Wellness Meets Web3

Sasha Wallinger

Sasha Wallinger

6 mins

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Charting new frontiers across technology, health and fitness


While not intuitively connected, the worlds of emerging technology and well-being have a variety of overlaps that collectively lead to opportunities across each discipline for learning, growth and innovation.

Let’s being by establishing a working definition of the ever-evolving Web3 ecosystem. Li Jin and Katie Parrott sketched the web3 vision in these terms: “If the pre-internet/web1 era favored publishers, and the web2 era favored the platforms, the next generation of innovations — collectively known as web3 — is all about tilting the scales of power and ownership back toward creators and users.” This includes but is not limited to elements of the virtual and physical worlds, categorized into the following elements:

  1. Individuals:
  • Avatars who are virtual conduits of the individuals across virtual and physical platforms
  • AI which is the possibility for artificial intelligence to perceive synthesize and infer information

2. Instances:

  • Gaming platforms such as Fornite, Roblox, Decentraland, and a host of other metaverse realities that enable us to interact via avatars to experience virtual worlds.
  • Digital Events: including concerts, metaverse meet-ups and challenges that breed community, engagement and provide virtual destinations for avatars to congregate.
  • VR, AR and XR ecosystems, which offer aided immersive elements that offer enhanced or aided experiences across Web3 ecosystems.

3. Instruments:

  • NFTs digital assets tokenized via a blockchain and can take on art, music and written form.
  • NFCs chips that can be embedded into physical items, to wirelessly connect data which can be housed via a blockchain, RFID or other communication protocols.
  • Digital twins which are copies of a physical instance, individual or ecosystem, translated in the virtual space.
  • Digital wearables, electronic devices that can be worn as accessories, embedded in clothing, implanted in the user’s body, or even tattooed on the skin.

As these three categories and other elements of Web3 increasingly cross paths with our daily lives, the opportunity to implement tools that make up this emerging technology space can benefit our overall health and wellness.

Next, let’s frame the conversation around wellness, and define how it intersects with the Web3 space.

As Bethanie Ryder, Digital Fashion/Web3 Editor shared in her recent, “Wellness In Web3: From Move-To-Earn Workouts To Avatar Meditation” article for Jing Daily, exercise, nutrition, meditation and even journaling “have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, thanks to platforms like TikTok, wellness practices have become a non-negotiable resource for millions, helping them improve their health.”

The Apple Watch is an easy-to-relate with example of the connections between wellness and technology within a gamification and data-sharing paradigm.

Apple Watch SE, image courtesy of Apple


A 2020 Pew Research study reported that 21% of Americans use smartwatches or wearable fitness trackers, and this has only increased over time. As Shari Aaron, EVP, Growth & Innovation at Radius shared, “The continued improvements of personalized technology to advance my health is a path I am so dedicated to traveling on.” She continued to affirm, “There is nothing I find more motivating than seeing if I closed my rings on my Apple Watch. It’s not just about counting steps, it’s an engaging and visual way to see your progress. The level of what you can track makes you think about more aspects of health from simple standing more often to drinking enough water to that push or encouragement to get out there and make my goals.”

What Aaron explains is a gamified experience that Apple’s wearable technology and fitness tracking tool has enabled us to implement into our daily life, as second nature.

“The continued improvements of personalized technology to advance my health is a path I am so dedicated to traveling on. There is nothing I find more motivating than seeing if I closed my rings on my Apple Watch. It’s not just about counting steps, it’s an engaging and visual way to see your progress. The level of what you can track makes you think about more aspects of health from simple standing more often to drinking enough water to that push or encouragement to get out there and make my goals.”

- Shari Aaron

Aaron’s example also importantly cites the role that real-time observations of fitness data can have in motivating behavior patterns that are critical to the wellness journey. Another demonstration of how technology-aided virtually driven gamification data points can lead towards tangible fitness and health impact in the physical reality.


This instance of having technology, at our finger-tips to measure how we are advancing towards our health goals, translates into not only the physical self, but can be relayed into the comprehensive organism that becomes our virtual footprint that empowers what Tracey Hinkle, CEO & Advisory Board Executive, touches upon in her example of how her integrated health, fitness and wellness data, across the virtual and physical ecosystems is not currently able to be accessed in one comprehensive, consolidated instance, even though she has been recording those data points via multiple health-tech tools. Hinkle shared, “ I have used a variety of tech enabled health and wellness devices for the last 4–5 years. I’m a big proponent of the user owning their own data, and being able to integrate that across all their devices to have a comprehensive view of their health and wellness journey.”

She continues, “It would be optimal to walk into a Doctor’s office and have all of this information available, so Physicians can treat the whole person, rather than the pieces and parts that I currently have to pull together. If aided by the blockchain, I could provide the permission to control who sees what information, when and how long they see it.” Framing the case for an integration of the health and wellness apps, exercise equipment and even IRL labs and test information, to be housed in an on-demand ecosystem that is patient-gated, not the other way around.

“I have used a variety of tech enabled health and wellness devices for the last 4–5 years. I’m a big proponent of the user owning their own data, and being able to integrate that across all their devices to have a comprehensive view of their health and wellness journey. It would be optimal to walk into a Doctor’s office and have all of this information available, so Physicians can treat the whole person, rather than the pieces and parts that I currently have to pull together. If aided by the blockchain, I could provide the permission to control who sees what information, when and how long they see it.”

- Tracey Hinkle

This example is a nod to the Jin and Parrott Web3 vision of empowering the creator, and begs the question of how individuals, who are inhabiting both the physical and virtual spaces see themselves represented across the continuum of Web1- into Web2 and then Web3 ecosystems as they begin to embark with this information across both worlds.

Brands are also taking note of this connection that consumers are making in the crossover between Wellness and Web3. Alo Yoga, entered the metaverse in 2022 with their Alo Sanctuary, a partnership with Rolbox where guests can enjoy yoga, meditation and other holistic health experiences, meeting fans where they are with instances that are core to the brand.


GUCCI’s highly-regarded Web3 roadmap includes The GUCCI Gaming Academy, which not only supports emerging gamers, but also partners with the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide health and well being resources to enhance in-and-out of game performance. The video above, showcases a profile of one of the Gucci Gaming Academy participants, and how they learned to handle the physical and mental pressure of becoming an e-sports celeb.

The opportunity to find community in these types of wellness-led ecosystems is of importance, not only during this, Mental Health Awareness month, but also on the heels of the US surgeon general declaring that widespread loneliness poses “health risks as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes daily, costing the health industry billions of dollars annually, declaring the latest public health epidemic.”

Web3 can offer a new lens with which to examine potential pathways towards the health and wellness journey, not only because the emerging technologies that make up the vast and quickly evolving ecosystem. We have just begun to shed light on some of the gateway aspects of these overlaps, however over the next few weeks, we will be exploring how the elements that make up the overlap between Web3 and Wellness play a role in uniting the advancements in health and technology. While offering approaches to connect them with your personal and professional journeys.

Follow along and feel free to share your insights, inquires and comments below, in the spirit of Web3 inspired co-creation, collaboration and community building.

REFERENCES:

PS: This article originally appeared on Medium.com

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