news • Jul 11 2024

Immerse Yourself: Inside the Phenomenon of Immersive Wellness

Sunset blessing ceremonies. A meditation pod at your local gym. Sound baths that create a state of total relaxation. Immersive wellness is a phenomenon that’s going strong, and it will only get bigger. 

Defined by the Global Wellness Institute as “an experience designed to create space to reconnect to one’s sense of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wholeness,” wellness immersions are seen as an opportunity to invite a positive transformation that’s found outside of the rigors of daily life. 

Cited by Blooloop as one of the top trends of 2024, it’s clear the phenomenon’s momentum won’t be stopping anytime soon. Here’s a look at how wellness immersions are becoming both influential and lucrative in the spa, fitness, and travel industries. 

 

Much More Than a Day at the Spa 

Spa-inspired wellness immersions are one of the most popular subsets of the genre. Derived from a need for peace and relaxation in challenging times, these unique experiences are popping up across the world. 

Last year, OASIS immersion opened an immersive wellness experience titled ‘Recharger/Unwind’ at the Hangar Y art gallery in Paris. An 80-minute sensory walk through, it’s described as “both stimulating and rejuvenating, inviting visitors to recharge their batteries in an imaginary world.” The experience features a spatialized sound system and a high-resolution microLED display structure.

Several highly-successful wellness immersion experiences lean heavily into the senses. TikTok teamLab Reconnect launched an exhibition in Roppongi, Japan that sends participants into a “sauna trance, a unique neurological state that comes from alternating hot saunas and cold baths.” Navigating a maze of seven illuminated saunas in their swimsuits, visitors found a new way to immerse themselves in the art. 

 

Finding Fitness

After the pandemic, fitness facilities faced significant transitions. As a result, the fitness realm has come to understand that it needs to embrace an immersive point of view to thrive. That means the need to change everything from the typical gym layout to providing diverse offerings that go beyond strength training equipment and cardio machines. 

“It’s about building these immersive environments where it’s worth the price of inconvenience to get there,” summarized Bryan Green, founder and CEO of Aktiv Solutions. 

In addition to transforming physical spaces to engage members, the fitness industry is leaning into digital content, wellness and recovery services. Maybe that’s cardio equipment that comes loaded with workout content so users can create their own distinct workouts, or easy access to recovery materials like Hyperice products. 

This transition is visible in many health clubs, like the popular Healthworks fitness chain. They’ve incorporated meditation pods, quiet rooms, and spaces with a strong connection to nature to help members release stress and relax, the International Health and Fitness Association notes

 

Beyond Borders: Travel-Inspired Wellness Immersions 

These days, travel and immersive wellness are incredibly closely tied, as people are searching for meaningful experiences when they visit new places. That’s why it’s nos surprise that the global wellness tourism market is expected to grow to $1178.93 billion in 2027.

As demonstrated in this Accenture study, consumers see health and well-being as part of the “essential” spending category. That means spending money on traveling, and seeking out wellness-heavy journeys. With two in five (39%) high-income respondents saying they have booked a luxury trip or wellness retreat for some time in the next 12 months, it creates a prime opportunity for the travel world to lean into coveted immersive wellness experiences. 

Luxury hotels are often leading the pack in this pursuit. Known as one of the most luxurious hotel brands in the world, Raffles launched the Retreat by Raffles concept last year at their Bali and Singapore locations. 

In Bali, guests can participate in “chakra balancing, sound bowl therapy, meditation in the secret cave, yoga and reiki healing.” But it also goes beyond that, with offerings that include sunrise and sunset blessing ceremonies and journaling, cooking classes, and a lesson in the preparation of Jamu – a traditional herbal medicine native to Indonesia.

At Wailea Beach Resort in Maui, a reservation-only wellness pool named Olakino, a salt water Infinity pool overlooking the whitecap-flecked ocean waters below has a four-day schedule that rotates themes inspired by the island itself. 

Poolside activities and treatments include acupuncture, yoga, sound meditations, scalp and hand massages, water workouts, and IV therapy, and the price tags reflect this dedication to wellness: The gated pool charges hotel guests $200 for a lounge chair, $600 for a daybed, and $1,200 for a cabana. 

This focus on wellness is similar at locations like the Four Seasons in Bora Bora, which is teaming up with private aviation services and wellness companies to create everything from tailored retreats to incentive trips for larger groups. Customized itineraries are carefully designed to “align with personal wellness objectives,” creating memorable wellness journeys for all involved.

 

Immersive wellness is an incredibly lucrative genre that will continue its rising trajectory in upcoming years. As demonstrated through the fields of spa, fitness, and travel, we’ll see how wellness immersions are evolving into one of the major trends of 2024. 

By grasping onto this exciting pursuit, companies can continue to actively engage with customers in a way that’s both healthy and stimulating.

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