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The Wellness Movement Pioneers:
New Global Research Findings
Gareth Ellis & Brian McCarter
Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness
The Wellness Movement Pioneers:
New Global Research Findings
Gareth Ellis & Brian McCarter
Introduction: An awakening
A brief history of healing
A sick planet
A life well lived
The Wellness Movement themes
I. Radical compassion
II. Embodied wisdom
III. Social ﬁtness
IV. Somatic spaces
A ﬁnal word
Ogilvy Health & Wellness Practice
Welcome to our report on the Wellness
Movement, and the pioneers shaping it.
Wellness is fast moving from the fringes to
the mainstream. It is changing how we live.
As more of us turn to it, it will only grow
in importance. The Wellness Movement
creates a new space for businesses and
brands. But before they enter it, they
must understand why it matters.
A new consumer no longer sees wellness as just a lifestyle treat,
such as a trip to a spa or downtime on a yoga mat. Wellness is
a way to cope with the demands and rigours of our modern lifestyles.
The Wellness Movement also challenges modern healthcare, which
is focused on curing diseases rather than keeping people well. Whilst
healthcare splits into ever more specialisms, people seek the opposite,
integrating nutrition, sleep, physical and mental health into their
They are exploring an ancient question: how do we heal ourselves?
Do we look to wisdom, science or faith? The answer, it seems, is all
three. Tomorrow’s wellness brands will unite mind, body and spirit
to help us reach our fullest potential.
This poses a particular challenge for wellness marketers. How do
we develop propositions that do all three? Marketers must think
holistically, uniting the mind and body in a meaningful way. They must
explore how to link the individual with the collective, so everyone wins.
New technologies will enable people to come together like never
before. We have established the Ogilvy Health & Wellness Practice
to address these marketing challenges, making brands matter to
To write this report we have spoken to thought leaders whose ideas
are determining what’s next. Culture is created at the edges, and you
have to go there to understand how it will change. Our pioneers
represent the incredible diversity of the Wellness Movement. They
come from all corners of the globe: Asia, North America, The Middle
East, Scandinavia, The Netherlands and the UK. We also immersed
ourselves in many of the more emergent practices, from attending
sober morning raves to being frozen at -85 degrees. All research
was carried out during Summer 2017.
The Wellness Movement is
gathering momentum. It will
have a profound impact on
how we live, and what we
expect from brands.
Global wellness economy:
$3.7 trillion in 2015
Source: Global Wellness Institute 2017.
Note: Numbers may not add due to overlap in segments.
A brief history of healing How do we heal? The question is
as old as time. Do we ask the gods
for forgiveness? Seek wisdom from
a great teacher? Or put our faith in
Early cultures wove health into their belief systems. The shaman spoke
with the spirits to heal the sick. The ancient Egyptians thought healing
was inseparable from religious worship. The Greeks prayed to Apollo,
the God of healing. His children were Panacea (cure all), Hygeia
(hygiene) and Asklepios (physician). Later, medieval priests told their
congregation that sin caused illness. Even today, some churches say
the same of H.I.V. and AIDS.
A humanistic tradition challenged sacred practices. China’s Huangdi
Neijing set out the principles of qi (or life energy). Ayurvedic medicine
stressed the importance of hygiene, exercise, diet and natural
remedies. Hippocrates asserted ‘sickness is not sent by the Gods…
ﬁnd the cause and we ﬁnd the cure’. He promoted the importance
of balancing the humours. Enlightenment thinkers thought of the
body as a machine. Vitalism, the belief a force or energy creates life,
animated 19th-century biologists. Different philosophies of health
restrained scientiﬁc observation. The physician dispensed his wisdom,
and hoped it worked.
Revolutions in blood circulation, anatomy, surgery and germ theory
(to name a few) changed everything. The art of healing became a
science. Medical devices, such as the microscope and X-ray, revealed
the invisible. Pharmacology fought on a microscopic battleﬁeld.
To eliminate infectious disease, governments industrialised healthcare.
And whilst public health improved, the role of the doctor changed.
Your personal physician became distant, a small cog in a great
machine. Today, doctors are therapeutically potent, but patients
feel something is lost. The human feels forgotten.
Atul Gawande, the American surgeon, writes about the limitations
of modern healthcare. ‘Modern scientiﬁc capability,’ he says, ‘has
profoundly altered the course of human life. People live longer and
better in any time of human history. But scientiﬁc advances have
turned the processes of ageing and dying into medical experiences,
managed by healthcare professionals.’
People aren’t an assemblage of symptoms. They don’t just want
science to blanche them of an illness or a disease. They want to heal
themselves, so they can participate fully in life. This tension animates
the Wellness Movement, and its desire to enrich us in mind, body
People live longer and better
in any time of human history.
But scientiﬁc advances have
turned the processes of
ageing and dying into medical
experiences, managed by
A sick planet For all its joy and wonder, the modern
world makes us sick. For the ﬁrst time in
history, non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
kill more people than infectious disease.
Strokes, heart attacks and cancer account
for more than two-thirds of deaths. Our
modern lifestyles are to blame. Tobacco,
alcohol, poor diets and physical inactivity
are dangerous pleasures.
