The largest Spa in Denmark to open

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We’re pleased to announce that Raison d’Etre has been commissioned by the Bitten & Mads Clausen’s Foundation, the majority shareholder of the Danfoss Group, and the German based hotel operator, RIMC Hotels & Resorts Group, to design and implement the largest spa and wellness area in Denmark at the new superior hotel, Alsik in Sønderborg, opening in spring 2019. The arrival of the new hotel is part of a large development-masterplan of the industrial harbour of Sønderborg. The development has been created by the world famous architect Frank Gehry and its evolution carries the signature of Henning Larsen architects™.

Heavily influenced by Nordic design and wellness, the new spa will be located over four floors, covering a total of 4,500 sq metres, making it the largest in Denmark. The spa will boast a variety of recreational, fitness and relaxation opportunities for guests to enjoy, including a complete wellness floor offering a range of cutting edge thermal experiences along with personalised wellness screening. Other facilities include a spectacular 160 sqm indoor pool, an outdoor infinity pool, an expansive Ice and Fire World, a Watsu pool, Aurora Borealis Cave and Hammam. Raison d’Etre has also created a unique, world’s first signature treatment that takes wellness to a whole new level which will be revealed closer to the opening date. There will be over 60 wellness experiences available including a wide selection of treatments performed by the spa’s expert therapists with product houses to be confirmed later this year.

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The spa and wellness area will also be equipped with a large first class 24-hour gym with two virtual fitness studios and a strong focus on functional training, a Café, a Teen Club, Kids pool and play areas, uniquely designed to help children relax and unwind, fully embracing Nordic wellbeing.

Announcing the new spa development, Raison d’Etre’s Senior Project Manager, Ian Bell says “It is a privilege to be involved in this exciting spa development which will establish a number of ‘firsts’ in the market. Scandinavian design and wellness go hand in hand and the Alsik Spa will offer guests a relaxing experience whether they are on business or visiting for leisure purposes with their friends and families.”

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Alsik will feature 190 luxury bedrooms and a number of other premium amenities, including 11 conference rooms and three restaurants which will overlook the picturesque waterfront of Sønderborg. The food & beverage concept of all restaurants at the Alsik carry the signature style of the renowned Danish star chef Jesper Koch. There will also be a breath-taking viewpoint located on the 16th floor of the hotel, offering guests a chance to take in the scenic views of the city.

The arrival of the new upscale hotel will attract an array of new business and leisure visitors and is set to double the hotel capacity in Sønderborg. Upon completion the design forward hotel, which is tipped to become a new focal point for the growing city is expected to have 65,000 overnight guests in the first year of opening. Fresh and contemporary, over 90% of the modern bedrooms will have a stunning sea view and scenic southerly outlook over the Flensburg Förde.

With over thirty years’ experience in the industry, the talented Irmela Heinsius is the pre-opening and General Manager of Alsik. One of the first important tasks of Ms Heinsius will be to set the management team around Alsik to start organising all the 130 people who will eventually work in the hotel, restaurants, conference and spa.

The investors of this ambitious hotel project are Bitten & Mads Clausen’s Foundation (BMC Foundation) and the Danish Pension fund PFA. The BMC Foundation’s vision for Alsik is to set up a combined new ‘go to’ destination and landmark for Sønderborg.



The World’s Longest Spa Break

Can you imagine travelling the world and enjoying a spa experience in and between every port?  Now it’s possible when your book onto Viking Cruises’ first around-the-world luxury cruise, complete with our own state-of-the-art LivNordic spa; making it what has to be – the longest spa break in the world.

The Viking Sun cruise ship will span 59 countries during a 245 day journey that will reach every continent excluding Antarctica. On a holiday like no other, lucky travellers who book a spot aboard will depart from London on the 31st August 2019 and return to the British capital on 2nd May 2020.


A well-being experience of a lifetime, travellers will be able to experience the ultimate in well-being by booking into the LivNordic spa which has been designed and created by our own expert team of consultants. The spacious Nordic spa features our signature saunas and Snow Grotto; offering guests the chance to enjoy a traditional Nordic bathing experience which exposes the body to hot and cold temperatures. The sharp contrast between the hot and cold has many health benefits: it detoxes the body, improves the skin’s elasticity, provides relief from aches and pains, relaxes tired muscles, boosts circulation and enhances happiness and improved well-being.

Those who would rather enjoy a dip at a less extreme temperature can enjoy a relax in the pool or hot tub letting the warm water relax and revive their muscles. Our LivNordic spa also has an array of expert therapists on board offering a wide choice of rejuvenating spa treatments including facials, massages, body wraps and scrubs.


