2020 Hydrothermal Trends to Watch

DFL’s CEO, Don Genders, is Chair of the GWI’s Hydrothermal Initiative. If you’re looking for the latest happenings in hydrothermal experiences, this is the place!




Respiratory Health in the Spotlight – The need for a strong immune system and respiratory health has never been more urgent. Hydrothermal bathing's numerous healing properties have been part of human health for thousands of years. Look to see more focus on how regular sauna use stimulates the immune system, while inhalation therapies, including halotherapy (salt therapy), essential oils (like eucalyptus and rose) and certain mineral springs can impact respiratory health. It goes without saying that sterilization and disinfection of every aspect of the any thermal cabin or inhalation apparatus is imperative in keeping private and public hydrothermal areas bacteria free.


Sweating Gets Hotter and Healthier – Expect to see deepening cultural interest in sweat bathing in 2020. Whether it’s a Finnish sauna, Russian banya, Mayan temazcal, Native American sweat lodge or a Turkish hammam, more and more countries are embracing their sweat-bathing heritage and introducing more people to it. In addition, the rise of social sauna events (sauna aufguss) are introducing a young crowd to a whole new way to experience sauna bathing.



Healthy Cold Contrast Therapy – In Scandinavia, there has always been a tradition of ice-bathing and cold contrast therapy. With the rise of sweat bathing culture, and new research around the effects of contrast bathing, we’re going to see a much bigger focus on cold plunges, cold showers, ice lounges, as well as the slightly more gentle practices of Kneipp bathing and new Snowrooms.



Scent Gets Seriously Natural!!! - Our sense of smell has a powerful impact on our wellbeing and there will be new opportunities for operators to use scent to make a positive impact on a guest’s wellbeing. The most crucial trend in 2020 is consumers seeking natural, essential oils versus chemically-created scents, which are often considered carcinogenic. Operators will be called upon to educate themselves on proper ingredient profiles and dosing for scents.


Infrared Treatments Better Defined – “Infrared” has become an overused and often misunderstood term in wellness – and, when the infrared heat is in a small cabin, consumers are often conflating them with a traditional (much hotter) Finnish sauna. Addressing this confusion is important as is defining the true benefits of infrared therapy. Though large-scale medical studies on infrared isn’t expected for some time, consumers are likely to begin demanding evidence-based back up for these therapies.


Fitness Meets Wellness – As fitness and wellness collide, more hydrothermal therapies will be hitting the gym.





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