Today, we face an obesity crisis. Industrial food production has
us hooked on sugar and salt. These once rare (and fought over)
commodities are baked into the food supply. Globally, more than
2 billion people are overweight.
Our nocturnal habits leave us sleep-deprived. Man is the only mammal
who can defer sleep. Many of us go to bed too late. Disrupting our
body clock leads to impaired cognition, anxiety and depression.
A recent study has linked sleep disruption to ADHD.
We live in an age of acute inactivity. Our sedentary lifestyles make us
unhealthy, promoting diabetes and heart disease. More than 80% of
the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active.
The smartphone has rendered the post-millennial generation the least
Modern life is fast-paced and demanding. Stress is toxic, creating
inﬂammation in the body. When people say this job is killing them,
they’re not joking. Working 11 hours a day increases the chance of
a heart attack by 60%.
In the west, we are over-medicated. One in six Americans take a
psychiatric drug. Over 70% are on at least one prescription drug.
In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, more
than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills.
Four in ﬁve new heroin users started out misusing prescription
painkillers. One of the most expensive problems with Obamacare,
it seems, is the doctor’s pen.
It’s true we live in topsy-turvy times, but ultimately the problem lies
with us. Our modern world is at odds with the way we have evolved.
The ‘ape within us’ – the primal parts of the brain designed to keep
us alive – cannot cope with its new environment.
We evolved to live in small groups. Now we live in a global village.
We evolved to gorge on ripe fruit. Now we indulge our primates’ taste
for sweet treats. We evolved to hunt in daylight hours. Now we stare
at screens, lazy and myopic. We evolved to rely on our sense of smell.
Now air pollution hides nature from us. Our cardiovascular system
cannot cope with fatty foods, low exercise and relentless stimulation.
Last year’s top ten Google searches (in the UK) included, ‘how do I
lose weight?’, ‘how do I stay young’ and ‘how do I accept who I am?’
We must help the ape adapt to the modern jungle.
The ‘ape within us’ – the primal
parts of the brain designed to
keep us alive – cannot cope
with its new environment.
NCDs account for a growing share of total
deaths, especially in developing regions
Source: US Department of Health, 2017.
Middle East &
South Asia Sub-Saharan
& the Caribbean
Percent of total deaths attributed
to NCDs, all ages, 2008-2030
NCDs absorb over half the
American healthcare budget.
A life well lived Scientiﬁc advances and public health
programmes mean we live longer. Today,
the world’s population is ageing fast.
The number of people aged over 60
will rise to 2 billion by 2050. An ageing
population is looking for ways to stay
healthy throughout their lives.
People don’t just want to survive. They want to thrive, living life to
the full. We want to grow old disgracefully. Boomers show no interest
in going quietly. But around the world only one in six adults say they
are ‘thriving’. The rest are ‘struggling’ or ‘suffering’ (according to
Gallup-Healthways Global Well-being Index, 2016).
Positive psychologists take the idea of wellness further. They deﬁne
wellness as ﬂourishing. You ﬂourish when you feel good about yourself;
enjoy learning new things; discover purpose and self-esteem; feel
resilient and forge meaningful relationships. In Europe, Denmark
leads the way, but only 33% of their citizens say they are ﬂourishing,
despite lashings of hygge (as reported by the Cambridge Institute
So why aren’t more of us thriving or ﬂourishing? Large parts of the
world remain impoverished, or face social unrest. The developed world
faces the opposite problem. Our economic model is sustained through
the promise of endless rewards. Trouble is, material gain makes you
happy only up to a point. At a certain level you gain emotional
satiation, and face diminishing returns. This condition is sometimes
described as ‘affluenza’, when you ﬁnd yourself stuck on a hedonic
treadmill. The harder you run, the less fun it becomes.
Why do we not get off the treadmill? One of the reasons is the ‘ape
within us’ does not know how. Our primal brain is hardwired to cope
with scarcity. You dare not miss out on the good times. Abundance
only heightens our desire. Enough is never enough.
The Wellness Movement is a way for us to manage our modern
condition. On one level it is an antidote to toxic stress. It helps tame
your cravings, and gets you into healthy habits. It promotes a deeper
understanding of your mind and body. Did you know healthy eaters are
less depressed? And it creates a meaningful connection with you, your
world and the world.
Wellness is not a crystal you buy from Goop or a place you go and
visit. It is a dynamic process of change and growth, moving us from
hedonic wellbeing (personal pleasure) to eudaimonic wellbeing
What causes diseases?
About avoiding problems
Disease / Illness an anomaly
Reactive – absence disease
Against pain or loss
Prepares one to live
What causes health?
About reaching potential
Proactive – presence health
For gain or growth
Discover how to live fully
The Wellness Movement is salutogenesis
Wellness is a dynamic process
of change and growth.
The Wellness Movement themes Like any movement of change, wellness
is challenging dominant cultural ideas.
Each one of the themes we observed is an emergent cultural idea,
re-imagining our understanding of health (viz. ‘an absence of illness’
or ‘overcoming a sickness’).
A new relationship between mind and self. Rejection of the idea there
is a problem to ﬁx. Adopting a kinder, more compassionate view of
oneself facilitates healing and wellness.
