The Holistic world

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Italy’s wellness industry

The ancient Hindu tradition of yoga is booming around the world. This year, 80 million people are expected to try it for the first time in the USA alone. A study by the Yoga Alliance has shown that 36.7 million Americans pull out the yoga mats on a regular basis, compared to just 20.4 million in 2012. We don't have recent official numbers for Italy, but they are estimated to be nearly two million practitioners here, either in yoga schools or at home (up from 1.1 million in 2011).

In addition to strengthening the spirit, yoga increasingly seems to be a profitable business. According to the Financial Times, since the Great Recession of 2008, yoga has become the most popular discipline in cities around the world, as it is being practiced by stressed out managers and businesspeople in search of inner peace. The most recent estimates from four years ago have the global yoga industry at a value of ten billion dollars. Not wanting to be left behind, business volumes in Italy have surpassed 200 million euros. More recently, sales on eBay are also confirming this trend, with over 530,000 yoga sweat suits and 430,000 pairs of yoga pants sold worldwide. On eBay Italy (, the entire category logged one order every 83 seconds and growth of 115% compared to 2013. And men are getting into it more, too, and now account for well over 30% of all yoga practitioners.

And when can you find the time for yoga? According to Edenred LAB, a laboratory of cuisine, wellness and innovation, the latest trend is to do yoga on the lunch break, even if it’s just for 45 minutes, so you come back to work feeling lighter and more energized. And it’s a great time for yoga schools. As Giulia Borioli, creator of Italy's Yoga Festival, 23 editions of which have been held in cities throughout the country, explains, “There are now roughly 2,000 yoga schools in Italy, doubling in number in the last ten years.” Speaking about Milan’s BaliYoga, which organizes Italy’s Yoga Day at the Triennale on June 21st, an event that has 2,000 participants in just its first two years, Borioli says, "We have over 100 people a month who sign up on our website to do their first trial lesson." Called for by India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and established by the UN General Assembly, June 21st is now International Yoga Day.

The Holistic Industry: In addition to yoga, there are a great many promotional organizations engaged in the holistic industry

  • western and eastern massage techniques
  • mediation
  • Ayurveda
  • wellness treatments
  • tai chi
  • “bio-natural” disciplines
  • shiatsu
  • reiki
  • breathing and natural approaches to diet

It is estimated that there are over 20,000 centers dealing with these disciplines in Italy alone.

Wellness Vacations: Vacations are becoming an important opportunity to take time for ourselves and for our wellbeing, carving out time for wellness treatments and to focus on eating right. Until recently, this has meant spending a few days in a spa or other wellness center, but the Dolomiti Natural Wellness project is going beyond that to promote a new concept: the Natural Spa, nature as a source of wellness!

Another important segment that this project will be able to attract is that of people who are sedentary and overweight and others affected by metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a medical disorder characterized by high cardiovascular risk, including a series of symptoms and risk factors that can manifest themselves in an individual at the same time.

Today, it is believed that development of metabolic syndrome is determined by the interaction of genetic factors - and so unalterable, constitutional characteristics of the individual - and environmental factors- which can be changed - such as inactivity, excessive eating or poor diet, which promote, maintain and/or worsen the condition. The probability of developing metabolic syndrome is closely tied to being overweight or obese and to a lack of physical activity.

Metabolic syndrome is widespread in the western world due, almost certainly, to a sedentary lifestyle, overeating, and environmental and internal stress factors. It is estimated that it affects 25% of the adult population in industrialized countries. For such individuals, there is a significant increase in risk for cardiovascular complications, so much so that the American Heart Association has recommended a strategy to combat it based on proper diet and physical activity.

It has now been amply demonstrated that physical exercise with specific, monitored and personalized characteristics (“prescribed” at given doses and durations) is particularly effective at combatting metabolic syndrome. A project like Dolomiti Natural Wellness is ideally suited to this segment of the population as it provides a non-competitive itinerary to meet all needs and all levels of physical fitness in a unique setting in which people can gradually increase their physical activity and improve their physical fitness and metabolism.


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