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Growing Demand for Mindfulness Services Inspires New Offerings

by Anne Dimon
Mindfulness Retreats

In 2019, the Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) polled members on emerging trends, and saw “Mental Health Matters” rank in the top five. 

Those traveling for wellness are also telling us they want more mindfulness/mental health options in their wellness vacations and wellness travels. Unquestionably, guided wellness retreats and self-guided wellness vacations intentionally oriented around meditation and mindfulness are poised for strong growth, and the WTA is seeing its members work to meet demand with innovative new offerings.  One such member is WTA co-founder, Canyon Ranch.  

Mindfulness at the Heart

The highly acclaimed wellness resort brand has a long-held mission “to inspire people to make a commitment to healthy living, turning their hopes and intentions into the highest enjoyment of life,” says Stephanie Ludwig, a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology and the Director of Spiritual Wellness at Canyon Ranch. She says Canyon Ranch was encouraging its guests to slow down and pay closer attention to the here and now, decades before mindfulness started trending in the tourism industry.

Over the past year, the staff at Canyon Ranch in Tucson has noticed increased guest satisfaction scores among those who met with a spiritual wellness provider to chart a customized stay that includes mindfulness and/or spirituality. Among the mindfulness practices guests may choose to experience are morning and evening seated meditation sessions in the garden Sanctuary, a guided floating meditation in the Watsu dome, and a labyrinth walking meditation steeped in desert silence along the seasonal Sabino Creek. Familiar forms of creative expression such as drawing, painting, sculpting, or writing are also used as a means for cultivating inner stillness while playing with color, form or words.

At another WTA member property, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Director of Wellness Davina Bernard says her wellness guests “might have been searching for ‘yoga retreats’ online, but it is the content around ‘mindfulness’ and how to live your best life that they tell us is the best part of our retreats.”  

In response to demand from guests for more mindfulness education, Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Miami has added a licensed psychologist to its roster of medical experts, a move designed to increase the availability of one-on-one mental health consultations, plus add new and relevant lectures. 

Ludwig tells us that while some Canyon Ranch guests may prefer a brief stay of three to four days to recharge or reboot (another growing trend according to our most recent WTA consumer survey) others seeking significant life-change often settle in for a full week or longer. She says to better serve the latter, the Canyon Ranch Life Enhancement Center now offers​ Presence: Mindfulness in the Modern World, a weeklong, expert-led immersion into practicing meditation and mindfulness within ordinary daily life. The week includes mindful eating, exercise, authentic relating, work balance, observation of nature, reflection on life’s impermanence, releasing control, and preparing to integrate upon returning home. 

Mindfulness Retreats

  A High-Tech Meditation Partnership

In addition to its standard meditation and spiritual wellbeing offerings, Canyon Ranch has recently partnered with Lumena, a wellness-tech company based in Denver, to bring its guests a wholly-unique and immersive experience. Think of it as a zero-gravity, floatation tank, minus the water. 

Lumena founder, Kaleb Matson tells us he experienced a wrenching personal faith crisis that catapulted him onto a spiritual journey into the unknown. That journey inspired his desire to explore the intersection of ancient wisdom and modern technology. The creative outcome of that exploration is a walk-in meditation cube that provides a 360-degree immersion in light, sound, and infinite space.

In discussing the purpose of his creation, Matson shares, “I believe our attention is the most valuable currency we possess. In an age where companies, products, and brands are all competing for focused human attention, my hope is that Lumena helps people turn their attention inward, re-investing their most valuable resource back into themselves.”

After three years in development, guests can now experience Lumena with the high-touch support and guidance of a spiritual wellness provider during a stay at Canyon Ranch Tucson. The 50-minute Lumena service includes intention-setting, a 20-minute session in the meditation cube, and time to reflect, integrate, and identify practical applications of the experience for daily life.

Ludwig says that “since it was introduced at Canyon Ranch, guest encounters with Lumena have confirmed that technology can play a powerful role in expanding self-awareness through the meditative exploration of one’s ‘inner space.’ “  

"The transformative power of meditation is no longer just a secret of spiritual mystics."

One person described her time inside the meditation cube as “awe-inspiring - like being enveloped by the beauty of the night sky.” Another person spoke of Lumena evoking a surprisingly deep relaxation that he didn’t want to end. He revealed that the lingering effects in the next 24-hours were even more surprising. His transition home at the end of a busy day was, he admitted, much easier than normal, and his ability to be present, focused, and patient with his children that evening felt unprecedented. 

A third person entered Lumena with the intention of bringing the emotional burden he had been carrying into the cubeLudwig says,“He later told us he experienced a profound  feeling of letting go of worry.” 

Ludwig herself says, her first Lumena experience “was dream-like and offered deep insight into, along with healing of, a tender place in my life. After my personal experience, I feel confident this service can act as a similar catalyst for others seeking introspection and spiritual work during their stay with us.”

She says, “the transformative power of meditation is no longer just a secret of spiritual mystics and modern science continues to validating a wide range of benefits, ancient mindfulness techniques are being sought and taught in corporations, schools, libraries, resorts, and elsewhere.“  The WTA anticipates that new mindfulness and meditation options will only to continue to expand as more of us look to escape the constant “busyness” of our everyday lives. 

Anne Dimon is the president of the Wellness Tourism Association and founder/editor of TravelToWellness.

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