The Business of Wellness: Why It’s Booming and How People Are Prioritizing Health

Consumers are changing their outlook on their health and how they access treatments that go beyond a traditional doctor’s appointment. Even before the pandemic, when many people had a deeper realization of their own mortality, there was a shift in prioritizing health from a holistic standpoint. Many are making big changes to their lifestyle and spending more money on treatments that maximize their health and well-being — both physically and mentally. 

Factors Driving Growth

While there are likely many factors that have led to the huge growth in the wellness industry, there is one reason that has catapulted wellness businesses into new territories: information. 

People from all walks of life are looking online to improve their health journeys and look to wellness businesses that offer ‘out of the box’ technologies and treatments.

For example, West Omaha Cryotherapy, specializes in cryotherapy — a unique treatment that involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes. The business also offers full-body light therapy, an infrared sauna, and more. 

“Most people have a desire to achieve a higher level of well-being,” said Matt Carney, CEO of West Omaha Cryotherapy. “Having endless information at our fingertips on how to achieve that goal provides more clarity into turning that desire into a reality. 

“This information being available not only helps people to understand how to become healthy, but also shines light on the very real consequences those who are not focused on health may face down the road. Understanding these consequences is a great motivator. Companies like ours are popping up all over the nation. This availability of incredible technologies and modalities to the general public not only piques interest, but makes achieving higher health more attainable.”   

Another factor that has driven growth is the rising cost of health care. In short, people are paying more to get medical treatment. Many have discovered that if they stay healthier, they can avoid hospital stays, emergency room visits, or other appointments that increase their out-of-pocket expenses. 

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Timothy Rexius, owner of Rexius nutrition stores, VHI Supplements International, and Iron Heaven Gym’s fitness facilities, said that steep health care prices have helped light a fire within people to transform their lifestyles. 

“Health care costs are at an all-time high and especially after the pandemic people saw the data; folks who were affected the worst were the unhealthy and overweight group,” he said. “It was a wakeup call for people to realize that you only get one body, and you’d better take care of it because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.”

Angela Wilson, owner of Float Center agrees that there has been a shift in thinking about health and wellness.

“Proactive consumers consider information and options far beyond ‘an apple a day,’” she said. “And people don’t just want to keep the doctor away; they realize physical, mental, and emotional health are inextricably intertwined, and they want to optimize their overall well-being on a holistic level.”

Float Center, located near 156th Street and West Dodge Road in Pepperwood Village.
Float Center, located near 156th Street and West Dodge Road in Pepperwood Village.

Casey Kuhl co-founder of Live Hydration Spa, an IV therapy spa, said that people understanding that they can take their wellness into their own hands has driven growth for the industry. 

Customers of the spa are wanting to boost their immune system and improve their well-being through hydration and essential vitamins and minerals. 

Social Media Impacts

There’s no argument that social media has indeed changed all aspects of our culture. While it has created an environment that encourages communication and virtual connection with others, it has also fed into how people access information about health and wellness topics. 

The world of social media and health is a double-edged sword, however. While it has given consumers the opportunity to learn more about important health and wellness topics, it has also opened the can of misinformation, which can have a detrimental effect over time. 

“Influencers have had a big impact,” Carney said. “Not only do their followers have a personal connection with their story and content, but the information they’re also receiving is usually delivered in a palatable and entertaining manner. 

“Additionally, we have a wealth of content creators that can take traditional, scientific research and deliver that information in a package that’s easily understood by everyday people. There’s also a motivational component to this equation. It helps to have someone to look up to who is the perfect picture of health and to understand that if you follow the right path, you can achieve what they have achieved.”

Rexius reiterated that even though social media can be used for good, it also has its limitations. 

“The ability to share ideas and products, routines and diets to the masses is an amazing opportunity,” he said. “Now that being said, it’s a pay-to-play game now with social media so if you’re not paying them not that many people are going to see what you have to share anymore. 

“The issue here is now about who has the money, not the best idea. Another trend is everyone is a ‘coach’ now. This is not good … a lot of folks on social media claiming to be a coach are inadequately qualified to be a health coach of any sort.”

Current Industry Trends

Rexius believes that the rise of ‘vlogging’ of personal fitness journeys has been something that has caught the attention of many consumers. 

“As someone who’s always been into the fitness and wellness scene, it can get to be too much, but on the other hand if watching someone else’s personal journey motivates even one person to get off the couch and start to take their health seriously then it’s all worth it,” he said. 

Wilson, whose business at the Float Center emphasizes the importance of parasympathetic nervous system activation to support well-being, said that many trends in wellness can be viewed as tools that promote balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic activity. 

“The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s rest and relaxation state, the flip side of the sympathetic nervous system’s ‘fight or flight’ response that is often over-activated by the stress, speed, and uncertainty of our modern world,” Wilson said. “At the physical level, parasympathetic activation slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, promotes digestion, and enhances immune function.  

“It relieves stress, promotes sleep, and enhances immune function. The beauty of float therapy is that it’s kind of like meditation without the effort and massage without the masseuse. Instead, we provide a carefully calibrated environment that allows your body and mind to slip effortlessly into parasympathetic activation. Float pools are sometimes referred to as sensory deprivation tanks, but I think the language of deprivation fails to capture the life-changing benefits of giving your body and mind the peace and quiet to just be.”

Carney said that there are a few trends that stand out. 

“The use of cold, heat, light, oxygen, etc. to hack our biology and induce phenomenal changes to our health and regenerative processes is infinitely interesting to me,” he said. “I believe these types of wellness-promoting activities will become commonplace in the not-so-distant future.”

Adaptability has been key in following trends in the industry. 

“The wellness industry has had to be able to adapt and change quickly with all the new things that come out,” Kuhl said. “[That’s] positive for us in the IV therapy space as people were not wanting to get sick or feel terrible and they turned to us to help them.”

Looking Ahead

With consumer awareness at an all-time high and more wellness experts and companies recognizing the benefits of treatments that can give people a more well-rounded healthy lifestyle, the future of the wellness industry is bright.

“Feeling great is infectious,” Carney said. “The better people feel, the more they want to push their health into the next tier. That brings folks back for more and helps them to achieve things they never knew they could.”