So I am at a Spa conference and headlining the agenda are a Buddhist professor and a Neurobiologist. This is not the usual theme this year at the NYSpa Alliance Annual Symposium. In the past we've discussed the Spa industry growth in Asia, the salt room trends and the growth of destination Spas but this year, Wellness is all the buzz.

There is a great line up of presenters including a representative from Starwood Hotels who spoke on how they incorporate Wellness in their business model with their launch of their WestinWell-Being Movement, also EVEN Hotels - a new and emerging brand that caters specifically to the travelers Wellness needs. Real estate moguls also discussed the return on investment on Wellness facilities and strategies within existing service industries. We looked at different marketing tactics on how to make Wellness more accessible and relevant to today because who has time to unwind in a hurried state?

The buzzwords floating around all day were resonating with my every being. The hotel industry discussing the psychology of spas and well-being, power of touch, ways to nurture intention, motivational interviewing of our guests and their needs - elevating their experience in ways to discover how we can assist others in how they want to feel. Virgin has created a Wellness division that resonates with their brand language making the spa experience playful, accessible, comfortable, natural and social. They have created a space for Wellness in their industry that allows their guests to socialize, engage and retreat where their Spa experience is not isolated. Here is a link to their location in JFK, NY - Clubhouse Spa | Virgin Atlantic. For Wellness on the go.

EVEN Hotels conducted a three year intensive research on the travelers needs. Being that many of us these days have health and fitness routines and often travel for work, why would these routines not be maintained when traveling. EVEN Hotels offer Wellness as the core of the brand experience. Their motto is - Keep Active, Rest Easy, Eat Well, Accomplish More. Fully equipped with eco friendly products, eucalyptus fiber bedding, in-room training area, and a hotel design that offers you the choice to use the stairs without having to leave the building. 

Clearly we are all looking for ways to not only bring more Wellness into our lives but to also find ways to maintain our current routines. Building a system that supports these intentions create room for success and longevity.

Robert Thurman was the best surprise of this event. Listed on the agenda as a Professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University is impressive but then I learned he is a worldwide authority on religion and spirituality, Asian history, world philosophy, Buddhist science, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and HH the Dalai Lama. I am in awe of his contribution to this year's symposium. He spoke about the founding ideas around the Menla Mountain Retreat located in the Catskills. The founding intention is that when we feel good about ourselves, we are more capable to manage our lives. And that the purpose of the Human life is to be well and if you want to be well, take care of others. This beautiful location was built on the teachings of Tibetan Medicine and offer healing retreats, hiking excursions and ancient healing practices.

Another really intriguing part of this day were the neurobiology professors in the room. I totally geek out about neuroscience as I have been working on a passion project called The Translation of Touch for almost ten years now but that's best reserved for another story. So of course I gravitated towards these individuals and listened carefully when they spoke about how exercise enhances cognition and reduces stress and how mindfulness has been shown to translate to creativity, joy and overall wellness.

This year's symposium proved to be the best one yet as we took a deep dive into how technology can support us in finding better ways to live a better life - through awareness, connectedness and  authenticity.  I am so looking forward to the 2015 NY Spa Alliance Symposium!

Will I see you there?