The cruise ship will set sail from London before heading to dozens of countries, with highlights including: Dublin, Iceland, Norway, Canada, New York, various islands across the Caribbean, Brazil, Chile, San Diego, Figi, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Oman, Egypt, Italy, Spain and Portugal before returning back to London. Click here to see the full list of destinations.

The Viking Sun cruise ship is one of the newest ships and possesses a contemporary Scandinavian design, featuring private balconies in every room and a mesmerising infinity pool.

We are very proud to have worked with Viking Cruises since 2014 and look forward to guests enjoying our LivNordic spa on this incredible journey around the World.

The Viking Sun around the world trip costs £67,690 per person.

Wellness Travel IS Booming

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More and more people are investing in wellness escapes and travelling to destinations around the world in a bid to relax and rejuvenate. Whether you need some time away from the rat race, life stress, a relationship breakdown or an illness, wellness travel is one of the best investments you’ll make in 2018.

In addition to indulging in some time-out during a time of need or distress in your life; Skip Gen holidays, where grandchildren go on an adventure with their grandparents and Be Happy Holidays are on the rise this year.

As leading Spa consultants, we’ve outlined our favourite wellness trends and chosen idyllic spas and retreats for you to visit for these special occasions:
Breaks, Break-ups and Life-Transitions

Contrary to the belief that holidays are reserved for celebratory events such as honeymoons and anniversaries, more people are planning wellness holidays following the breakdown of a relationship or another major life-changing event. The stress and anxiety caused by major life changes like divorce, lead many individuals on a solo wellness trip, to tap into the transformative power of travel. Retreats are responding to this growing trend, offering a plethora of emotional healing therapies, stress management and life coaching services.

Empty Nest syndrome is another example of a life change that some spas now have programs for. Of course, serious illness and death are some of the most challenging times in someone’s life but are not the only hard times people face. Divorce and job loss are among the many life challenges millions cope with every day, and any destination spa or resort spa can be a good place for people to reflect, rejuvenate and restore their lives.

Spas that offer full wellness programs are a particularly good choice. In the future we think (and hope) more spas will recognise their natural role in providing healing, support and care to people facing serious illness and death – and the opportunities they must help them deal with life’s challenges… both large and small.

Examples: Mii amo Spa, (Sedona Arizona, USA), Phuket Cleanse (Thailand), Kamalaya Embracing Change (Thailand), BodyHoliday September Solos (St Lucia).

Skip a Generation Holidays

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While last year we saw a rising trend for family and ‘multi-generational’ holidays; 2018 is set to be the year of ‘skip-gen’ trips, where grandparents take grandchildren and go on once-in-a-lifetime holidays, leaving parents behind. The reason for this shift can be attributed to the fact that the baby boomer generation are now retiring, with their top priorities being family and travel. Skip-gen holidays combine the two, providing the opportunity for major milestones such as graduations and special birthdays to be celebrated in style.

Examples: Six Senses Zighy Bay (Oman), Sun Gardens Dubrovnik (Croatia), Kamalaya (Thailand)

Be Happy Retreats

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According to recent studies, experiences, not things, make us happy; therefore, it’s no surprise that people are investing more on satisfying their wanderlust than buying material goods. Activities like morning hikes and beach circuit training all foster the production of serotonin (the ‘happy hormone’) and the likes of laughter yoga, smile-asanas and inner-smile meditation will soon fill your retreat schedule.

Other examples are of course the O – holidays – travel to celebrate the special 0 birthdays – 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70’s and onwards where perhaps the largest group are in the 40-50-60 as that is the groups with most disposable income.

Examples: The Mind Coaching Retreat at Macdonald Monchique (Portugal), SwaSwara (India), Shanti Maurice De-stress (Mauritius)




Every day you hear about fantastic new children’s wellness initiatives, so why are our children still inactive, unhappy and even unwell? What is really going on with our children and their wellbeing? And how can we create more happy habits for kids?

In an age where we’re constantly on-the-go and everyone wants to document their every move on Instagram (even young kids) – now seems to be just the right time to pull the emergency break and slow down.

It feels as if we’ve forgotten how to enjoy the moments of doing nothing, and to feel good about it. People often separate children’s wellness from adults, but society and its values, crises and happenings affect us all. The western world has changed; children no longer run around and play the way that they used to. Everything is more organised, structured, supervised and lead by adults.

We don’t believe the world is a more dangerous place today; it’s just different. We tend to live more isolated lives. Gone are the days when generations of families would live together in one area where everyone knew everyone.

As more of us move away from close family into bigger fast-paced cities, many couples and single parents are often left looking after their children without much help. They say “it takes a village to raise a child”, but for many people that village or support network just isn’t there.