A new relationship between mind and body. Rejection of the idea that
the mind and body are separate or divisible. Physical work releases you
from everyday trauma and forges new connections with the mind.
A new relationship between the individual and collective. Rejection
of the idea that only healthcare professionals are qualiﬁed to heal.
Wellness is a shared journey and a collective experience.
A new relationship between the personal and the environment.
Rejection of harmful spaces. We must create spaces designed with
wellness in mind.
A new relationship between wellness and technology. Rejection that
the human and technology are opposed. A belief that advances in
biology and technology can augment wellness.
Over the rest of this report, we will explore these new cultural ideas,
and introduce some of the pioneers who champion them.
The Wellness Movement
unites the mind, body
I. Radical compassion Feeling a little blue? Outdone on Facebook?
Feeling left behind by life? There’s nothing
to worry about. It’s not your fault. You
didn’t choose your brain. For a good
reason, you are wired to worry. Stop
beating yourself up, and show yourself
a little kindness.
Accepting who you are is an act of radical compassion. And whilst this
tradition goes back to Buddha, its most recent reincarnation comes
from evolutionary neuroscience. Throughout history people have
wondered what causes suffering and happiness in the mind. Now we
realise it is produced by underlying processes in the brain (which has
evolved in three stages, loosely related to reptilian, mammalian and
primate.) Rather than ‘ﬁxing a problem’, radical compassion wants you
to understand your brain’s ongoing struggle with the modern world.
Our nervous system evolved over 600 million years to help us survive.
Our most ancient brain is geared towards negative bias. Back then you
didn’t get many second chances. You ate lunch, or you became lunch.
Today, our brain still looks for bad news to keep us safe. Bad memories
are prioritised over good ones. But we can teach the brain to have
positive bias when we look for good in the world. We can rewire
ourselves for happiness.
The brain has three operating systems: to avoid harm (i.e. ﬁght or ﬂee);
approach rewards (i.e. ﬁnd food); and attach (i.e. ﬁnd friendship).
Once your needs are met, you rest and recuperate, until anxiety forces
you to act. Our human ancestors had long periods of rest followed by
short bursts of stress. But the modern world has shattered the ancient
template. We yo-yo between the systems, living in a state of inner
homelessness. To heal and grow, we must manage our primal
responses, calm ourselves down and start self-soothing.
Radical compassion promotes the need for headspace (i.e. quiet time).
Mindfulness is becoming more popular, from parenting unruly kids, to
teaching in schools, to meditation Apps, to wellness resorts. In an age
of plenty, we are reclaiming gratitude. As Oliver Sacks wrote at the
end of his life, ‘I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant
feeling is gratitude… I have [through my writing] had intercourse with
Radical compassion will make us realize the importance of havens,
whether in our homes, hospitals, schools, offices and cities. Mercedes
has recently developed a wellness car, which regulates mood, smell
and temperature so you feel at peace, even in the worst traffic-jam.
Radical compassion will start to exert an inﬂuence over our everyday
habits. Compassionate eating, drinking, exercise, sleeping and beauty
are emergent ideas. Once you pursue self-compassion, you lose
interest in hard liquor, harsh tobacco, clogging food, aggressive
workouts or cosmetics that damage your skin. You want to take
better care of yourself through products that help you heal.
Accepting who you are is an act of
radical compassion. And whilst this
tradition goes back to Buddha, its
most recent reincarnation comes
from evolutionary neuroscience.
The Mindful Curriculum
Harry and Stephanie run Renaissance College, a school in Hong Kong.
Traditionally, Hong Kong’s schools are pressure cookers. Students
spend most of their time studying (on average 62 hours per week).
After six hours of learning in school, they do ﬁve hours of homework.
Hong Kong suffers an epidemic of student suicide.
Harry and Stephanie wanted to embed a culture of positive psychology
in their school. This meant giving students and teachers the mindset to
not just manage the pressure but ﬂourish. They avoided a top down
approach, as this would only add to the stress. Instead they
encouraged (and paid for) the staff to practice mindfulness in their
own time. A few teachers introduced it into their lessons. The school
started with the primary school kids. By the time students reached
high school years they were well practised.
The school expected parental resistance. In fact, parents complained
that not all children received the programme. Spending 20 minutes on
mindfulness each day allowed teachers and students to work in a much
more focused way for impressive academic results.
Interview with Principal, Harry Brown, and Vice Principal of Primary,
Stephanie Howdle-Lang, of Renaissance College Hong Kong
Harry Brown & Stephanie Howdle-Lang
“We needed more than just a
programme. We needed a way of life to
ease the burdens from daily pressure
felt by the school community.”
Jumana Al Darwish
“If you’re not happy, you can’t do
anything. You can’t achieve, you can’t
produce, you’re not going to be an
active member of the society.”
The Happy Box
On New Year’s Day 2014, sisters-in-law Jumana and Linda brunched
with their families. They both agreed that the demands of a busy
lifestyle meant quality time with their loved ones was non-existent.
In many UAE cosmopolitan cities, families have difficulty spending
time with each other. A recent survey in Dubai found 50% of people
don’t spend enough time with their kids.
