We report from the Medical Wellness Congress 2024

The annual event has become a must-attend for medi-spa and wellness operators


By Mark Smith

22 April 2024

The annual Medical Wellness Congress returned to St Martin’s Spa & Lodge in Austria for its 2024 edition, with delegates declaring the event a success.

The congress provides a unique mix of networking, international speakers and opportunities for wellness immersions in equal parts.

With delegates from over 23 countries including the USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Hungary, this year focused on the concept of ‘Vitality – the key to longevity’.

PRADIP BALA - Medical Wellness Congress

“We warmly thank our sponsors, ambassadors, and media partners for their support and valuable contribution to the success of this edition”.

Pradip Bala

Managing director, Medical Wellness Congress

Conference sessions featured an array of renowned speakers offering keynote speeches, these were interspersed with thought-provoking panel discussions and plenty of time for attendees to experience the full range of touchless wellness treatments in the exhibition space.

“We wanted to create a selective professional international meeting focussing on longevity and ageing,” said Vladi Kovanic, conference director, Medical Wellness Congress.

“Bringing experts, visitors and exhibitors together, with the objective to create an international community facilitating dialogue with everyone.”

Hadi Teherani - Medical Wellness Congress
Hadi Teherani, architect and owner of Hadi Teherani Group

Architecture can make you healthy

The opening session featured an engaging talk by Hadi Teherani, architect and owner of Hadi Teherani Group. His practice, based in Hamburg, specialises in large international projects and has recently turned to designing for the wellness space.

He gave an insight into his latest work, the launch of Atmosphere by Krallerhof in Austria. The €23 million (£20 million) project sourced builders within a 50km radius and took 12 months to complete.

“Architecture can make you healthy when you have the right texture, colours and energy,” explained Teherani. “Your body will feel it when everything is in order.”

He is currently working on a new wellness project, the Spiral Lakeside Resort near Malente in northern Germany. The property will feature 220 hotel and flat units, three restaurants and one of Germany’s largest wellness and spa centres.

panel discussion at Medical Wellness Congress
A panel discussion addressing touchless treatments

Should we be increasing longevity or improving health span?

A central focus of many of the presentations was longevity. Joanna Bensz, CEO of Longevity Center in Poland gave an overview of her businesses concept and talked about how her team is working with science-based medicine to address the health, wellness and longevity of their client base. “Data is the key to effective personalisation,” she said.

Its clients range in age from 35 to 55 and a combination of techniques are used to address health concerns. “One therapy alone doesn’t solve the problems; you need a combination of therapies and technologies. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and red light is a favourite combination,” she said.

Alina Hernandez, wellness concept creator and advisory board member of the Gharieni Group, sought to address the differences in terminology between longevity (living longer) and health span (living well with a longer period). She turned to Dr George Gaitanos, chief scientific officer, Chenot Group who offered one key thought. “Health is the ability to adapt to life.”

Preventing age-related diseases

Hans-Peter Veit, director of spa and recreation, Appenzeller Huus, noted that life expectancy is growing across Europe and the world. “We need to find ways to prevent age-related diseases,” he said. “Not to live longer, but to age healthier.

This is the difference between the health spa and lifespan gap. “We have to find ways to shorten it,” he argued, and suggested a range of modalities from physical fitness, good nutrition to oxygen therapy, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, cryotherapy, supplements, detox and positive thinking.

Professor David Della Morte Canosci, scientific and medical director of Palazzo Fiuggi Medical Wellness Retreat in Italy, spoke succinctly about the ageing population and what this means for medical wellness facilities.

Hannes Illmer, co-owner of Villa Eden in Italy gave a passionate speech that offered a glimpse from inside his business. He explored how the concepts of pleasure and medical spa are merged at his luxury property.

speaker introducing a conference in Austria
Vladi Kovanic, conference director, Medical Wellness Congress

The growth of technology shouldn’t dimmish the human experience

Technology and equipment were core discussions at the event as many wellness centres are embracing touchless technology in a meaningful way to enhance the health and wellbeing of guests.

However, the importance of touch remains an central part of the delivery of any technology assisted therapy. Tammy Pahel, vice-president of spa operations for Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, talked about how technology can deliver a ROI.

Sammy Gharieni, founder and CEO Gharieni Group, explained his personal journey. “When I had the idea for a treatment room, I thought about integrating technology to bring the treatments and hybrid technology together,” he said.  “To optimise treatment room utilisation, which can be offered with or without a therapist.”

There are so many technologies,” said Erin Lee, founder of the Touchless Wellness Association. “You can’t just throw them all into the mix. You need to know what people need and create protocols with training and education to support them.”

Yuki Kiyono, global head of wellness development at Aman, gave examples of how technology is used in the group’s properties, including advice on how to engage customers in new tech from the first point of connection when they call to book a massage.

The importance of touch

Many clients are starved of touch, especially the healing power of it during cancer treatments. Christine Clinton, founder of Clinton Cancer Care and Wellness for Life, made the case for increasing the opportunities for people with cancer to access touch therapy. She offered a range of benefits for people going through cancer therapies and her talk was well received by the audience.

Gharieni, Robosculptor, Oakworks, Avacen Medical, JK International, Art of Cryo and HydraFacial all presented their latest innovations for the audience.

Medical Wellness Congress Austria
The event provided many networking opportunities for delegates

Red light therapy is on the rise

The growth of touchless treatments was demonstrated most clearly by the number of red light therapy systems on display at the Medical Wellness Congress. Dayon, Prism Light Pod Halotherapy Solutions and Neo Science all offered their unique delivery systems.

Neo Science has a therapy bed that combines a multiple range of different light modules from red to green and blue. Halotherapy Solutions combines red light with salt therapy.

“Red light utilises wavelengths of light that are similar to the visible light from the sun, but without the harmful UV elements,” explained Erin Lee. “The red light panels we use [at Halotherapy Soltions] are 630-850um, which means they can penetrate up to around 10mm beyond the surface of the skin and reach the mitochondria. This increases the cell energy to improve the performance of cells.”

“Mitochrondria are like little batteries in our cells and the red light helps to charge them up thereby improving ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production which is essential for the functioning, growth and maintenance of all living cells.”

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