2016's most innovative wellness start-ups

2016 is poised to be the biggest year yet for the $3.4 trillion wellness sector. Where the old guard and pharmaceutical industry remain powerful, disruptive elements and alternative players are rapidly gaining ground.

Specifically, we are seeing a dramatic shift in attitude away from relying solely on traditional, western medicine and more emphasis on responsive technology, holistic practices and "wellness first". The most exciting developments are coming from a cohort of young start-ups, keen to change what personal health means to each of us. Here's a round-up of innovative ventures making waves across the health industry.

Proactively championing health at the office is a relatively new concept, and perhaps doing this most effectively is Exubrancy, a Manhattan based start-up, and pioneer in "office fitness". Their team brings yogis, meditation experts and fitness instructors to your workplace to lead your team. The bottom line? Increased levels of concentration and productivity.

London based start-up Detox Kitchen founded by Lily Simpson, has just raised £2 million to build out a fast, affordable nutrition empire. Started in her kitchen in 2012, and now turning over close to £5 million per year, Simpson plans to build out her delivery service of superfoods that has been championed by everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Elle Macpherson.

The target demographic is office workers needing balanced nutrition, and by the uptick in growth, this start-up has found its niche.

With a heavier emphasis on technology, Caeden is a young venture with the mission of optimising mind and body performance, via wearables. Their bracelet not only tracks your activity levels throughout the day, but also Heart Rate Variability, a metric providing a leading indicator of your overall health and stress levels. Caeden's bracelets also train your resilience to stress with inbuilt meditations for focus and calm.

Read: Five ways to stay healthy when you have a busy schedule

Crowdsourcing health advice is another relatively disruptive concept, and this London based start-up, currently in stealth beta, may just hold the answer. Now Cure Me has a panel of 70 experts, on hand to deliver solutions to a myriad of health and wellness questions, from hangover cures to ways to we can all beat insomnia, or increase our immunity. We already are moving away from heading to a practitioner at the first sign of illness, and instead researching the best solutions online. This behaviour is set to dramatically increase as technology becomes further infused in optimising our daily lives.

Venture capital follows the smartest teams and solutions, with Rob Kniaz, Founding Partner at Hoxton Ventures looking to back "technology that transforms and modernises health, via large scale, global solutions". Babylon fits the bill by allowing you to get a doctor's consultation, from your mobile phone.

You can speak with a doctor within minutes via face to face video chat, text or send a photo of your medical issue, and get your prescription delivered to you that day. Compellingly, therapists are also available on demand to talk through mental health issues.

2016 is set to be a huge year for wellness and innovation within the health industry. Optimistically, we can hope to see a shift in the balance of power, with a greater emphasis and move toward the new breed of start-ups offering more holistic alternatives to established big pharma. Expect to see more wearables bringing you in sync with not only your body but mind.

Organic delivery services will continue to gain ground as it's no longer just celebrities but health conscious office workers who are choosing fast nutrition. Doctor consultations from your phone and same day prescription delivery are set to become a new norm, as apps disrupt traditional healthcare. You won't be safe at your workplace either, as employers learn the benefits of bringing yoga, meditation and workouts to their teams during office hours. And with one in twenty Google searches now about wellness, it's safe to say that where the Internet has democratised access to information, huge innovation for health advice will follow.

Who do you believe are in the next crop of disruptive start-ups? Leave your comments below.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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