Jumana and Linda created Happy Box. Happy Box is a subscription
service. You order a different box each month. A happy box entails
mindful activities for small and big kids (and grown-ups too!).
The box has step-by-step instructions. The activities are customised
for the child’s age and gender. They are educational yet fun in nature,
promoting cognitive development, creativity and ﬁne motor skills.
Happy Box helps families reconnect with one another in simple ways.
The family has opportunity to let go and be in the moment with each
other. Jumana and Linda also own the Happy Studio, a community
space for families to reconnect and bond.
Interview with Jumana Al Darwish, Founder of The Happy Box and
The Happy Studio, UAE
II. Embodied wisdom Descartes split the mind from the body.
Like many Enlightenment thinkers,
he feared emotions hold us to ransom.
But we are now discovering the body isn’t
so dumb after all. In fact it is rather wise,
seeing through self-deception faster than
the mind. Today, we understand our minds
and bodies are entwined.
Evolutionary biologists believe our brains evolved with our bodies.
Our reptilian brains made crawling instinctive. Our mammalian brain
united motion and emotion. Our primate brains had us on our feet,
exploring the world. Movement is life. With it we grow. Movement
provides information the brain needs to develop and organise itself.
The brain in turn creates thoughts, feelings and movement. As the
body goes, so does the brain. We enact ourselves in the world.
As a dynamic system, the human body wants to improve itself.
But we face a crisis in human movement. Our network culture, with
its emphasis on the visual and virtual, unplugs the body from the mind.
Sleeping is a more active state than watching TV. The hours stuck in
front of a screen place unprecedented stress on our musculoskeletal
frames. Back pain is one of the world’s fastest growing chronic
conditions. Worse, sitting still for long periods of time contributes
to a host of psychological and physical conditions, from depression,
to cardiovascular disease, to cancer.
Somatic practitioners want us to inhabit our bodies again (soma
is Greek for the whole body). Somatic psychotherapists improve
self-image through body awareness. The Feldenkrais School reclaims
your inner grace to enhance functioning in other parts of your life.
Peter Levine heals unresolved trauma using lessons from the animal
kingdom (that connect with our ancient brain).
Today, more people seek a mind-body connection. Yoga now
relieves stress in the gym or the workplace. Fascial ﬁtness keeps the
ﬁbrous webbing around our muscles supple, making your mind more
resilient. Holistic health psychiatry believes depression isn’t a chemical
imbalance. It’s a signal the body is inﬂamed, and the immune system
needs boosting through better diet, exercise and meditation.
The mind-body connection is starting to inﬂuence the ergonomics
of everyday life. Vivobarefoot shoes, for example, reclaim barefoot
running (apparently good for your memory). Standing desks in
workplaces claim to improve performance. Philips designs breast
pumps that encourage oxytocin, so the mother produces more
milk. These are just a few examples of body mindfulness in action.
The struggle to reclaim the body, and liberate the mind, has just begun.
The Fourth Trimester
Anja has pioneered a coaching programme for women in the
‘Fourth Trimester’ (i.e the three months after birth). Anja trains
Pilates instructors in these methods.
Anja believes society does not fully recognise the trauma of birth
for the woman. As women give birth later, the impact on the body is
profound. Many women go back to work too early (one of the reasons
for the opioid crisis in America). Some hit the gym ﬂoor without
realising that high impact exercising make matters worse. Post-natal
or post-partum depression remains widely under reported. Women
are expected to just get on with it. Whilst the baby industry bombards
expectant mums in the third trimester, they ignore her in the fourth
(when baby gets all the attention).
Anja uses gentle non-threatening exercises to strengthen the pelvic
ﬂoor and fascial planes. Small adjustments make a big difference.
This helps women regain strength and ﬂexibility. The techniques help
women come to terms with the birthing experience, and the torrent
of emotions besetting them. Feeling strong in body and mind helps
women feel more positive about the future, which is good for mum
Interview with Anja Schall, dance artist and pilates coach
“Society doesn’t recognise the impact
of birth and how it affects the mind.”
Breast milk is a magic potion. It produces all the nutrients a baby needs
to grow, and strengthens their immune system. Giving baby breast
milk makes them healthier in the ﬁrst 1,000 days, the foundations
of a healthy life. But around the world breastfeeding is in decline.
Philips Avent makes bottles, breast pumps and soothers. Breast pumps
help mum give baby a feed when she is not there. However, some
pumps force mum to hunch, which can lead to a bad back. Philips has
designed a breast pump that avoids stress on the back, helping mum
relax. The posture engenders more oxytocin – the love hormone.
Oxytocin is amazing. It helps mum bond deeply with baby. And it
enables her to produce more breast milk. The right posture helps
mum give baby a healthy start in life.
Interview with Philips Mother & Child Business Group
Dr Ruden is a neuroscientist who has developed a treatment
called havening. Havening aims to treat depression and anxiety
caused by traumatic events. He uses touch to alter thoughts,
mood and behaviour.
