An increasingly stressful world, filled with people doing stressful work, has created a marketplace for people to take things down a notch or two. After the hectic pace of the 20th Century, a new lifestyle trend has emerged, where the all work no play way of life has been rejected for a new way of life - a balanced life. Some say the yoga and Kabbalah craze that recently spread through Hollywood in the last decade may have even helped make the concept of 'holistic' hip. But, let's face it businesses that nurture your spirit is where it is at these days and a budding entrepreneur doesn't need a psychic to tell you that.
New age businesses that offer yoga, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and all things organic whether its food, clothing, or furniture are coming into their own. Health and wellness are not buzzwords for hippies living in the Haight anymore. News channels across America and entire cable networks are now dedicated to living consciously.
In fact, for the right entrepreneur, a new age business could be the path not just to material wealth but also to major spiritual wealth as well.
Yoga, yoga, & more yoga
Yoga is becoming one of the fastest growing segments of the health and wellness industry. Although it has existed for centuries in Eastern culture and is certainly not new to the United States, what is new about yoga is that it is gaining mainstream appeal. Some estimates have indicated that Americans spend over $2 billion on yoga classes, DVDs, yoga retreats and vacations, yoga clothing and other accessories.
With devotees seeking out classes on the two coasts and everywhere in between, it is easy to see why yoga studios and in particular full service Yoga studios are gaining so much momentum. Though there are plenty of studios that offer the practitioner a traditional setting, more and more studios are now offering not merely a variety of yoga styles (Hatha, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga) but also yoga accessories such as mats, towels, holistic books and other wellness treats. Big named teachers are also turning a major profit by offering yoga DVDs and CDs so that any enthusiast can practice from the comfort of their own home without the price tag of the yoga classes. In fact, Yoga is becoming a vast marketplace for any entrepreneur who is ready to nurture the multitude of stressed out souls.
But, if you aren't ready to take on the responsibility of an entire studio, there are plenty of entrepreneurs that start small by offering private yoga instruction. Yes, yoga instruction is no longer limited to a studio. And if dropping out of the rat race entirely is more your speed, private yoga instruction is another great business that is as popular as private weight training.
Plenty of small business owners with yoga on the mind begin teaching at a studio to get a following going and then go out on their own. In fact, private yoga instructors can offer everything from small classes to one on one instruction from the privacy of the client's own home. The best part is that private instruction offers flexibility physically and financially in a way that a studio may not provide.
Yoga isn't the only emerging trend coming out of the health and wellness industry - massage therapy is also a fast growing wellness business. According to the American Massage Therapy Association™, one of out of 6 persons gets a massage annually whether it is for injuries, chronic pain, headaches or just a little bit of indulgence. That means Americans are treating themselves to this therapy more often and getting massages whether it is at the gym, the chiropractor or yes, even at work.
The best part of this business is that if you are looking to get into message therapy you can definitely freelance. Hotels and spas are just some of the places you can find work. In fact, many therapists travel to their clients' homes and businesses. Training takes roughly 12 - 18 months at a licensed school. But, overhead for a massage therapy business is relatively low, the costs of equipment and travel. A good reliable worker with a knack for finding new clientele could soon find success in the palms of their hands.
If you are looking to specialize even further into the field of massage, reflexology may be for you. Reflexologists massage pressure points in the hands and feet to help health problems, relieve stress & improve circulation. Reflexology is based on the theory that every organ, structure and part of the body is mirrored in the feet and that any problem or tension in the body is reflected in the related part of the foot.
Devotees sing the praises of reflexology aiding in relieving stress and they are willing to pay for it. The Association of Reflexology keeps a list of schools and colleges that offer accredited courses. Like other forms of massage, most states require a certain amount of training and certification before allowing anyone to practice.
But, if you have big business on your mind, you may want to look into health and wellness centers that combine various forms of detoxification, reflexology and massage therapy for the New Age devotee.
Something for the Senses
A sweet smell is not just a treat for your nose; it could help your entire body. Aromatherapy, the practice of using aromatic oils extracted from plants, herbs and flowers in treatments, is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. According to the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, this is a $300 million a year business. It is expected to grow even more in the coming years.
This concept is helped by research showing that fragrances and oils can be effective in relieving stress, calming nerves, energizing the body, improving the mood, and even work efficiency.
This type of business is aimed at developing and manufacturing lines of aromatherapy products to sell retail or wholesale. Of course unlike massage therapy or yoga, a line of essential oils or products containing such essential oils does take quite a bit more capital. For this reason, many aromatherapists initially partner with other professionals like estheticians and massage therapists to experiment with new ideas.
An extension of this concept is something called metaphysical tourism. The idea is to help those looking to experience something deeper find a connection on their vacation. A New York Times article discusses the boom in spiritual and new age tours. Some companies carry travelers to ancient religious sites in Egypt, Israel and Asia. Some examples are the Coptic neighborhood in Cairo and Macchu Picchu in Peru.
Hotels with a New Age Twist
Individuals are not the only ones hopping onto the new age craze. Mediation and yoga based hotels are springing up all over the world. And, new age offerings are not just limited to spa services and aromatherapy candles in the room. Whether opening their doors to retreats set up by yoga studios or entirely dedicating themselves to wellness and health, more and more hotels are now dedicated to offering programs in revitalizing the spirit and senses.
Do you think you might be a Health and Wellness Entrepeneur?
Though this list may cover a broad base of wellness roads to travel, the list is by no means exhaustive. There are so many facets of health and wellness including organic clothing and foods markets along with different professions like acupuncture and feng shui. And, you don't have to be a hippie to appreciate that alternative living is here to stay.
Do you think a health and wellness business might be just your cup of green tea? Click here for more information on starting a business today.