Sophie Maxwell: Future Health – Feeling The Power Of Body And Mind Symbiosis

The next step in the future of health is connecting mental and physical health in order to achieve higher levels of well being.

From governing bodies to brands, from the media to consumers themselves, health and wellness is top of mind and agenda. But a growing understanding and embracing of the benefits of better health has made us realize that we cannot take things at face value and focus solely on the physical. We are now at a pivotal point in connecting mental and physical wellness with achieving optimum health. And, as a result, are starting to see new holistic solutions, services and communications emerging to enable a powerful new direction for our future health and happiness.

A new empowered wellbeing

The increasingly positive attitude to managing our health, realizing its true value by treating it as a continuous lifestyle choice, is leading us to embrace the advances of science as we strive to optimize ourselves everyday.

And with this new mindset, a new empowerment and expression of health is filtering down to the shelf. A strong and confident addition to the formulaic pharma category, Help Remedies takes a simple and bold approach in a category that is dominated by functional, busy and sometimes confusing packaging and communications.

Bold colors and a conversational, sympathetic tone of voice creates direct engagement with consumers, helping them navigate the range according to the type of relief they’re seeking. Similarly, a new breed of nutrients  – such as Strong, Functionalab and Inner Me – are boldly and simply focused on cause and effect and, in different ways, disrupting and cutting through the existing look and feel of the category, replacing it with expressions that talk more directly, and connect more emotionally, to the consumer.

We are also seeing a marked change in the look – and outlook – of the pharmacies themselves. One of the most notable is Sweden’s new Vårdapoteket chain. Located within hospitals and care centers rather than on high streets, the approach is fun, colorful and positive with a new identity inspired by the human body.

In the future, we see this human approach creating increasingly accessible connections and leading to ever more personalized medicines and environments that tailor medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient.

Holistic health institutions

Holistic Medicine Walk-in Center

As with the new pharmacies, probably one of the greatest advances we have seen is in the design of new holistic hospitals and health centers with the emphasis placed on the role of the physical environment improving physical care and recovery and aiding mental health. The award-winning New Køge University Hospital, Denmark, scheduled to be built mid-2015, boasts green surroundings, more daylight, courtyard gardens and green roofs which are all being promoted as key elements of the concept of health-promoting architecture. A similar initiative in the UK is Bath’s Circle Hospital, based on a ‘corridor-less’ environment to encourage a sense of community and wellbeing.

These new approaches pioneer the application of this new mindset, superseding the traditional clinical and the uniform, to design thoughtfully and with specificity, using a combination of architecture, interior design and infographics to streamline services and environments and provide a new vision of connected care systems.

Negating the need to always be ‘on’

Recognising the pressure that our lifestyles can create – lives in which we want to see, do and be more than ever before – has also created the need for us to seek new destinations for our downtime. Not just centred around the enviable need to relax but also to recharge and refocus to optimize performance on our return. For example, a stay at the Vana Malsi Estate Wellness Retreat, India, begins with a doctor’s assessment and combines the ancient traditions of Ayurveda and Tibetan healing, as well as promises some of the most purist yoga practiced anywhere around the globe.

These places, spaces and techniques to align mind and body have become increasingly important in helping us manage our daily life and we are welcoming the creation and diversity of these new destinations which answer our individual needs in their many forms.

Exploring unknown limits

Tough-Mudder-Maxwell-Health

We are also seeing the rise of new regimes that push us to explore unknown limits. Endurance events, such as Tough Mudder, test both mental and physical strength and play on common fears including fire, water and heights.

In London, The Library is a new and exclusive private members training club, offering a unique, intelligent approach to exercise with a space devoted as much to physical exercise as to relaxed intelligent thinking.

The brain needs time to think and relax, to be productive and creative. And the body needs to be increasingly connected to these cognitive capabilities, to enable performance and true progress. In the future, we need to open up more opportunities to amplify and bring these very different but connected health needs together.

Resetting our systems

Humans are incredible feats of natural engineering - unique, intricate and beautifully designed machines capable of brilliance – until modem life wears us down and we cease to function at our optimal best. The brain needs time to think and relax to be productive and creative. And the body needs to be increasingly connected to these cognitive capabilities to enable performance and true progress.

Maxwell-Health-Yoga

So whereas physical health is tangible mental health is intangible and this has previously made it harder to address and certainly more thought provoking and challenging to design for. But, in the future, we will expect brands and services to continue to address this deficit as we seek a more symbiotic relationship between mind and body in our quest to live wisely and well on every level.

With the help of our partner Boehringer IngelheimPSFK Labs has released the latest Future of Health Report, which highlights the four major themes and 13 emerging trends shaping the evolving global landscape of healthcare. To see more insights and thoughts on the Future of Health visit the PSFK page.

Images: Moyan Brenn, Harvey Barrison The 621st Contingency Response Wing, Eli Christman

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