Dr Ruden’s work with Vietnam veterans taught him about the
relationship between stress and addiction (which he covered
in The Craving Brain). Once the soldiers left the battleﬁeld their
addiction disappeared. Dr Rudy believes traumatic events create
‘inescapable stressors’ in the brain. These manifest themselves
in maladaptive behaviour.
Dr Ruden does not diagnose people. He asks patients to recall stressful
events. During Havening, the practitioner applies a gentle touch to the
forearms. This process increases the levels of serotonin, breaking the
link between the event and the distress. Dr Rudy argues there is strong
neuroscience behind Havening. Kings College London ran a trial recently
and found Havening had a positive impact on those who took part.
Interview with Dr Ronald Ruden, neuroscientist and Founder of Havening
Dr Ronald Ruden
“We don’t diagnose. We help
you ﬁnd the distressing event.
Trauma is a stuck pattern but we
can release you from it.”
III. Social ﬁtness Millennials are natural born sharers. From
likes, to streaks, to gigging, they drive the
sharing economy. At the heart of sharing
lies a paradox: sharing is selﬁsh. It is a way
to get ahead, or promote the perception
you are getting ahead.
For Millennials, wellness has shifted from a private activity to a group
dynamic, whether it’s trampoline tennis in the park or posting pictures
of yoga stretches.
Millennials are making wellness a shared experience. They have
found their inner ape. As mammals, we are warm-blooded. Kinship
deﬁnes us (contradictions and all). We live in large groups to ﬁnd
protection, but compete with each other. We jostle for position, but
crave self-affirmation. We surrender to communal moments, but later
defend our turf. (Neurophysiologists claim ecstatic group experiences
heal, inspire and socially connect.)
Like any tribe, wellness has its Alphas. Fitness coaches, raw food
fans and self-care champions write blogs and bestride Instagram
(#avotoast anyone?) They tend to be photogenic, tanned and
ruthlessly optimistic. Big names – such as Clean Eating Alice and
Deliciously Ella – turn themselves into lifestyle brands. Here you can
see wellness, beauty and fashion collide, a competitive spectator
sport with winners and losers.
We can’t all be gurus, but we can take part. And why not? Millennials
make wellness fun. Healthy hedonism gives you a natural high.
After all, if you enjoy it, you’ll keep going. SoulCycle, for example, is set
in a dark candlelit room, where high-energy music makes riders move
like pack. ‘A cardio party for the tribe’, they call it. Rebel gyms combine
clubbing with ﬁtness. Morning Gloryville is a sober morning rave that
starts (not ﬁnishes) at 6 am. Social ﬁtness companies give groups
adventures and events. Communities are creating social ﬁtness zones,
such as park gyms.
Technology and gamiﬁcation is another way to motivate us into better
habits. Fitbit and Cyclemeter let you challenge yourself, and other
people’s personal bests. Fitocracy is a ﬁtness social network that
combines community, knowledge, and gamiﬁcation. Employee health
programmes get employees into healthy habits at work (two
programmes are featured here). Social ﬁtness will only grow, as people
use technology to become healthier together.
We can’t all be gurus, but we
can take part. And why not?
Millennials make wellness fun.
Healthy hedonism gives you
a natural high.
Jesper founded 7Peaks, a social ﬁtness company that helps employees
peak 7 days a week. 7Peaks works with large organisations, such as
Deloitte and Nestlé. They inspire employees to participate in digital
health campaigns, leading to higher productivity and employee
satisfaction. To date, 7Peaks has made 250,000 people healthier.
Jesper believes, ‘progress beats perfection’ (a view shared by winning
Olympians). 7Peaks get employees to make small steps every day.
The accumulation of small wins adds up. The employee gets healthier.
The department feels the impact. The company starts to develop a
Every campaign is different but they share characteristics. They are
tailored to the company culture. Employees are given personal goals.
Friendly competition between colleagues is encouraged. Intelligent
gamiﬁcation makes the programme fun. Measurement shows the
progress made, from less alcohol consumption to lower blood pressure.
Jesper believes employee health is a booming market. 7Peaks believe
they have only seen the top of the iceberg.
Interview with Jesper Nyhavn, CEO and founder of 7Peaks
“It’s the little things that we help
you become better at but in the big
picture it makes an impressive impact
on the individual, the department and
the entire company, creating winning
cultures and better social capital.”
Dr Roy Sugarman is a clinical neuropsychologist, Olympic coach and
author on motivation. He helps LifeIQ build ‘resilience platforms’ in
Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Africa and Manila. LifeIQ’s social,
gamiﬁed and neuroscience model helps people become resilient to
LifeIQ has helped develop Aviva’s Fit & Well programme. This is a portal
where employees go to improve their diet, sleep and ﬁtness. The portal
gives you personal goals and advice on everything from healthy eating
to ﬁtness regimes. Employees gain points for completing tasks
(which can be redeemed for healthy treats). They can join groups that
match their interests. And now, in partnership with Babylon, they get
access to healthcare professionals.
Dr Sugarman believes we are facing the health crises because we are
not genetically engineered for the way we’re living. Creating change
means setting realistic goals and taking small actions every day.
Artiﬁcial Intelligence, machine learning and technology scale the
effect, making whole populations more resilient. He believes healthcare
is slow and fragmented. ‘Resilience platforms’ are the way forward as
they unite doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, government and
regulatory bodies around preventative care.