2In addition to this, times have changed and as it’s no longer considered safe to let children’s run outside or explore their neighbourhood with friends, parents have had to create more structured activities. Some of these can be great, but a lot of children are missing out on simply running around outdoors.

We have also have adopted a very goal driven approach to life, we want to be successful in every aspect of our lives and for many, a large part of that involves sharing those successes on social media. These ideals are transferred onto how we treat our children as parents want the best for them; they are inclined to push them to go to dozens of extra-curricular activities and classes.

While it’s great for parents to care and want to give their children as many wonderful opportunities as possible, it’s also important for them to have time to just be: be silly, be fun, be kids.

When we look at kids’ wellness, we tend to look at it from an adult’s perspective; believing that kids need the same as adults. Whereas actually children are perfectly fine as they are, they are naturally healthy. They don’t need yoga to be more flexible, they don’t need meditation to be creative and so on.

Where we, as adults, need to exercise and heal and re-do what went wrong, kids do not. In that respect, kids’ wellness is quite easy compared to adults. Kids’ wellness is much more about creating and maintaining a safe, happy and content environment for them to grow up in.

So what do children really need then? According to modern psychologists and research there are a few important key factors needed: connection, attunement, trust, autonomy and a healthy divide between love and, in their later years, sexuality. Children and teenagers need to know they are loved and safe and can trust their family and friends.

A recent Telegraph newspaper article about why children are unhappy included comments from expert in child psychiatry, Dr Mike Shooter. Among issues such as social media and bullying, Shooter also highlighted the breakdown of communities and family units as a problem.

“Community has broken down,” agrees Dr Shooter. “It’s right across cultures and right across class. You see the same levels of loneliness, unhappiness, anxiety and depression in children in middle-class gated communities [as you do in economically deprived households]. Kids spend more time talking to each other on their phone and less and less time doing things together.”

In order to steer away from stress and create more ‘happy habits’ for our kids we would like to encourage less structured activities. School days are already quite long and children feel the pressure of exams more than ever before; so we urge parents to not organise as many after-school activities in order to allow children more time to run around freely and enjoy time without having to achieve anything.

We would also like to encourage everyone to act more like grandparents to the children around us. We once heard a child express why they loved spending time with grandma –“Because she bakes and she listens and she knows what I mean when I say wait”.

So, what about Kids Wellness in the spa industry? Can we take the lead? Instead of separating families during precious vacation time, with kids’ clubs and adults’ only areas, can we create family-bonding spaces and time? Instead of spa suites, can we have family camp suites, with hammocks, waterslides, meditations cushions and fire pits, where families can just bond, connect and be naturally playful, without any aims of achieving anything, but time together.

Can we support parents of today?  Teach them about meditation and the importance of taking care of oneself in order to have enough energy to spend quality time with the most valuable we have in life – our kids?

It’s #timetogetbored and for us to realise that it is actually healthy for our brains, for our creativity and for our wellbeing.

So next Sunday, why not make a family camp at home? Cancel all booked activities, hide phones and tablets, eat dinner for breakfast, have dinner in pyjamas, play board games or cards, and just spend time together.

Please share #timetogetbored and #newhappyhabits to encourage more family time and help our kids de-stress, and remember they’re kids.

Stay up to date with other our other news.

The Anti-Trend Report


At Raison d’Etre (RdE) our company values, integrity and authenticity are extremely important to us. Every year the world sees a huge amount of new trends advising us on how we can live a healthier life. While some of these can be inspiring and motivating, others can be impractical and at times shocking – especially when it comes to beauty developments.

Impact of Trends

Some of these “bizarre trends” are fleeting and lose popularity. However they are quickly replaced with a new ‘hype’. We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve read new ways to shape our eyebrows.

However some trends don’t disappear as quickly and can often have a negative impact on individual wellbeing. One of the best examples of this is social media; which became overwhelmingly popular in such a short space of time. On one hand social media is a great way to spread knowledge and interact with others; however it can also, when used negatively, be detrimental to people’s self-esteem and overall wellbeing.

Anti Trend

Anti Trend

As more and more trends continue to develop, the Think Tank at RdE wants to focus on trends that we believe really are inspiring, effective and can make a positive difference in your life. As a result, we have decided to create an Anti-Trend report; a list of wellness trends that we genuinely believe in and hope to implement into our work and daily lives.

That is why, this year we will be releasing a monthly article or blog post discussing the trends that we think are beneficial for you and encourage nurture in the community.

Whatever we choose to talk about will grow, so join us in naming your anti trends and let’s focus on creating a better and healthier wellness world together in 2018.

