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The Ammonista Report - Spring 2014

The Wellthy Movement

The American Search for Holistic Health and Wellness has hit the Mainstream

Americans spent over $34 billion out-of-pocket for complementary and alternative medicine and this number is expected to more than double by 2020.  All other wellness indicators are on the rise: yoga has consistently grown, massage has doubled in the last decade, stress management wasn’t even recorded a decade ago, and now it represents a $10 billion industry. What used to be an aisle in the grocery store is now a burgeoning industry with organic food sales increasing double-digits year after year, due to retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Hospitals and insurers are incorporating meditation, massage and alternative medicine due to patient demand. There are over 38,000 books on alternative health and organic lifestyles listed for sale at Amazon.com. Search Google for alternative health and see 423 million listings, tripled from 5 years ago. 70% of Americans actively search online for health and wellness information and, probably more relevant, are exponentially purchasing products and services that support their desired lifestyle.  

Consumers who take their health into their own hands receive the physical and mental benefits of good health, but also the social benefits as well – healthy consumers accrue status in the eyes of their peers.  Products, services, and experiences that promise vitality, quality of life and wellbeing will only grow in value and relevance as people naturally age.


Other than games and entertainment, there’s probably not another category that claims more apps and ‘wearables’ than health and wellness.  Our insatiable appetite for personalized information, coupled with an ever-changing and dynamic landscape such as one’s health, provides limitless opportunities for diagnostics, trending, social comparison and rewards.  Sleep patterns? Cardiovascular health? Hydration percentages? Stress levels?  If you can measure it, chances are there’s a product out there to capture it in your endless surveying of one.

Nike Fuel has proven to be more than just another diagnostic ‘wearable’ for the fitness conscious, but an engaging and motivating online community.  This past year, the website launched new functionality that creates personalized infographics for FuelBand wearers.  Upon login, the site creates colorful posters displaying exercise patterns, sleeping habits and work routines.  The free posters can be downloaded or share with the Nike+ community.  Nike's recent decision to evolve its FuelBand division from hardware to software, and potentially partner with Apple, gives us a cue to where the shoe giant may be headed with more community engagement and diagnostic software.

Nutrino fuctions as a ‘virtual nutritionist’ that helps users manage weight and nutrition based on personal food preferences and dietary goals –suggesting meals, recipes and shopping lists based on real-time activity updates.

Designed in China, Cuptime is a plastic cup that connects wirelessly to a cellphone and monitors one’s water intake.  Users input their height and weight and Cuptime helps them track whether they are drinking enough, assigning a ‘hydration performance’ score.

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Inner Balance sensors connect to the earlobe and an iOS device runs the app to measure the wearer’s heart-rhythm pattern (HRP). Onscreen instructions can help calm fluctuating heart rates and control breathing whttp://www.demohour.com/projects/336784ith an animated pacer.  Users also track their daily mood in a journal, along with their HRP.


Opened in Chicago late last year, the Farmer’s Fridge is a vending machine stocked with a range of fresh salads and snacks. The refrigerated kiosk is surrounded by plants and made from reclaimed wood, and products on sale are made with organic produce sourced locally. The Farmer’s Fridge is restocked daily, and any food unsold at the end of the day is donated to a nearby food pantry. Snacks are sold in recyclable glass jars, and include items such as Greek yoghurt with berries and sliced vegetables served with hummus.


How does a major independent boutique hotel brand differentiate itself with its customers?  When staying in a Kimpton Hotel in NYC recently, I was uber-impressed by the Roll-Out Service where, upon request, the hotel will roll out the mat, provide extra towels, set the TV to the Kimpton’s on-demand yoga channel and leave a mixture of fruit and nuts post-workout.


Blending mobile technology with self-help advice, Digipill is a mood-altering app that allows users to download various ‘drugs’, which consist of 15-30 minute audio clips.  Each segment of therapeutic audio is designed to have a specific effect on the listener, via a form of hypnosis, such as relaxation, increased confidence or motivation.


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The Ammonista Report is published quarterly by Pat Johnson, principal of Ammonista – a unique consultancy that merges brand strategy with entrepreneurialism.  Transforming future trends and cultural insights into authentic business strategies, Pat helps people and companies create brands of significance.   An entrepreneur herself, she brings thought leadership to global health, energy and technology companies – and advises many start-ups.  Prior to Ammonista, she directed some of the best brands in the business, as founder of nationally-acclaimed creative ad agency NORTH. Subscribe here.