Interview with Dr Roy Sugarman, neuropsychologist, coach and author
of ‘Saving your life one day at a time’
Dr Roy Sugarman
“Doctors are only in contact with the
patient one hour a week. What happens
in the other 167 hours? Mobile apps
can expand the doctor’s role into the
realm of personal trainers.”
IV. Somatic spaces How might we design homes and
workplaces if we started with wellness
in mind? A new breed of wellness
architects are attempting to answer
that question, and with good reason.
HG Wells’ Time Machine took us to meet the Morlocks, a future self
who lived underground. Are we so far behind? Our inner ape yearns
to roam free on the plain, and yet Americans spend 90% of their time
indoors. This is unhealthy hibernation. A life undercover disrupts our
natural circadian rhythms. The endless summer we have created in
our buildings baffle our immune systems (designed to cope with
seasonality). The air we breathe is worse than the outdoors. Dry air
in winter absorbs moisture and in some cases causes respiratory
problems. So how do we create the great indoors?
Wellness architects want to design healthy environments. Some use
salutogenic design principles, based on the work of Aaron Antonovsky
(salutogenesis means healthy origins.) He believed that we must shift
our focus from curing disease to managing stress. Stress violates
our sense of coherence. Spaces must make life more manageable
for us (so we maintain homeostasis); more comprehensible (so we
can negotiate circumstances to our beneﬁt); and more meaningful
(so we can live with purpose).
Within healthcare architecture, hundreds of studies show how minor
design interventions shorten hospital stays. Views of nature, art, single
bedrooms, natural lighting and décor reduce stays by 25%. A famous
example is the Philip’s Mangiagalli Centre, a Neonatal Intensive Care
Unit imagined from the perspective of the unborn child. The ward is
softly lit and calming like a giant womb. Unlike other obstetric wards,
the mother is not separated from the baby. Skin-to-skin connection
heals mother and child, so both go home sooner.
Somatic spaces will move beyond healthcare. If we are to spend life
indoors, we must design the environments that make us well. Somatic
homes and workplaces will emerge. Philips Hue already enables you to
use light in your home to help govern your mood. Wellness architects
will look beyond traditional constructs of form and function to create
compassionate, sociable and purposeful spaces. They will explore how
light, air, space, layout and materials seamlessly unite to create havens
that promote mind-body connections.
Somatic spaces will move
beyond healthcare. If we are
to spend life indoors, we must
design the environments that
make us well.
The Dementia Village
Frank advises on and designs Dementia Villages. They help people
with Alzheimer’s enjoy their ﬁnal days in the company of loved ones
and caregivers. The ﬂagship village is Hogeweyk, NL, with 23 houses
with 152 dementia-suffering seniors. Each house is styled around the
period when the residents’ short-term memories stopped working,
accurate down to the tablecloths.
The residents manage their own households together with a team
of staff members. The village has streets, squares, gardens and a park
where the residents can roam. 250 geriatric nurses and specialists hold
different occupations in the village.
Frank believes the world is small for those with dementia. It’s the
simple things that make their life worth living: your own home, a safe
place, and doing what you like. The village encourages sociability
and agency. Traditional nursing homes remind the patients of their
dementia, but promoting the idea ‘you’re normal’ makes patients
healthier and happier.
Frank’s designs are based on salutogenic principles. He envisions
‘social network cities’. As we all grow older, we will need to redesign
the whole city e.g. re-imagine coffee shops, supermarkets, restaurants.
Interview with Frank Van Dillen, Dementia Village Advisors, architects
of Hogeway Dementia Village
Frank Van Dillen
“The world is small for those with
dementia. It’s the simple things that make
their life worth living: your own home, a
safe place, and doing what you like.”
GOCO Wellness Resorts
Ingo and Josephine design spaces that heal people. Their spas and
retreats provide guests with a retreat from their busy everyday lives.
More than that, they encourage guests to ﬁnd a ‘wellness way of life’.
They blend Asian traditions and knowledge with contemporary
Their guests journey through different spaces: from bathing pools,
to treatment rooms, to library spaces, to clean eating, into outdoor
gardens. More than that, they go on a journey of self-discovery.
Indoor or outdoor spaces are seamlessly integrated to inspire
Ingo and Josephine believe design is fundamental to creating healing
environments. Every choice – from materials to ﬂow – is carefully
considered for its cumulative affect. But wellness designers are rare.
They must be sought from other ﬁelds and steeped in wellness
A wellness resort is an entirely different experience to a vacation
resort. A wellness resort is immersive and transformational. Guests
spend almost all of their time in a wellness retreat (unlike a vacation
resort). It all must work, if it is to work at all.
Interview with Ingo Schweder, CEO Founder, and Josephine Leung,
Director of Design, GOCO Hospitality
Ingo Schweder & Josephine Leung
“Wellness design is very meaningful
because beyond what materials
or colours you use, lies the art of
integrating these choices into healing
spaces can spiritually inspire people.”
V. Biohacking Technology was the dominant platform
of the last century, but the human body
is the platform for the next one.
