enticing: Delicious green juices to boost your immunity. Special gyms that target fat. Skincare routines. Holistic healing. Mindfulness and meditation. All to make a better version of you.
Studies show the industry may be booming, because people are looking to move on from the stress of the pandemic.
A recent survey from the American Psychological Association found nearly half of adults were less active than they wanted to be since the pandemic started.
Nearly 60 percent experienced unwanted weight changes.
And more than half said they wanted more emotional support than they received during lockdown.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reported over 40 percent of adults experienced anxiety and depression in 2020, up from 10 percent just the year before. The same survey found a lot of adults were struggling with mental health and well-being.
Anne Pione, a partner at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, tells us her research shows the pandemic created an emphasis on taking better care of ourselves.
McKinsey surveyed over 7,000 people in six countries last year. 79 percent believe wellness is important, and 42 percent consider wellness their top priority.
The expanding list of wellness options helped create a nearly four-and-a-half trillion dollar industry in 2020, which could hike up to nearly seven trillion dollars over the next three years. That’s according to the non-profit Global Wellness Institute.
The institute identified 11 sectors that made up the wellness industry, ranging from medicine and public health to spas, mineral springs and real estate.
You can probably guess the highest grossing sectors. Personal care and beauty is individually worth 955 billion dollars. Healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss holds a 946 billion dollar value.
And investing in ourselves has never been easier. Marketers are selling solutions to our biggest health concerns and perceived problems.
From tummy-sucking leggings to smart water bottles that remind you to drink.
But McKinsey tells us marketers are successfully hitting a nerve among consumers who specifically want more natural and responsibly-created offerings.
Health and nutrition experts tell Newsy with gyms closed, the pandemic also left more time to bring exercise right into their living rooms.
Some wellness participants say the industry — and the culture it generates — has helped them heal from the trauma the pandemic caused.
And the investment in wellness may be paying off. The latest American Psychological Association study finds despite the high stress levels, 71 percent of Americans are better at prioritizing what is important to them because of the pandemic.
And that feeling of hope, health, and self-acceptance is something people say money can’t buy.