Yours truly

The Raison d’Etre Think Tank

Cruise Critic’s Editor’s Picks Awards

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Cruise Critic is the UK’s go-to when it comes to booking cruises, so it’s no surprise that we were delighted to have won not one, but two inaugural awards in their annual, prestigious awards. Celebrating the best of the world’s cruise ships and cruise lines, Cruise Critic’s Editor’s Picks Awards collate the expert knowledge of the editorial team to find the best in a number of cruising categories. Securing both ‘Best Spa’ and ‘Best Value for Money’ in the Luxury Cruise Line category, Viking Ocean Cruises took the sea by storm this year!

As a spa consultancy, we were delighted that our wellness expertise proved valuable to the design of the LivNordic spas aboard Viking Ocean Cruises. To win ‘Best Spa’ fortifies to us that wellness is becoming more and more important in day-to-day life, with vacations becoming a time to boost your health and wellbeing rather than to stop taking care of yourself.

Moreover, we hope that our authentically Nordic approach to wellness helps to introduce cruise guests to a whole new way of thinking about wellness. Feeling healthy doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated – by simply taking a moment to pause and concentrate on the contrasting warm and cool sensations you’ll experience in a LivNordic spa, you become at one with nature and with yourself. It’s simple! As Cruise Critic put it: ‘Viking has set the bar high; its ocean ships offer the best spa at sea.’

To further encourage our mission of giving wellness to all, Viking Ocean Cruises picked up the ‘Best Value for Money’ award. This is another important achievement for us, as it is paramount for us to deliver an experience that guests feel is valuable and worthwhile. Perhaps this is what makes us stand out in the Luxury Cruise Line world – we opt out of unnecessary tricks and gimmicks, instead getting straight to the core of luxury wellness. In practice, this means drinks with lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi, one tour in every port, meals in main and specialty restaurant venues and gorgeous top-deck, all-weather hangouts to name but a few.

It’s been an excellent year for Viking Ocean Cruises, and we hope to continue changing the landscape of the cruise ship industry this year. Creating and innovating is what we do at Raison d’Etre, and when it comes to the world of cruises… we’re only just getting started!

Collaborative Thinking

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Our Raison d’Etre team is made up of people from around the world, each offering valuable insights into the global wellness industry. With over 20 years as a spa consultancy, we can confidently say that it’s this working collaboratively which helps us reach the most innovative, original and creative wellness solutions. Whereas one mind can only realistically see from one perspective, ideas that have been processed and contributed to by others can only become stronger, more developed and clear.
This is an approach we have put into practice with our Think Tank service, which brings together different areas of expertise to develop wellness solutions and proposals for all types of businesses. However, whether you have a large or small business, you too can adopt the collaborative thinking method that we use. Here are the top five benefits we’ve experienced from working as a collaborative team:
1. Increased skill set
By bringing together a varied group of minds, meetings and brainstorms become a dynamic environment reaping the benefits from several different skill sets. Your clients and projects will be benefitting from the strengths of different ways of thinking – one team member might have an abundance of creativity, whilst a more practical-thinker helps with the logistics.
2. Problems are solved quickly
With multiple minds comes multiple viewpoints which, as well as promoting creativity and helping ideas to flourish, helps to resolve problems. A team member is often the best person to turn to when you cannot see a clear solution for yourself. Equally, working closely with others can help to resolve issues within the team, encouraging employees to negotiate with one another to reach a compromise.
3. You’ll work more efficiently
A collaborative team has the capacity to work on several different projects at once. Often called a ‘Divide and Conquer’ approach, splitting tasks between a team before coming together to reach a final project means things are done quicker, more efficiently and with a several pairs of eyes to spot flaws and foresee issues.
4. Individuals become more developed
Seeing how a variety of different minds work can also strengthen each individual team member. A team member may watch the thought-process of a colleague, perhaps even a colleague with more experience, and use their creative strategies to reach their own unique solutions.
5. Job satisfaction for all!
Working as a team raises the feel-good factor in the workplace, giving a greater sense of satisfaction and achievement to all involved. At Raison d’Etre, we rely on each other for inspiration and support, fostering a happy and healthy environment for us to return to each day.

Healthy Diet: The Nordic Way

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While the Mediterranean diet has long been known for its benefits to our health and wellbeing, the Nordic way of eating is now beginning to be hailed as a key player in a healthy balanced diet, with research stating that it is the key to a younger, improved brain.

The LivNordic Spa & Wellness brand, created by Spa Consultancy Raison D’Etre embraces the natural way of living found in Nordic countries and at its heart lies the wisdom of the Nordic health traditions. With Nordic traditions, the diet accustomed to the region goes hand in hand with wellness and health. While Nordic lifestyle is known for its ‘Fika’ – a Swedish word meaning ‘to meet up for a cup of coffee and something sweet’, it’s the focus of a diet that incorporates wholegrains, plenty of fish and dark fruits that is bringing it to the forefront of wellness.