Science ﬁction loves a dystopian future (our negative bias writ large).
At some point Skynet will turn itself on. If the machines don’t get us,
the algorithms will. Or perhaps an alien life form will prove its superior
biological make-up. The Anthropocene Age is ending. Biohackers beg
Biohacking is the art and science of optimising your performance,
health and wellbeing with the help of technological and biological
tools. Biohackers dive deep into sleep, nutrition, exercise, work and
the function of the mind to take the fundamentals of life to a new level.
Biohacking is a systems-led approach. It is based on the concept that
what we put into our bodies has a huge impact on how we feel. If we
want better ‘outputs’ from our systems (like reduced diseases, better
memory, better focus, and superior athletic performance), then we
need to improve our inputs.
‘Flow’ matters in the Biohacking world. Flow is when your skills
perfectly match your everyday challenges. Based on the work of
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, ﬂow is generally described as the optimal
state of consciousness where we feel and perform at our best.
During that state, time slows down, we forget ourselves, our problems,
and perform at our peak levels of physical and mental performance.
Typical examples of Biohacking include extreme fasting or diets
to reach peak performance. They may include taking nootropics
(smart drugs or cognitive enhancers) to improve focus, memory,
and intelligence. Some biohackers use cybernetic devices to record
biometric data (a Fitbit, for example, is a basic form of Biohacking).
Extreme biohackers, or Grinders, may go as far as installing
do-it-yourself body improvements. And then, at the far edges, are
those who researching their own gene sequencing in domestic labs
(don’t try this at home).
Biohacking is in its infancy. It asserts we don’t have to accept the
body or the life we are given. An experimental movement, it believes
that if we keep looking and trying new things, we can make our best
selves happen. As it grows, it will impact on categories as diverse
as functional food to beauty as people pursue an optimal life.
Biohacking asserts we don’t
have to accept the body or
the life we are given.
Hannes is a Chief Disruption Officer and a Biohacking activist.
He wants to democratise biotechnologies. He does not step back from
experimenting on his own body. He believes converging exponential
technologies will change industries as diverse as pharma, food
production, healthcare; and ultimately society.
Hannes pioneers smart human implants (e.g. smart dental implants)
along with quantiﬁed-self methodologies. He believes human implants
will transform health and wellness. Implants on your skin can check
your health status. You can connect them to a server or an artiﬁcial
system to monitor you. This will give you much greater understanding
of all the processes in your body. It can give you an early warning
system if something might go wrong e.g. checking hormone levels;
or vitamin levels; or changes in your heart rate patterns.
Hannes promotes ‘sequence yourself’ programmes with DNA tests.
When individuals know their DNA it allows them to understand how
different medicines, exercise and nutrition affects them. You can map
your microbiomes and see how they affect your health, do tests on
yourself and measure it with smart wearables.
Interview with Hannes Sjöblad, Faculty for Singularity and Diversity
in Denmark; and Chief Disruption Officer at Epicentre
“I am very fascinated by the
democratisation of… biotechnology.
The equipment and solutions that
were the exclusive domain of research
departments and companies ten years
ago are suddenly now available to
anybody as consumers.”
Originating from the Greek for ‘cold cure’, Cryotherapy is a non-invasive,
fast and effective hyper-cooling treatment for anyone seeking muscle
recovery, injury treatment, weight loss or skin rejuvenation.
Modern cold air cryotherapy was developed in Japan in the late 1970s
to reduce inﬂammation in arthritis sufferers. It’s now widely used by
athletes to aid recovery and improve performance; and as an effective
physical therapy to treat rheumatic diseases. It is fast becoming a
recognised beauty and wellbeing treatment.
111Cryo offers three whole minutes inside a sub-antarctic chamber to
shock the body into reaping a range of healthcare beneﬁts including;
muscle relaxation, skin tightening, collagen production and calorie
burning (500–800 per session). And then there’s the effect on your
endorphins. Many people have been known to emerge from the
chamber with childlike euphoria and exhilaration.
Interview, 111 Cryo, Harvey Nichols
These themes work together to make people feel more well. Radical
compassion is a strategy for making us feel better mentally. Embodied
wisdom reconnects the mind and the body. Social ﬁtness encourages
us to become healthy through social interaction. Somatic spaces
heal us indoors. And biohacking looks at new ways of optimising
A ﬁnal word Homo Sapiens know how to adapt and
change. But the Industrial Revolution
caused a seismic shift in how we live.
Now we realise the impact modern life
has on our health. We must make better
choices if we want to get and stay well.
The Wellness Movement will encourage us to become more self-
compassionate; more body-mindful; more communal; more spatially
attuned; and more open to augmenting ourselves with technology.
Nonetheless, we remain trapped in our modern world. Our nomadic
ancestors could migrate to new lands, but we cannot up sticks and
ﬂee. It makes getting well on your own difficult. We need to work
together if we are to create the conditions for us all to thrive.
Fortunately, it is a short step from asking, ‘how do I heal myself?’
to ‘how do we heal ourselves?’
In time, the Wellness Movement will ask even bigger questions of us.
