After studying five languages and political science, with ambitions to be an interpreter for the UN, Portuguese-born Aldina Duarte Ramos’ career took a sharp turn. For more than 15 years, Aldina has inhabited the wellness industry.

First working for Le Bristol Paris, then Anne Semonin, and then Sofitel Luxury Hotels – creating and implementing spa concepts worldwide en route. Now director of Global WellBeing Product Luxury & Upscale Brands at AccorHotels and president of the French federation of wellness professionals SPA-A, Aldina has become a respected thought leader on wellness.

She feels the industry has reached a critical time as new wellness trends emerge to counteract the stress of digital life. And she’s on a mission: the democratisation of wellness. She believes, everyone – no matter how rich or poor – has a right to a healthy life. I meet this inspiring change maker at the Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg, in the heart of the city, to learn about her mission. And find out more about her adrenaline-fuelled personal motto: doing and sharing.

‘In an increasingly stressful society, wellness is the way forward’ – Aldina Duarte Ramos

Why does wellness go beyond spa?

The world is moving so fast these days what with computers, tablets, smartphones. People are always ’connected’ and unable to switch off. Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the next illness of the century would be burnout.

Governments really need to take responsibility and ‘protect’ their citizens from this. That’s why I believe that wellness will become the new standard: back to basics. In fact, there’s already a Global Wellness Day, a beautiful initiative created by Belgin Aksoy.

What’s your personal vision on wellness?

I think wellness will be seen more as a culture. The industry will become more authentic and more democratic – not just for the wealthy few. Wellness is more than just being pampered at a spa: it’s a lifestyle.

That’s why I developed a vision for wellness that distinguishes 4 pillars that are essential for creating and maintaining balance:

Sleep – A good night’s sleep is vital for the body in order to recover from the day’s stresses and strains.
Food – Healthy food is great for the body and makes you feel good. Avoid sugar and dairy products.
Sport – Move. Even if it’s just walking. It’s good for both body and mind.
Spa – Take care of yourself. Make time to indulge yourself and rejuvenate.

Each pillar is basic and within everyone’s reach. And they’re especially vital for people living in developed countries, where we’re all part of the rat race. We can’t keep up with this in the long term. It will soon backfire on us: both physically and mentally.

What is the low-down on the current wellness market?

The wellness market is growing big-time. The reasons are numerous: the cult of appearance, longer life-expectancy, the growing concern for health, and the quest for wellbeing in a society which is becoming increasingly stressed. Wellbeing is part of an increasingly integrated holistic approach to health where prevention is taking centre stage. That’s why the new trend is wellness tourism. Travelers are now looking for healthier stays.

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