The Nordic way of eating is inspired by its surroundings and consists of low-sugar foods with a healthy balanced mix of protein in the form of poultry and oily fish, unrefined carbohydrates such as oats and rye bread, plus plenty of non-root vegetables, fresh berries and fruit.

Regularly eating oily fish such as sardines, mackerel or salmon is shown to improve brain health due to its impressive high content of omega-3 fatty acids. The Nordic diet is also known to balance glucose levels due to its inclusion of wholegrains and low-sugar fruit and veg such as kale and blueberries. A healthy sugar balance such as this reduces inflammation, which is key when it comes to preventing wear and tear to your brain cells. Furthermore the phytonutrients packed within these foods, such as folate and vitamins B6 and 12 assist in reducing inflammation and promoting general brain health.
3 Cognition-Boosting Foods recommended by Raison D’Etre:
• Non-root vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale are good sources of dietary fibre and are lower in sugars than other root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes.
• Cinnamon will elevate the levels of sodium benzoate in the brain, assisting in prevention of age-related neurological disorders. It is delicious sprinkled over a warming bowl of porridge!
• Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring contains large amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3s – aim to eat a portion twice a week.

Katara Beach Club

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We feel excited when any brand new LivNordic spa opens, but the feeling when something as extraordinary as Katara Beach Club in Doha, Qatar, comes to life is unrivalled. The 4600msq club is situated in Katara Cultural Village, as we decided that an area so rich in diverse global influence would be ideal for introducing our Nordic spa concept. With magnificent spa facilities and an awe-inspiring gym open to day guests as well as members, Katara Beach Club is designed to help residents of the ever-changing city to discover how simple, yet effective, wellness can be.

Located amongst Doha’s luxury hotels and apartments, Katara Beach Club blends the authentic Scandinavian wellness practices LivNordic, our Raison d’Etre spa brand, is renowned for with the seamless, luxury hospitality of the Middle East. We wanted to reflect this eclectic mixture of influences whilst bearing in mind the and respecting culture of Qatar. This is why Katara Beach Club houses entirely separate floors for men and women, each floor with its own relaxation lounge, changing rooms and spa facilities.


We are particularly proud of Katara Beach Club’s fitness concept. The expansive gym houses state-of-the-art equipment, all of which aims to introduce guests to the Nordic concept of functional movement – a method of exercising that supports and develops the strength and movements required during our lives and helps guests reach their optimum performance every day. Overlooking 230 metres of private beach filled with cabanas, beach bags and loungers, the gym is perfectly crafted to enhance all aspects of health and wellbeing whilst maintaining a real feeling of luxury.

The relaxation lounges are where our Nordic heritage really comes in to play. Inspired by the world famous Aurora Borealis natural light display, these soothing spa areas bring the natural wonders of Scandinavia into the most cosy, comforting spaces. Guests can nestle in private, veiled pods and listen to the crackling of the log fires and take in the Nordic ambience.

The Nordic Bathing Experience is at the heart of any LivNordic spa, and Katara Beach Club is no exception. The age-old Nordic tradition of pairing a thermal experience with an ice-cold contrast emulates feelings of peace and stillness. Katara Beach Club is also home to Qatar’s first ever Snow Grotto, where peaceful ice rooms aglow with ambient lighting bring a sense of authentic Scandinavian living to the city.



Sauna Nights

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There is nothing so comforting and reassuring as the feeling of warmth. Being enveloped in an invisible cloak of glorious heat helps us feel safe, relaxed, calm and carefree. No wonder then that at the heart of every spa design you will find the soothing, quiet space of a sauna – the signature heat experience.

Saunas, which originate from Finland, are at the very heart of Nordic culture and, together with cold baths, form the mainstay of the Nordic Bathing ritual, adopted for our innovative and highly successful LivNordic spa design. The premise of LivNordic, created by Spa Consultancy Raison D’Etre is simple: to embrace a natural way of living which draws inspiration from nature, creativity, contrasts of culture and simplicity of design found in the Nordic countries. Here the regime of spending quality time in the hot heat of the sauna immediately followed by a cold dip in an icy lake or pool, emulated with cold showers, ice plunges and snow grottos, is the route to wellbeing. The cold dip increases the saunas elevation of heart rate, adrenaline and endorphin release to ease any muscular pain and boost your mood.

Incorporating Sauna Nights for guests, where a small group can experience the traditional Nordic Bathing ritual together, has been a huge success. Guests are guided through a range of different experiences starting with a short meditation followed by a succession of alternate visits to the sauna and the snow room. Exchanging the cleansing heat of a sauna for the refreshing plunge in a cold bath helps release muscular tension, eliminate toxins and improve circulation. The ritual concludes with a gentle warm hug to the heart – releasing hormones that boost wellbeing, relaxation and happiness.

