Top Trends in Wellness 2016: From Technology to Travel

Some of the top trends in Wellness for 2016 may have as much to do with technology as they do with rejuvenation. Fresh from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 come no shortage of gizmos to track heart rate, steps, where you have been, where you are going and, of course, calories.

While many of these items are already available in a variety of forms, here is a short run down of gadgets for those who want to go for the gold in their own well being, fitness and mindful approach to living.

1. While the Apple Watch is getting kudos for getting wearers off the couch, Fitbit unveiled its new Blaze, which offers a neat watch face along with on-screen workouts powered by FitStar. It uses GPS to track runs, continuously monitors heart rates, and records sleep patterns.

2. When plans call for a good night’s sleep, Sleep Number’s new Sleep IQ is a smart bed that tells you how you might best adjust your mattress for the evening given the type of day you have just had. It also adjusts for you based on predictive modeling and sensors.

3. Control your destiny, or at least where your feet are taking you, through this French maker’s idea of the perfect sneaker – based on a design concept that might have been cool in a Back to the Future film. The Digitsole by Zhor Tech warms your feet on cold days, tracks your comings and goings, keeps your calorie tally going, tightens and loosens wherever you need it and adjusts insoles to manage shock absorption automatically. No need to plug your shoes in at night. They charge wirelessly. Naturally there is an app for this. The shoes will be available for all sizes when they come out this spring.

4. There were no shortages in smart watches, fitness watches, health monitors and GPS trackers at CES this year, but none could claim such beauty as this: Swarovski Activity Tracking Jewelry. Not only does this item track your movements, your calories, your sleep patterns, and your couch time, but it can be worn to a cocktail party and gets its power from the sun. Tell the time, stay fit, be green, impress a date and never run out of energy – and it is sold in retail stores where bling is king.

5. How many of us end up in a hotel room plagued by outside noise or in a time zone that has us roaming a strange room at odd hours while waiting for the sun to rise? Bedphones is a comfortable earbud set that lays on your ears rather than in them, and plays the music you want, the storybook you want, the white noise you want with an attached app that senses when you are sleeping and turns itself, and the phone, off. They come with a comfy satin eye mask.

6. Wellness often means spending a lot of time in the outdoors and even though you smear your exposed skin with all manner of sun protection, those UV rays still get in. Cosmetics company L’Oreal has teamed up with a Massachusetts-based flexible electronics company called MC10 to create MyUVPatch, an adhesive patch users can apply to their skin. A corresponding mobile app tracks their UV exposure and let’s them know when it’s time to get some shade.

7. According to OMsignal, every bra tells a story. The company focuses on smart, fitness monitoring clothing and is adding a sports bra to the lineup. The bra is adjustable and available in a variety of styles. Built-in sensors track breathing, heart rate, workout intensity and calories burned. A “smart box” stores all the data so you can leave the phone at home. It is expected to be available this Spring.

8. A new company called Halo has created a smartband worn around the forehead that monitors stress and tension and gives feedback to help manage chronic tension headaches, migraines, and TMJ pain. The band offers soothing “alert” vibrations to get you to calm down when tension is high, allows you to monitor your tension points for patterns, and provides real-time relaxation training exercises developed by top clinical specialists.

9. If you can’t monitor your calorie intake every time you eat, now your utensils can. Spun Utensils offers smart forks and spoons that count every bite, track nutritional intake, help you pace those bites and provide gentle reminders for food intake recommendations.

Wellness 2016 and Where to Find It

No matter what smart technology you wear, there is nothing like a week or even a weekend at a destination spa resort to get the mind primed, the chi pumped, the calories burned and the beauty rebooted.

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Here are some highly recommended destination spa resorts, each offering a variety of special qualities that other resorts do not.

Ananda in the Himalayas combines the vacation of a lifetime in the foothills of the Himalayas with exotic health treatments guaranteed to help guests reach their share of nirvana. The setting is a former Raj’s palace where nature is woven into the romantic architecture. Treatments are set to balance the five senses through the wisdom of the Vedas. Two-night and three-night packages are available that introduce the magic of Ananda. Most recommended: Ananda Detox-Starter. The four-night program targets toxins that constantly build up in the body due to pollution and other environmental factors and lead to lack of energy, weight gain and low mood. The program integrates the essential elements of Ayurveda and Aromatherapy, Yogic Kriyas, Meditation and Personal Fitness – and all with a dosha-based customized diet that leaves you refreshed, toned, glowing and energized.