‘How do we raise our children so they ﬂourish?’ ‘What work nourishes
us?’ ‘How do we design our cities so they make us well?’ ‘How do we
organise our society so we achieve our potential?’
This is the opportunity facing us.
Sources An awakening
Global Wellness Economy Monitor, Global Wellness Institute, October 2017
A brief history of healing
Parker, Steve, Medicine, DK, 2016
Porter, Roy, A Short History of Medicine, Penguin, 2003
Gawande, Atuk, Being Mortal, Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End, 2014
A sick planet
American Psychological Association, Stress and Effects on the Body, 2017
American Society of Addiction Medicine, Opioid Addiction, 2016
The Atlantic, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?, September 2017
European Heart Journal, Work Stress and Coronary Heart Disease, 2008
The Guardian, Disturbed Sleep Patterns May be Key to ADHD, September 2017
The Independent, Mismatch Between the Way our Senses Evolved and Modern
World is Making us Ill, September 2017
New Statesmen, Google’s Most Popular Searches of 2016, December 2016
Journal of the American Medical Association, US Spending on Personal Health
Care and Public Health, 2017
Scientiﬁc American, 1 in 6 Americans Takes a Psychiatric Drug, 2016
University of Mexico, Disruption of Circadian Rhythms: A Crucial Factor in the
Etiology of Depression, 2011
World Health Organisation, Controlling the Obesity Epidemic, 2017
World Health Organisation, Non Communicable Diseases, The Slow Motion
World Health Organisation, Physical Activity Fact Sheet, 2017
The need for wellness
Dietz, Rob, Enough is Enough, Routledge, 2013
Gallup-Healthways Global Well-being Index, 2016
Hanson, Rick, Hardwiring Happiness, How to Reshape your Brain, Random
Sacks, Oliver, Affluenza, How to be Successful and Stay Sane, Vermillion, 2007
Well-being Institute at Cambridge University, Flourishing across Europe, 2011
World Health Organisation, Facts about Ageing, Fact Sheet, 2014
Brown, Brene, Daring Greatly, Penguin, 2002
Brown, Brene, The Gifts of Imperfection, A Guide to Whole Hearted Living,
Gilbert, Paul, The Compassionate Mind, Robinson 2010
Hanson, Rick, Hardwiring Happiness, How to Reshape your Brain, Random
Sacks, Oliver, Gratitude, Picador, 2015
Seligman, Martin, Flourish, A New Understanding of Happiness and Wellbeing,
Feldenkrais, Moshe, Awareness through Movement, HarperCollins, 1977
Foster, Mary Ann, Somatic Patterning, Educational Movement Systems
Hanna, Thomas, Somatics, Life Long, 1988
Leboyer, Frederick, Birth without Violence, Healing Arts Press, 2002
Levine, Peter, Walking the Tiger, Healing Trauma, North Atlantic Press, 1997
Chirky, Clay, Here Comes Everyone, Allen Lane, 2008
Evans, Jules, The Art of Losing Control, Canongate, 2017
Gilbert, Paul, The Compassionate Mind, Robinson 2010
Antonovsky, Aaron, Salutogenesis, Verlag, 1997
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, The National Human Activity Pattern
Survey: A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants, 2001
Pallasmaa, Juhani, The Thinking Hand, Existential and Embodied Wisdom
in Architecture, John Wiley, 2009
Perry, Grayson, The Descent of Man, Allen Lane, 2016.
Ulrich, Roger, A View Through a Window May Inﬂuence Recovery from Surgery,
American Association Advancement of Science, 1984
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly, Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Harper
& Row, 1990
Ogilvy Health & Wellness Practice The Ogilvy Health & Wellness Practice sees and solves brand
challenges through the lens of culture, technology and behaviour.
Whatever the shape or size of your business, across the spectrum
of health & wellness, we Make Brands Matter. In healthcare, from blue
chip pharma to biotech, diagnostics, start-ups, hospitals and service
suppliers. In wellness, for all things consumer goods & retail. In our
Practice, we combine the best-in-class consumer insight, innovation
and creativity from Ogilvy, that is well known to all, along with the
health, medical & scientiﬁc expertise that we have across our global
network, working to deliver outstanding business results for our
Our focus is on two key areas:
1. Transformation. Helping our clients transform their brands and
businesses to thrive in the new healthcare economy.
2. Wellness. Advancing proactive and personalised health & wellness
for all, by deﬁning brand & business propositions for the consumer
goods, retail & services sectors.
Why have we built this specialised Practice?
There is major change happening in our society. Everyone wants to live
forever… or at least live healthier for longer. And we as consumers are
prepared to pay for it and take increasing personal responsibility for it.
A major Wellness Movement, driven by consumers, is growing around
the world. At a time when governments and private payers say the
price is too high. We are entering an age of personalised medicine.
And big pharma is taking on the needs of patients ‘beyond the pill’.
The healthcare ecosystem is transforming.
We are seeing a redeﬁnition of health, from the absence of illness
to the fullness of life, a convergence of medical science and holistic
health. Also, a changing relationship between food and wellness and
technology, improving outcomes and democratising health.
The Ogilvy Health & Wellness Practice has been established to help
clients transform and grow in this sector, ensuring their future success.