Meeting in the evening to share in this therapeutic experience is the perfect way to forget about the rigours of the day. It also helps prepare the body for quality sleep and regeneration. By raising the body temperature in the sauna before you go to bed, your heated body will automatically work to readjust and bring the temperature back down, leaving you feeling calm and relaxed enough to get a good night’s sleep. Also by easing any aches and pains such as headaches, muscle soreness or fatigue, evening sauna sessions help to alleviate many of the things that may cause restlessness and disrupted sleep patterns.

Creating inner stillness in this way is not only the perfect preparation for essential rest and rejuvenation but also for helping to achieve total peace of mind and a deeper sense of wellbeing.

There’s a Scandi word for that!

Scandi word

The likes of Hygge and Lagom have been waltzing their way into the English language, with the relaxing ‘everything in moderation’ lure of the Scandi lifestyle ever present in our everyday lives. The spiritual, social and economic elements that make our home countries of Scandinavia some of the happiest, wealthiest, most beautiful and environmentally sustainable countries on earth today are at the heart of our LivNordic, brand which is based in Sweden’s capital city of Stockholm.

Offering guests spaces to connect, recharge and enjoy life the Nordic way, in spas, hotels, at sea or at work, our team at LivNordic has put together its list of 2017’s most aspiring Scandinavian words that we all should consider adopting.

Fika A Swedish word meaning ‘to meet up for a cup of coffee and something sweet’. You can Fika as a noun or a verb – to Fika or go for a Fika. It’s casual, but you can Fika with your friends, or even have a Fika date. You can Fika with colleagues at work or even fika with your family. It’s a social thing, you can’t Fika alone!

Forelsket A Norwegian and Danish word that means ‘that intoxicatingly euphoric feeling you experience when you’re first falling in love’. That pre-real-love. More than fancy, less than love.

Klämdag A Swedish word, literally meaning Squeeze Day. If there is a bank holiday then a working day and then another day off, that working day will become a ‘Squeeze Day’ – and we’ll all be off work.

Fredagsmys A Swedish word meaning ‘Friday cozy’. Taking place every Friday, Fredagsmys includes nice food, sweets and a cozy evening setting. But it can only be on a Friday!

Mysa A Swedish word that is almost like snuggle. However, the difference you can do it with someone, alone, or even in a café – maybe ‘to cosy up’ is more apt!

Kura Skymning A Swedish term meaning ‘sitting quietly and pondering at dusk’.

Livsnjutare A Swedish word describing the type of person who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme.

Smultronställe A Swedish words that translates to ‘wild strawberry place’. A special place discovered, treasured and returned to for solace and relaxation. A personal idyll, free from stress and sadness.

Friluftsliv A Swedish word translated to ‘free air life’. It’s where different spots and activities are done outdoors while exploring and appreciating nature. It’s a much-appreciated nature connecting and uplifting activity in both Norway and Sweden.

#Hashtag Treatments

BloggerWelcome to part 4 of our 2017 Wellness Trends. Here we discuss the rise of #Hashtag Treatments.


Branding has taken over every industry and wellness is not an exception. If before, it was fashionable to simply get the latest beauty treatments, today it is fashionable to get them from a celebrity therapist, fitness guru, person trainer, artist, you name it. With the world of social media obsession, online word of mouth and picture of the day enables really good therapists to become Insta-famous and sometimes more famous than their celebrity clients.

For those who can afford it, it is no longer interesting just to go to a great specialist, guests want to go to the same master who trained Victoria Secret models and threaded Kim Kardashian’s eyebrows. What fuels this trend is that celebrities are on board and gladly share their beauty tips and secret contacts. One does not even need to have celebrity clients to become a famous specialist (although being Madonna’s PT doesn’t hurt). Smart vloggers -who have gained huge audiences with their daily posts now create their own training programs, nutritional guides, offer personalized coaching and are in high demand.

#Who #Where

An example of this could be seen at this year’s Oscars when celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Emma Stone, Jessica Alba and others posted themselves getting ready by putting on the LED (light emitting diode) mask by Hollywood esthetician, Shani Darden elevating her to equal celebrity status.

Others gaining a huge following and engagement include Kayla Itsines – creator of Sweat with Kylie online training, Sonia Tlev – Personal Trainer, Joyce Bonelli – Kardashian’s make-up artist, Dr. Simon Ourian – celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist, Dr.Kevin Sands – LA based celebrity dentist and Richard Ward – celebrity hairdresser.


