Well Q&A: Jean-Guy de Gabriac & World Wellness Weekend

Last updated December 1, 2023

Jean-Guy de Gabriac is an award-winning advisor and educator. He is the founder of World Wellness Weekend (WWW), which is celebrated in 120 countries and supported by 60 global organizations (CIDESCO, ISPA, European Week of Sports and Vacayou).

In alignment with the United Nation’s 3rd Sustainable Development Goal of “Good Health & Well-Being for All,” WWW connects “wellness weekenders” to professionals near them through a geolocator available in 16 languages.

Jean-Guy also serves as Conference producer of the World Spa & Wellness Conventions (London & Dubai); Chair of the “Supporting the UN’s 17 SDGs” (Global Wellness Institute); Board Member of the International Massage Association and Judge of the World Championship Massage.

Sallie: How did World Wellness Weekend get its start?

Jean-Guy: In March 2017, I decided to launch an industry event before the September Equinox to showcase the wellness activities, special offers and packages of hotels, resorts, thermal centers, spas, beauty salons, and fitness clubs.

September is a strategic month for wellness professionals to attract new clients or members and for cities to seduce off-season visitors. In 2017, 160 venues signed up on our Wellness Map with a geolocator in France & Belgium.

The following year in 2018, 650 venues signed up in 88 countries with the participation of hotel groups, spreading the word.

And in 2019, 2,356 venues were listed on the Wellness Map across 98 countries with the official Proclamations of six US Governors, two Secretaries of Tourism (India & Cyprus), and 20 Mayors of touristic cities.

Sallie: World Wellness Weekend is based on Five Pillars of Health. What are they, and why do you think these five are particularly important to our well-being?

Jean-Guy: Our five pillars are created to be accessible to anyone: 

  1. Better SLEEP to grow your CREATIVITY 
  2. Better NUTRITION to strengthen IMMUNITY through the gut-brain axis
  3. More MOVEMENT to boost VITALITY 
  4. Enhanced MINDFULNESS to deepen SERENITY 
  5. Highlighted SENSE OF PURPOSE to drive more SOLIDARITY

Our Wellness Pledge encourages people to cultivate these five pillars in their life and choose a “Wellness Buddy” to be mutually accountable for their objectives and progress.

Once these objectives are met, we encourage people to donate their time or money directly to a local non-profit or NGO. Wellness does not start with “ME” but with “WE.”

Wellness weekenders who reach their personal goals from a physical, mental or emotional standpoint feel driven to share the “JOY of being WELL” with people who need it the most.

This is how the five pillars can make a world of a difference, touching the lives of people around the corner and the planet.

Sallie: What motivates you in your life, and what do you do for your wellness?

Jean-Guy: I survived two motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles almost 30 years ago that should have left me flat on the pavement. Since then, I feel compelled to make each day count and give back. There is no nobler calling than to encourage people to become the best version of themselves.

As for my own wellness, I cherish my sunrise yoga practice with my cat, Daisy, by my side.

Sallie: World Wellness Weekend is truly a global event. What are some of the differences you see in wellness activities in Europe where you live compared to other parts of the world, say the US or Asia.

Jean-Guy: Pre-COVID, Europeans tended to practice their wellness routine after work, while Americans usually flocked to fitness clubs or yoga studios before the crack of dawn.

Another difference is that yoga is still in the very nascent stages in France, Belgium & Europe, while it has become very mainstream in the USA, Canada & Asia.

Here in France, we have an amazing organization called “Bathrobe Addicts” which encourages people to take the waters with short breaks at thermal centers, slip into a warm and comfy bathrobe and then practice yoga, or Tai Chi with a bathrobe.

Sallie: Please share three of the WWW events from last year that were the most innovative and creative.

Jean-Guy: 3 of my favorites were:

  • PLANTIO BRAZIL planted 600,000 trees in Brazil last September in partnership with WWW in honor of the COVID victims (families could even name a tree in memory of a loved one if they chose).
  • The Catherine Sertin International School of Aesthetics in Paris offered beauty & wellness sessions to doctors and nurses of a nearby hospital. This event will be replicated this September during World Wellness Weekend by the students of 80 beauty schools in France.
  • There were also many fun events such as “Yoga & Vino,” 45 minutes of yoga to “open the chakras” followed by 30 minutes of Biodynamic wine-tasting to open tastebuds in the wine city of Macon; “Glow Zumba in the Dark” at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia; and a Sunrise Yoga & Meditation session on a sandbank in Mozambique, Africa just before high tide!

Sallie: How can we participate in a World Wellness Weekend event or wellness getaway this September?

Jean-Guy: All you have to is visit, click on LOCATE ME to see venues in your area, or type the name of a city you would like to visit.

The results page will show venues with safe, fun & free activities organized during World Wellness Weekend, as well as special offers, packages, staycations or getaways.

When venues go above and beyond, infusing a culture of wellness for guests, colleagues and local communities, we give them a special mention as a “Wellness Champion.”

If no venues appear in your area, we encourage you to inform your favorite Spa, Salon, Fitness Club or Yoga studio sign-up and appear on the World Wellness Map, alongside thousands of locations in 120 countries, from Fiji to Hawaii.

Take the Wellness Pledge

World Wellness Weekend is an interactive celebration growing with the active engagement of participants, spas and hotels who want to be connected and feel united on the third weekend of September, just before the Equinox. 

We hope you’ll join us for World Wellness Weekend this year, September 18-19, 2021!

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