University of Pittsburgh, William Pitt Union, Third Floor Meditation Space. © Halkin Mason Photography
WELLNESS CENTERS: CREATING THEIR OWN FOOTPRINT
Wellness centers are quickly becoming an integral part of a variety of institutions, and their benefits are endless. Wellness can be accomplished through various different elements that can be modified to create the perfect space in the square footage that is available to you. These elements are tackling the old ideals that a wellness center needs a whole building dedicated to that one use.
A wellness center can exist in any space, from occupying an entire three-story building to occupying a single room. No matter the space available for a wellness center, there is a large and growing group of resources that can maximize the space and its impact. WTW is focused on learning about wellness spaces to develop an oasis in any size building and maximize the imprint of the aspects.
THE WHAT & WHY OF A WELLNESS CENTER
A key feature of a wellness center is pre-programmed lighting levels during the day to appeal to the human circadian rhythm.
What is a circadian rhythm and why is it important?
A circadian rhythm is the natural cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral changes that the body goes through in a 24-hour cycle. The important purpose of the circadian rhythm is that they prepare your body for expected changes in the environment and activity. External cues, most importantly lighting, are a strong effect on the body’s circadian rhythm.
Wellness centers require adequate and comfortable levels of temperature, humidity, and air quality. Why are the levels of these elements important?
These elements are vital to not only the health of people that are residing in a current location but also have a significant impact on productivity. Putting measures in place to accurately monitor and correct these levels is vital to any wellness center’s infrastructure. The higher the quality, the higher levels of productivity in the center. Poor levels of these elements can cause issues focusing, sinus irritation, and general drowsiness that can affect overall well-being.
Each wellness center should feature a hydration station that houses high-quality water dispensers. Why high-quality water?
These hydration stations feature high-quality water that flushes out toxins, improves complexion and digestion, promotes better blood flow, relieves headaches, and adequately fuels your body to take on any challenges throughout the day.
Sound absorptive materials
create a calm and distraction-free environment. Materials are employed throughout wellness centers to minimize sound both inside and outside the wellness center. During the design process, the acoustics of the space is one of the main considerations as sound absorption is undeniably one of the most important aspects of a wellness center.
Why is the inclusion of focus pods important?
The highest benefit of focus pods is in the name: Focus. The majority of people, no matter what their environment, report that they need quiet and private spaces to complete work but they don’t have access to them. Studies suggest that 25% of lost productivity time is due to distractions in or near work areas, and the availability of pods can drastically reduce this. Focus pods are designed with only work in mind, they are also a great space for individuals to decompress and find some moments of peace during a stressful day. With high and sound absorptive walls, focus pods offer an invaluable area to individuals. These pods can be easily added to any existing space to instantaneously offer these great benefits and take up a very small footprint in the scheme of an existing space.
ADAPTING WELLNESS CENTERS TO THE AVAILABLE SPACE
This plan shows a single room that has been retrofitted and designed to offer the most important wellness features in a small square footage footprint. This is a perfect example that whether you have a room or an entire building, a wellness center can be a part of your institution.
WHY WELLNESS CENTERS?
Wellness centers have been rapidly popping up across the world throughout the last seven years, and their footprint will continue to grow in the coming years. The idea of wellness as a whole has evolved over the years which allowed for the boom of wellness centers to happen. Instead of being viewed as just a physical aspect, wellness is now viewed as a whole-body experience.
Wellness centers are now appearing in common institutions like higher education facilities, corporate offices, and institutional buildings (i.e., airports). The incorporation of wellness centers in buildings like these offers a small sanctuary for the individuals who frequent the building. These wellness facilities (or rooms) are now seen as a must-have feature by many individuals, developers, planning committees, etc. Their inclusion and variety of menu options attract individuals to a location and also ensure the success of the facility and the individuals. The “why” behind wellness centers is becoming more and more apparent, and as time evolves they will continue to evolve alongside it.
" Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being."
– Greg Anderson (Author / Founder, and chairman of the American Wellness and Cancer Conquerors Foundations)
University of Pittsburgh, William Pitt Union, Third Floor Meditation Space. ©Halkin Mason Photography