We are now in an era, where besides going to celebrity therapists for those promised amazing results and guest’s awareness and expectations, many engage in experiences not only to live through it, but also to photograph, post it and capture likes and views. We predict that the FOMO (fear of missing out) generation will continue to drive #Hashtag treatments at least for the next few years. We do not see it as a new everlasting movement, just like all hypes, it must pass sooner or later, but the demand for shareable experiences and high quality results is definitely here to stay.





Accessible and Affordable Wellness

In the third part of Raison d’Etre’s Wellness Trends we take a look at the growing demand for accessible and affordable wellness.


We are living in very curious times, where the pace of life is often so fast that our situation changes not so much on a yearly or monthly basis but from week to week and sometimes even day to day. It is a natural human characteristic to adapt to change and reflect and rearrange priorities and work out what really matters. So it comes as no surprise that more and more people, regardless of status and income level, are beginning to reflect on their quality of life and seek an improvement by focussing on their health and wellbeing.

Our industry is responding to this shift in thinking by moving away from the stereotype that ‘wellness is a luxury affordable to few’ and towards the belief that wellness can be accessible and affordable to all.

wellness centre

From hotel chains and fitness centres, to day spas, healthy food outlets and wellbeing retreats, affordable wellness is on the rise through a variety of different sectors within our industry. The reasonably priced IHG hotel chain is leading the way with its comprehensive wellness offering. Healthy fast food chains such as Reload Superfood Bars (Sweden), Leon (the UK) and Sweetgreen (the US) are responding to the demand for affordable, seasonable healthy food across the world.  Highly successful low-priced spas, such as Massage Envy, across the US which is also moving into Australia and Nail Sunny in Russia all offer luxury spa design but with affordable beauty services including facials, nail design, ombre hair colouring and many other pampering treatments .  The affordable wellness trend has not been ignored by Asia either, with a boom in Korean cosmetics resulting in a wealth of reasonably- priced, effective masks, creams, serums and nourishing oils sold online across the globe.  Now even wellness vacations need not break the bank, with travel specialists such as Book Retreats offering affordable yoga breaks to a variety of different exotic destinations.

Ultimately, every human strives to be happy and live in joy, directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. The increasing realisation that feeling well, both in mind and body, enhances a joyous spirit will continue to drive this wellbeing trend, with more and more people turning to the wellness industry to help them improve their quality of living. Going forward, affordable and innovative concepts in wellness, and the use of wellness consulting services, will play an ever increasing role in many sections of our industry.




Welcome to the second part of Raison d’Etre Spas’ wellness trends.

The term nutritarian was invented by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of the popular books Eat to Live and Super Immunity, to describe an eating style that focuses on maximizing micronutrient intake (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals) at all times. Nutritarianism is becoming an important part of the wellness offering as spas, hotels and other lifestyle businesses look to offer their guests life enhancing experiences. Whether you are opening a spa or developing your existing wellness offering, nutrition cannot be ignored.

  • Personalised Nutrition

NutritionPersonalised nutrition is poised to provide a key opportunity for consumers who are increasingly looking for individually tailored diets as it becomes recognized that each body responds differently to food. That’s according to New Nutrition Business and its recently released report ’10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2017’, which also predicts inflammation, digestive health, plant-based foods, will all play a significant role.

Many consumers are embracing personalized services such as wearable gadgets providing guidelines based on their weight, height, sleep pattern, heart rate and activity. A smaller but growing number of consumers look for more in-depth services such as a genetic profile or metabolism and disease risk via DNA tests. Personalised nutrition services also include tests for biomarkers for chronic inflammation.

The rise of products and services promoting the ‘personalised nutrition’ trend got off to a strong start in 2016 and looks set to continue well into 2018. Innova Market Insights listed ‘Body in Tune’ as one of its key trends and, according to the market researcher “Consumers are increasingly personalizing their own nutrition intake, making food choices based around what they think will make them feel better.” This particular trend is joining forces with technology and the big food companies are paying attention. Last year, Campbell’s Soup announced its investment in the personal nutrition App ‘Habit’ which uses personal DNA to create a food profile tailored to what foods work best for your body.

  • Gut Bacteria

gut health

Microbiome has become a household word. It refers to the mix of bacteria, yeasts and parasites that live on your skin, in your nose and trachea and in your gut from your mouth to your anus. The mix of those bacteria, yeasts and parasites is closely linked to weight, mental health, autoimmune health, blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Because research is proving the importance of the gut microbiome, many of us now understand how important it is to consume probiotic rich foods and why overuse of antibacterial soaps is a bad idea for gut health. It turns out that these same factors also affect the microbiota on our skin and protecting it may be just as important! In fact, most skin problems (from acne to eczema) likely affect the skin microbiome and may be a result of changes to this ecosystem due to modern lifestyle.

