On June 13, 2015, Global Wellness Day was celebrated by over 600 properties in 70 countries starting at sunrise in New Zealand, panning throughout all time zones until sunset in Hawaii, making it one of the longest celebrations of the year!
On that special day, created by Belgin Aksoy, Creative Director, Richmond International, major hospitality groups, cosmetic brands & spas have organized wellness activities (free of charge) so that the general public could learn & practice techniques to enhance their vitality and serenity at home, at work,or on the go.
For the first time ever, competitors have agreed to speak as one voice on the second Saturday of June in order to demonstrate and celebrate the many benefits of Wellness: Accor, Anantara, Chuan Spas, Cinq Mondes, Clarins, Comfort Zone, ESPA, Fairmont Raffles, Four Seasons, Grace Hotels, Healing Hotels of the World, Hyatt, Jiva Spas, Jumeirah, LUX* Resorts, Marriott, Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula Hotel Paris, Ritz-Carlton, Six Senses, Steiner, Thalazur, Themae, Trump Spas, Voya, Wyndham Spas... and so many others !
Activities ranged from yoga class, Pranayama breathing techniques, nutrition / cooking workshops, fitness, aqua-zen, mindfulness / meditation sessions, book signings, bike tours with organic picnics, and even a wellness flashmob in Latvia...
Already, preparations are under way for Saturday 11 June 2016, with the active participation of Spa & Wellness Associations around the world, spreading the word to their members & the local audience.
In order to one day reach & influence the lives of 1 billion people, GWD 2016 will not only gather more spas, but also incorporate yoga/pilates studios, martial art dojos, dance schools, and reach out to stressed-out employees through Corporate Wellness programs.
Noel Asmar, Wellness Ambassador for Canada currently encourages schools to organize fun & mindful activities , while also reaching out to local organic farmers to promote savory home-cooking with farm-to-fork delicious ingredients.
The biggest accelerator for GWD 2016 is now coming from a growing number of Mayors & local officials who care for the wellfare of their constituents.
In October 2015, Susie Ellis, Chairman of the Global Wellness Summit, wrote in the Huffington Post : "It will be interesting to see which governments take the lead."
In France, Philippe Sueur, Mayor of Enghien-Les-Bains, asked his Tourism Office to publish a map of the heart of his thermal city (near Paris) locating the spas, restaurants, bookstores & parcs were wellness activities were taking place. Since then, Marc Francina, Mayor of Evian-les-Bains & President of ANETT (Association of Mayors from 920 French Touristic cities) has launched a nation-wide campaign encouraging as many cities as possible in France to follow this pioneering example next June.
In Turkey, the Municipality of Istanbul secured the allocation of a park where 6,000 people participated in many workshops ; and offered billboards in the city on a complimentary basis.
In the US, Kim Marshall, Wellness Ambassador. convinced Serge Dedina, Mayor Imperial Beach, to spearhead GWD in California. This annual community-driven and organized event will help underscore the Mayor's efforts to improve the quality of life of the residents through their participation in activities and a lifestyle that includes wellness and wellbeing as a foundational element : a Community Walk , yoga on the sand, tai-chi on the roof, meditation classes, fittraining, surfing; paddle boarding and even K9 fitness. A WELLNESS EXPO will also feature a County Wellness Resource Desk to help educate residents about what is available in their own community; healthy food & drink products, fitness clubs for seniors & new moms; spa services and healthy restaurant options.
In Thailand, Global Wellness Day is being supported by Tourism Authority of Thailand, Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, and the Thai Spa Association.
Inspired by these examples George Tavelis, Wellness Ambassador for Cyprus rallied the vast majority of spas on the island, gained the support of the Cyprus Tourist Organization and convinced local authorities to host events in their respective city centres. Constantinos Yiorkadjis, Mayor of Nicosia, Andreas Christou, Mayor of Limassol, and Andreas Louroudjiatis, Mayor of Larnaca, all confirmed their commitment for 2016!
In Lithuania, Nijole Dirginciene, Mayoress of Birstonas supported Global Welness Day during the traditional resort feast „Mineralize yourself!" because « it reminds people that they can create a healthier, happier and brighter future ». The Mayoress added « We all wish to be healthy, stay in shape and enjoy every single day in our lives. Why not start today to live in the way we want? »
In this sense, one can celebrate Global Wellness Day on the second Saturday of June, and can also Grow Wellness Daily all the other days of the year.
Daniel Friedland, MD, CEO, SuperSmartHealth & Chair, Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine says « Global Wellness Day is a celebration and reminder that we have the power to enhance our longevity, wellness and well-being and transform the health of the world together. Research shows that engaging in wellness activities like quitting smoking, eating a healthier diet and increasing your physical activity can prevent 80% of heart disease and diabetes and 40% of cancers.»
Dr. Thomas Frieden, Center for Disease Contral & Prevention (CDC) Director adds "Physical activity is the closest thing we have to a 'wonder drug'."There is no single medicine that comes close to what physical activity can do."
Adrian Hutber, PhD Vice President for « Exercise is Medicine », American College of Sports Medicine, reminds us that "It's better to be fat and fit, than skinny and unfit!" and that there is data supporting that a moderately fit person in their eighties, has a similar life expectancy to an unfit person who is in their sixties (twenty years younger!).
Pamela Peeke MD, MPH, FACP, FACSM Senior Olympic Triathlete, Member of the Senior Olympics Foundation Board, Pew Foundation Scholar in Nutrition and Metabolism, confirms "Current exercise research revealed that although the average age of the Senior Olympian is 68, their Fitness Age is 43. By being fit, these men and women who are over the age of 50, shaved a quarter of a century from their actual age, an extraordinary benefit!"
Now THAT's medical evidence worth Growing Wellness Daily & celebrating Global Wellness Day on June 11, 2016 !