- Tea ceremonies are hot in Los Angeles right now, reported Emma Carmichael for The New York Times.
- Carmichael sat in on a tea ceremony in Topanga Canyon; attendees, she said, felt mindful and connected with nature during the ceremony.
- More of the wealthy are seeking wellness experiences; tea ceremonies are the latest development in the craze, which has seen everything from "wellness summits" to silent meditation retreats.
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In Los Angeles, nothing's quite as hot right now as a tea ceremony.
Reporter Emma Carmichael recently partook in a "tea sit" in Topanga Canyon hosted by Baelyn Elspeth, a former model and dancer, and documented her experience for The New York Times. "Tea is a nurturing, beautiful, warming plant, and it can do all kinds of things," Elspeth told Carmichael.
Elspeth, age 37, serves tea and holds "ceremonial space" for women, Carmichael wrote. She's one of the first to kick off the trend in "certain and predominantly white wellness circles" in LA, wrote Carmichael, noting that she has amassed nearly 60,000 Instagram followers that include Diplo and Paris Hilton.
The ceremony, by Carmichael's account, went something like this: Attendees arrived in comfortable, neutral-colored clothes, as instructed by Elspeth, to "harmonize" with nature; they consumed five or six pots of tea in silence for an hour; and afterwards, they reflected on the ceremony out loud at Elspeth's request.
One of the attendees said tea ceremonies are a more "mindful way of spending time together," Carmichael wrote, while Elspeth explained that it helps her connect with nature.
Wellness as a status symbol
Tea ceremonies are just the latest iteration of the wellness craze that has taken off in recent years.
Vogue reported in 2015 that health and wellness had become a luxury status symbol, and millennials have been a driving force behind its evolution. They've been dubbed "the wellness generation" by Sanford Health thanks to their increased spending on health and wellness.
As a result, a variety of luxury wellness offerings have cropped up to meet this demand, Business Insider's Katie Warren reported. They range from multi-day retreats, like Gwyneth Paltrow's $1,000-per-day wellness summits, to silent meditation retreats, which, Business Insider's Melissa Wiley reported, are one of the fastest-growing trends in travel.
Chiva-Som, a celebrity-favorite wellness resort in Thailand, offers wellness itineraries that come in the form of on-site therapists, personal trainers, and wellness practitioners. Even luxury resorts not oriented around wellness are taking a plunge into health: Amanera, a luxury resort by Aman Resorts in the Dominican Republic, recently started offering a "Surf + Sun" program that includes energy treatments, yoga, healthy snacks, and guided meditation.
There's also the rise in luxury treatments and services, such as NYC's Clean Market, where monthly packages of cryotherapy can be purchased for $999 a month. Wellness has even made its way into hospitality and real-estate: Hotels are offering amenities such as wellness rooms, while luxury condos and apartments around the US are touting outdoor yoga decks and "tranquility gardens."
The wealthy are spending less money on material goods and increasingly on habits and lifestyle choices as a new way to signify their status — and wellness is one area they're choosing to invest in instead.