Fecal Transplant involves the process of a medical professional taking stool from a healthy person and transplanting the fecal bacteria to an unhealthy person. It’s then mixed with a saline solution, strained and then inserted by enema, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy and even orally with fecal tablets. Studies now show that this treatment may provide help for a range of  conditions ranging including clostridium difficile infection,  ulcertative colitis and other gastrointestinal conditions, Autoimmune and neurologic conditions, obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, multiple sclerosis, leaky gut syndrome, IBS, ulcerative colitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, celiac disease, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and even Parkinson’s disease are now being explored and tested.

  • Nootropics


Interest in brain supplements has increased steadily over the past few years, driven by increasing consumer awareness of cognitive enhancers and a growing market of adults age 55+ who want to stay mentally sharp to maximize their quality of life.

Today, however, many other factors are in the mix as well, driving unprecedented demand for an expanding variety of cognitive support supplements. Academic and professional spheres are more competitive than ever, with success or failure hinging on day-to-day brainpower. Multitasking, focus and clarity are essential for productivity and personal fulfillment but seem clouded by an ever-increasing prevalence of stress, attention disorders, or mental burnout form over-zealous stimulant use. Paradoxically, just as we need more brainpower in our lives, it seems more confounding factors then ever are limiting our mental performance. With that in mind, the nootropics to look out for now will support cognition by enhancing brain health, improving a broader array of brain functions, addressing today’s most common mental performance concerns. As supplements face greater scrutiny from consumers and regulatory agencies, the top nootropics must also be safe, research-backed and credible.

Part 3 of our wellness trends coming soon.



Spa Design for Mental Wellness

A short while ago following two decades of experience in the wellness industry, we repositioned the Raison d’Etre brand as a ‘Think Tank’ for wellness. It’s actually what we’ve doing for a long time, using our knowledge and experience as spa consultants to create award winning spas, spa brands and spa concepts. Increasingly though, we’ve received requests to assist organisations in other industries where the solutions to wellness aren’t so obvious.  Part of this has involved identifying the latest global wellness trends which have an impact on us all whether at work, at home or in our leisure time.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing with you seven of the most important wellness trends to emerge in 2017 starting with:

 ‘Brain Power’

Brain power

  • Mental Wellness

Mental wellness is no longer a taboo subject as we recognize that many of us suffer, to some degree, with mental illness. We are living in a golden age of brain research, new breakthroughs emerging every month, revealing the astonishing power of the brain to heal, create and evolve. Where scientists once believed that the brain’s hardwiring couldn’t be changed, we now know that the brain is constantly evolving and our ability to rewire our brains remains intact from birth to the end of life. Researchers have also dispelled the myth that ageing in the brain and memory loss are inevitable and irreversible. No matter how old we are, our brain is incredibly resilient and has the capacity to create new neural pathways if we choose to keep learning and opening ourselves to new experiences.

Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans. What she found surprised her – that meditating can literally change your brain. As spa design consultants, we are increasingly designing space which encourages mindfulness and reflection.

  • Brain Workouts

A new study from the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland), performed on rats, had some provocative findings about what type of exercise drives the newest neurons (neurogenesis) in the brain. For the first time, scientists compared the effect on the brain of running, weight training (rats climbed walls with little weights attached to their tails) and high-intensity interval training (sprinting on little treadmills, slowing and repeating). A substance was injected in the rats’ brains to track the creation of new brain cells and the runners showed by far the most brain cell creation: their hippocampus teemed with new neurons, while the high-intensity interval training showed far fewer neurons created and the weight training showed no neurogenesis. Rats aren’t people, but the research is eye opening.

  • Brain Beauty

Emotions play a big role in skin diseases. Approximately 50% of people with acne report an emotional trigger to their breakouts. At least 80% of those with atopic dermatitis (eczema) state psychological stress aggravates or brings about their itch. More than 90% of those with rosacea say stress triggers a flare-up, making their skin hypersensitive. And about 100% of those with excessive sweating, hyperhidrosis, say emotions trigger their reaction. Recurrent flares of psoriasis have been attributed to stress in up to 80% of individuals. What’s more, in psoriasis patients with associated depression, 9.7% acknowledged a “wish to be dead,” and 5.5% reported active suicidal ideation. Emotions, in particular stress and anxiety, are not to be dismissed when it comes to treating the skin. Not only can they trigger or exacerbate skin conditions, but they can actually affect a person so deeply that they are scarred for life, or worse yet, make them want to take their own life. Estheticians use their tools to help people with their skin concerns, but in reality, they have the power to help improve the quality of life for every client they touch if they understand the intimate relationship between the mind and skin.


Part 2 of our wellness trends will follow shortly