The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way we look at personal health and wellness forever. While the health & wellness industry has been rising steadily in market share and demand for the past decade, the pandemic has reshaped its trajectory. In the Indian context, we are witnessing both public and private initiatives for a healthier and fit India. Partly, this push is driven by an exponential rise in lifestyle diseases in our urban centers. Mental well-being, which is often talked about in hushed tones, has also found its way into conversations during the pandemic. Where homegrown health and wellness techniques such as Ayurveda and Yoga are finding greater resonance with both young and older adults, people are now also looking beyond these traditional approaches for holistic health and wellness solutions.
The Pandemic Effect
Countrywide lockdowns caused by the pandemic worked as an eye-opener for millions of people around the globe. Staying at home for extended durations brought them face to face with health problems that were left untreated for years, often due to busy work and life schedules. Moreover, sedentary living caused by the lockdowns also brought health problems to the fore in previously healthy individuals. Which, in turn, made people look for solutions online, as it was the only remedy available at that time. Not surprisingly, most of them discovered the scope of life, health and wellness coaching for the very first time in their lives.
The Rise in Demand for Wellness Coaches
Once we realized the need for health and wellness coaching, the demand naturally rose. People started taking up all kinds of health and wellness classes and therapies with free time on their hands. But, at present, the health & wellness industry is underequipped to handle the demand coming its way.
Even countries like the United States with a significantly developed health & wellness industry are struggling to provide an adequate number of health and wellness coaches. A recent report says that only 109,000 wellness professionals are catering to the health and happiness needs of the 331 million+ Americans. In India, where over 475 million people are suffering from lifestyle diseases, the number of health and wellness coaches is much less.
Wellness Coach Training Programs
To bridge this gap in demand and availability of health and wellness coaches, countries are making efforts to train more wellness professionals. In India, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has assigned the task of training health and wellness professionals to the Healthcare Sector Skill Council. The HSSC has identified health and wellness coach training as one of the top 5 skills in focus. The council is working with Weljii Health & Wellness Institute to provide international-quality health and wellness training and certification to individuals interested/working in the field. These 100% online programs offer both experiential learning and international exposure to the students.
Health & Wellness Industry Outlook
The global health coaching market was valued at USD 8.14 Bn in 2018, now expected to double in size by 2025. Apart from the rise in demand for personal health and wellness coaching, corporates too are employing health coaches for their employee wellness programs. The pandemic has also renewed the debate on the need for mental wellbeing, a part of the health & wellness industry. Other niches such as nutrition coaching and life coaching are also witnessing high demand, giving a very positive outlook to the industry as a whole.
Talks about health and wellness are here to stay. Apart from the obvious health benefits, wellness coaching also has a financial incentive for both the people and the nation. According to the World Health Organization, over 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household income on health issues. A recent report suggests that, in India alone, 5% of the population gets pushed into poverty every year due to health-related treatments. Therefore, a rise in awareness and proper health and wellness coaching might be the only effective remedy for a nation of 1.4 billion with a rapidly aging population.