Stress is undeniably a relevant issue to people living in the 21st century. With the constant presence of stressors in daily life, people are getting more stressed out year by year. Statistics show that more than 260 million people suffer from anxiety disorders and approximately 300 million people suffer from depression. Furthermore, out of all the individuals who actually get diagnosed with a mental disorder, only 41% receive any help. This is often due to a stigma attached to mental health issues, which sometimes categorizes those who seek help as being incapable.

To date, the traditional method of healing depression has been through synthetic medication, also known as antidepressants. These drugs target the neurotransmitters in the brain which are responsible for an individual’s mood and emotions. They will activate the neurotransmitters, thereby overcoming the symptoms of depression. Despite the benefits, however, there are a number of concerning side effects which underline the importance of finding alternatives.

Overall, it is estimated that mental health issues could have an annual global cost of approximately USD 16 trillion dollars by 2030. On the bright side, there are measures that can be taken to aid those affected and reduce this cost. May 15th is World Meditation Day – and to mark the occasion, Horwath HTL Health and Wellness have released a report looking at the increasingly important issue of mental wellness, and how wellness resorts can play a role in supporting those battling mental illnesses and stress.

Based on their findings, Horwath HTL Health and Wellness explored a number of alternative healing methods:

Hypnosis:

  • Can alter a person’s immune function in order to offset stress
  • Approximately 80% of those who have undergone hypnotherapy reacted positively to it

Six Senses in Koh Samui recently invited a visiting practitioner who holds a clinical degree in hypnotherapy.

Ayahuasca:

  • A brew from South America known for its hallucinogenic properties
  • Creates positive shifts and emotional clearance

It is crucial that it is administered in a controlled environment with the assistance of medical professionals as there can be some unpleasant side effects.

Medical Marijuana:

  • Contains more Cannabidiol (CBD) and less Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than recreational marijuana
  • Does not produce the “high” effect
  • Commercial outlets have started incorporating CBD into water, food, and massage oils

Psilocybin Mushrooms:

  • Fungus that contains a naturally occurring psychedelic compound
  • Helps rewire key brain circuits responsible for depression
  • Effects can last up to six months after a single dose

There is a municipality in the Netherlands called Apeldoorn that host retreats at which it is possible to experiment with psilocybin mushrooms in a controlled, facilitated and safe setting.

Nutrition:

  • Foods containing minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants will enable the body to fight off oxidative stress
  • On the other hand, processed foods and refined sugar will promote inflammation, promote oxidative stress, and decrease the body’s regulation of insulin

Exercise:

  • Helps lose weight and gain muscle
  • Improves mood, boosts energy, combats health conditions and diseases
  • Releases endorphins, which increase happiness and alleviate pain and stress

Given the emergence of alternative healing methods, there lies an opportunity for the hospitality industry to tap into the increasing demand for mental health therapies. While some wellness retreats have started implementing mental wellness programs, the opportunity goes way beyond what is presently available. Strongly resembling the already existing de-stress programs, the mental wellness programs of the future would go one step further by delving deeper into specific mental health issues, such as depression, thus making the treatment more personalized and result-driven.

So, who wants to be the next to revolutionize the hospitality industry?