Covid19 is a mega disruptor, resetting the world, decimating the hospitality and tourism industry with tragic consequences for business-owners, aestheticians, therapists and families who grieve a loved one.

As 2020 draws to an end, let’s pause & rethink our value proposition for individuals, organizations, cities for 2021, so that you can shine a Wellness Champions in your local community.

While the world is waiting for a vaccine, let’s highlight that wellness is a path to improving the situation with grit, resilience and innovation. We can all be part of the solution enhancing vitality, serenity, immunity, creativity and solidarity.

Health is a relationship between our body & mind with a Medical Doctor. Wellness is a relationship between our body & mind with OURSELVES. It is our responsibility to add “Self Care” and “Take Care” to “Skin Care”.

In Paris and Brussels where I live, all spas, salons and fitness clubs have closed for the second time, alongside all “non-essential” businesses. The research about the benefits of wellness treatments & programs are abundant and well documented. So, HOW can our profession be recognized as ESSENTIAL workers by local or State officials (Mayors, Governors), so that Spas remain OPEN and clients safely come back to enhance their vitality, serenity and immunity with very thorough sanitization procedures?

Although the media only focus on the number of people tested positive, admitted in ACU or who succumbed, the following numbers show that we are NOT facing ONE pandemic with Covid19, but several:

  • SLEEP pandemic: 62% of adults worldwide feel that they don’t sleep well, with consequences on mood, cognitive faculties and possible long-term conditions as Alzheimer & Parkinson (World Health Organization)
  • OBESITY pandemic: 39% adults aged 18+ were overweight in 2016 (1.9 Bn) and 13% were obese (650 M) (World Health Organization)
  • SEDENTARY pandemic: According to the Mayo Clinic “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking and kills more people than HIV”!  According to Eurostat, 46% Europeans have NO physical activity!
  • STRESS pandemic: 75%–90% of doctor visits in the United States are related to stress. 

Chronic diseases (heart, stroke, cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases…) killed prematurely 35 million people in 2010 (1 person died every 0.9 seconds).

Not only could people live 10 extra years, but countries and cities could save billions on health costs. The CDC shows that 90% of healthcare cost of 3.5 Trillion dollars in the USA is spent on chronic diseases that are mainly caused by inflammation, and could be avoided!

The problem is NOT that people do NOT know what to do to get better, it’s just that they DON’T do it, or their efforts are short-lived. Few people have the discipline or the support group to hold them accountable and encourage them to stay the course.

FEAR can prompt people to START moving, but it is FUN and pleasure that keeps them going!

This is why World Wellness Weekend is making hope and enthusiasm contagious, connecting people with professionals near them in 543 cities in 109 countries with a map and a locator ( In 2019, we generated 430 mentions in the media with a global reach of 224 million people, promoting 5 Pillars of Wellness: Sleep & Creativity, Nutrition & Immunity, Movement & Vitality, Mindfulness & Serenity, Sense of Purpose and Solidarity.

We do not want to scare or stress people with more adrenalin and cortisol, we want them to be more active, more often with their friends or family (we call them “Wellness Buddies”) so they can experience how great it feels to be well, with a rush of endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin. It really is powerful (“dope” as Millennials say) and it’s legal!

No matter where you are, the key driver to resetting our profession is not “Location, Location, Location”, but “Vocation, Vocation, Vocation”! Our vocation is not just “touch skin”, but to touch LIVES. We need to facilitate and accelerate the implementation of small steps towards lasting healthier and richer lifestyles.

As wellness professionals this is our chance to rise to the occasion, and become agents of change and position transformation for people in our communities in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Specifically, wellness professionals (Hospitality, Spas, Salons, Fitness clubs, Yoga therapists…) should partner with their local officials to implement actions to support SDG3 (“Good Health & Well-being for All”):

  • On an individual level: guests, clients, members can connect with the best version of themselves through therapeutic massage, Energy healing, Sessions on stress management to alleviate anxiety and emotional traumas
  • On an organizational level, companies to instill a culture of Wellness, infusing trust, leadership, creativity through guided meditation, sessions on resiliency, change management with CAM professionals, consultants specialized in behavioral change, organizational change…
  • and cities could care for local communities like the Dubai fitness challenge, which runs in November with 30 minutes of exercise during 30 days.

Hopefully, our industry will find a way to partner with private insurances companies, like in Canada to promote prevention and save billions in preventable Health costs.

With proper strategic planning, marketing acumen and thorough on-going education, the following initiatives can be implemented, as spa therapists could elevate their skills as “Wellness practitioners” to become guides & mentors:

  • train in traditional therapeutic modalities: Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Energy healing (with Shiatsu, Tui Na, Chi Nei Tsang), Trigger points, … and also Pranayama, sophrology, guided relaxation, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Haptonomy
  • more weekends of wellness should be organized as staycations for locals or short getaways for people and for executives focusing on leadership, cognitive enhancement, brain training, resiliency and creativity
  • more online tutorials to stay connected with previous guests, and keep in touch with future guests to help them stay the course (like At Home with Six Senses that gathered up to 30,000 people per online session) about vitality, serenity, immunity, positive psychology
  • more packages and wellness programs with local businesses to boost grit, peak resiliency, creativity, and efficiency of teams.

One positive point about Covid19 is bringing openly the topic of Mental Wellness, which is not new, nor due solely because of the pandemic, but grew much worse. The Global Wellness institute estimates that the Mental Wellness sector was 120 billion in 2019. Just imagine how fast and strong it is going to grow in 2021 with Health & Wellness on everybody’s mind.

There’s no going back to the “old normal”, let’s not fight the change, let’s unveil the opportunities and move forward. Why wait for the light at the end of the tunnel, when we can all becoming lights in the tunnel, helping each other, guiding, inspiring each other?

Wellness does not start with “me”, but “we” and it grows with all of us.

Under stress, our brain activates our reactive mindset (fight or flight mode) that limits creativity, our confidence in ourselves, our trust in others and our peripheral vision, with only a narrow sight. We need to connect to our CREATIVE mindset, ignite meaningful conversations, initiate positive collaborations with other local businesses. Then, together, we will be able to see opportunities, meaningful actions to get out of the tunnel with the “emergency exits” on the side.

Let’s surround ourselves with people that lifts us up, let’s be the light we all want to see.

Warm Wellness Wishes

Jean-Guy de Gabriac

Founder World Wellness Weekend