The global pandemic may have put the wellness industry at a standstill last year, but thankfully it’s looking to make a comeback. Entrepreneur and lifestyle maven Vivienne Tang, founder of wellness and travel publication Destination Deluxe, walks us through emerging wellness trends this year, as well as the holistic treatments and programs that top her list.  

Our KNESKO Visionary series shines the spotlight on women who are leading the way in the fields of wellness and skincare. This week, we are proud to feature a global nomad who has more than 20 years’ experience in lifestyle publishing, particularly in wellness travel. 

Vivienne Tang (@viviennetang) is the founder of Destination Deluxe (https://destinationdeluxe.com)—a travel & wellness publication that handpicks the best resorts, hotels, retreats, and spas from around the world. (Fun fact: KNESKO Skin made it to their shortlist of “Anti-Aging Skincare Brand of the Year” in 2020.)

With her experience and knowledge of wellness trends, she is a much sought-after consultant for global brands as well as an in-demand resource speaker for wellness and travel events and conventions. 

Let’s hear Vivienne’s thoughts on where the wellness industry is headed this year as well as what trends are hitting it big in 2021. Check out the highlights below:

Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself and Destination Deluxe?

I founded Destination Deluxe about four and a half years ago. We cover wellness and luxury travel. We pick the best resorts, the best retreats, spas, we talk about skincare, we also feature a lot of wellness practices, specifically holistic wellness practices, and we give fitness tips and so on. So the idea behind Destination Deluxe is really for people to become their optimal, best self. We encourage them, we help them to do that. 

What does your wellness routine like on a daily basis?

I started a meditation practice many years ago. I try to have a daily practice, although that’s not always possible all the time, right? You know, we all live in very busy cities. If I have the time—set aside an hour. I’ll do a meditation practice, and my type of meditation is not just emptying the mind, but it’s also kind of like a clearing, a cleansing. I scan my body and find the different blocks, and then I try to clear that energy. 

Do you have a particular way that you do it, or do you just intuitively do it? For those that have never done that, is there a way you can explain that? 

Yeah. You kind of just start at the top of your head, and then just go through your body. You intuitively feel into your body where the blocks are, and then you send energy to it—you send light to it—and then try to diffuse those blocks. 

I also do other practices like breathwork. I started doing Wim Hof–style breathwork breathing. And so I do a lot of different techniques. I do the cold showers that he recommends. I’ve been doing that for about a year or so. And I really think it’s improved my immunity a lot. 

COVID has changed a lot of things. How do you see wellness and self-care shifting in this COVID world that we live in? What are some takeaways from what we’ve learned over the past year? 

Wellness has gone mainstream completely—Hollywood’s doing wellness, every celebrity’s doing wellness now. I think that’s a big part of what we’ll be seeing more. Especially because of mental wellness—a lot of people have gone through depression, anxiety—a lot of people have gone into meditation. That’s definitely one thing. Breathwork again is huge, a lot of the non-touch wellness practices—like sound healing, for example, that’s another big one that we’re seeing coming up, especially in the spa setting. You know, a lot of the spas have kind of shifted to more holistic wellness–type practices as opposed to all touch. 

But with wellness kind of going mainstream, obviously, there’s a danger. Like greenwashing, there’s also wellness-washing. And so we often see this kind of watered-down version of wellness—like every hotel is trying to do wellness, but are they doing wellness properly? Is it going deeper than just scratching the surface? 

But I do think that people need an entry point. And even if that means listening to a Diplo soundtrack on the Calm app, if that’s helping you to start a meditation practice, then I think that’s a good entry point for people. So even though it’s going mainstream, it’s actually helping people to connect with wellness. 

Another trend that we’re seeing is instead of sort of immunity-boosting—which we’ve been doing a lot, like taking all these supplements—we’re now trying to balance immunity by doing intermittent fasting, by regulating your gut microbiome, by eating the right foods—fermented foods maybe. We’re seeing that change where we’re not just taking all these vitamin supplements, but we’re actually trying to balance it from the inside. 

Once we will be able to travel, obviously wellness travel will be huge. Everybody realizes that there will be a wellness aspect to travel. I think that kind of goes hand-in-hand with regenerative travel and sustainability. Being more in tune with nature and having a sustainable way of travel, I think that will be a huge part of wellness, travel, and wellness retreats. 

Do you have a favorite place to travel? 

I like Indonesia a lot. Everybody who follows me knows me that I’ve been to Raja Ampat a few times. It’s a place mainly for diving and snorkeling, and it’s one of those last protected places on this planet. You’re not allowed to fish there; it’s basically a huge reserve. It’s on the radar of a lot of people now. So I think now, before it opens up, it will be time for people to experience that place before, you know, tourism kind of gets in there as well. 

Going back to wellness, there are so many different alternative therapies, like Reiki, meditation, breathwork, sound therapy. Do you have a favorite that you feel like you always go back to? And for those that are just trying to learn where to start or for those that are looking for a bit of wellness to bring into their homes, do you have some tips on where to begin?

I think one of the easiest is sound therapy or sound healing—attending a gong bath or a crystal singing bowl bath—where you’re just there, just experiencing it. You don’t have to do anything. Meditation does require you to sit still and focus, whereas a sound bath or sound healing therapy is just you receiving. It’s a very good entry point for a lot of people. There are a lot of apps, or even on YouTube, if you do a search on it, people can easily do that. You can even play music while you’re sleeping. There are a lot of good apps that offer sound healing while you’re sleeping. There’s a lot out there, and it’s really easy for someone to start with that. And if you’re sensitive, you’ll feel something, you will feel sort of energy moving and energy shifting. So that’s a very good one. 

What do you do when you’re feeling out of sync? What are the simplest things that you have found that help you achieve that balance and feel happy? 

I go back to the meditation that we talked about and body scanning and just trying to shift through it. You just sit with that emotion. Let’s say you’re feeling anxiety, you just have to sit with it and breathe into it. The more you feel it, the more it will start to shift. What a lot of people do is we try to push it away. We’re trying not to think about it. 

If I can, I’ll use breathwork as well. I’m a big fan of holotropic breathing, rebirthing, all that kind of stuff. Holotropic breathing is a little bit like hyperventilating, but obviously, you’re not going to hyperventilate. You’re breathing fast for a longer period of time, and it will get you to an altered state of consciousness. And so you’re able to kind of shift through some of that stuff. It’s a bit powerful, so I advise you do it with someone who’s experienced in this. Cause sometimes what can happen is that you cramp up—like your fingers and your hands can cramp up. And so it’s good to do it with someone who knows what they’re doing. I would not recommend doing it on your own if you’re doing it for the first time.