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Chable Destination Spa
in the Mexican Yucatan will be opening this year with a magical spa resort set in Mayan forests only 25 minutes’ drive from Merida. The resort is surrounded by mystical Mayan ruins far enough from civilization to hear the spirits in the trees but close enough to take advantage of some of Mexico’s best museums, galleries and markets. The centerpiece of Chable is the cenote – a natural cave with an open ceiling that was held sacred by civilizations past. The spa at Chable integrates this cenote with Mayan traditional healing and customized treatments.  The spa, itself, features nine treatment rooms, a steam room, a sauna, a salt cabin and a floatarium as well as warm and cold whirlpools of varying temperatures and pressures, a relaxation area and a relaxing pool for sunbathing.

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Rancho La Puerta
, just over the California border in Tecate, Mexico, reminds us that we are not just worker machines in a wash, rinse, repeat world. While fitness is at the heart of the program, this sprawling retreat high in the foothills of Baja near mystical Mt. Kuchumaa, presents a setting of quiet, beauty, stillness of heart and mind and stunningly healthy cuisine. And while this is a retreat you can visit alone and find your inner spirit on hikes through the desert and lone morning meditations, Ranch La Puerta is also a place you can take your spouse and/or your family. Everyone gets love at The Ranch and that means programs, such as family week in late July, which offers children explorations in nature, cooking, crafts, adventures and spirit while parents indulge in their own discoveries alone or with family members.

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Chiva-Som
in Hua Hin, Thailand, just two hours’ drive from Bangkok, the pursuit of health and wellness gets a big boost from eastern medicine. Thailand, already known for its modern hospitals and advances in medical tourism, combines the setting of quiet, white sand beaches, golden icons of Buddha looking out over the Gulf of Thailand, and a prevailing culture of inner peace with healing practices, rejuvenation therapies and new beauty treatments for those willing to go the distance. Chiva-Som offers stays in elegant Lanna-style villas, amazing meals from pure, energy-boosting foods and sessions with some of the best practitioners in Thailand. Guests work toward customized goals ranging from losing weight, to quitting addictions, to boosting fitness, busting stress, healing headaches or simply erasing those fine lines of life from a smile.

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Recommended at Chiva-Som: Intensive beauty treatments by Chiva-Som’s onsite Niranlada Medi-Spa. These can range from laser skin rejuvenation treatments and tightenings to Botox to recontouring sessions – all in a relaxing and healing resort setting. Otherwise, a simple Retreats Introduction package packs in a complete plan for Holistic healing with a combination of consultations and medical analyses for body, skin and lifestyle, plus daily regimen of fitness classes, water therapies, and relaxing healing body treatments, complemented by three amazing meals a day.

Lake Austin Spa in the rolling Texas hill country is a great choice for a fun spa vacation, especially for those who prefer to stay closer to home. All-inclusive packages feature healthy and satisfying cuisine that can be matched to fit individual calorie requirements, a roster of activities to keep the body pumped and primed and more than 100 relaxing spa treatments for both women and men. The resort spreads out along the shores of Lake Austin with 40 lakeside cottages. A sprawling, 19-acre spa area anchors the resort with indoor and outdoor pools, Jacuzzis and cabanas, some 30 treatment areas to accommodate groups, couples and friends as well as individuals, and two acres of terraced foliage and aquatic gardens.

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Recommended: Girlfriend getaways get special attention at Lake Austin Spa. The resort offers “women inspired” events and great opportunities for bonding through special treatments and specially designed classes, such as Communications Skills, Basic Photography, Gratitude Bracelets, Watercolor Crafts, Discover Your Strengths, and more. A full calendar of informative and compelling classes in such areas as meditation, yoga, breathing, nutrition, relationships, and mental clarity can be counted on for any visit, any time of the year.

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