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Spa Business
2021 issue 3

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Leisure Management - Gloria Caulfield


Gloria Caulfield

The executive director of Lake Nona wellness community talks to Magali Robathan about tapping into the latest innovations and technology to create healthy environments

Gloria Caulfield is executive director of Lake Nona wellness community photo: ©Lake Nona
An interactive digital cooktop syncs with the fridge for meal suggestions photo: ©Lake Nona
Behind the Florida clapboard facade lies a host of health-inducing tech photo: ©Lake Nona
Fred Maxik, founder of Lighting Science, and Architect Veronica Schreibeis Smith photos: ©Lake Nona
Hydroponic garden photo: ©Lake Nona

In the planned Florida wellness community of Lake Nona, stands what looks like an ordinary – if impressive – clapboard home, surrounded by palm trees and plants. The only clue that something a bit special is going on inside, is a sign inviting people look around.

This is WHIT, a prototype Wellness Home built on Innovation and Technology, where entrepreneurs test concepts that could transform the way we live – from a Wellness Kitchen and Sleep Sanctuary bedroom to green walls and View Smart Windows that tint automatically in response to light levels outside to reduce glare and keep the home cool.

It uses anti-microbial and mould resistant cork flooring and low VOC paint, has a state-of-the-art Technogym gym and a room for meditation and relaxation, featuring technologies to clear your mind and refocus your brain.

“We spend more than 90 per cent of our lives indoors, yet so many of the designs of our homes and the spaces we occupy haven’t been planned with health and wellbeing in mind,” says Gloria Caulfield, executive director of the Lake Nona Institute, speaking to me from her Florida home. “We have to pay attention to these spaces by thinking about how we optimise our health within them.

“The idea of WHIT is to create a kind of living lab that focuses on optimising health and wellbeing within the living environment.”

The WHIT could also serve as inspiration for any spa or wellness facility focused on a guest’s health. It sits within Lake Nona in Orlando, which is in itself at the forefront of healthy living. Established more than two decades ago, Lake Nona is a 17 square mile community created with the vision of building the ideal place to inspire human potential through innovation. “It’s about learning to live well, and about prevention,” says Caulfield.

The population has steadily grown and now tens of thousands of people live, work and study in Lake Nona. The community is also home to the Lake Nona Institute, a non-profit organisation which aims to inspire healthy communities, the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, where executives and athletes learn how to improve their health, and the USTA National Campus – one of the world’s largest tennis training and tournament campuses. A wellness study, the Lake Nona Life Project, is investigating what makes happy and successful communities, and a huge fitness and wellness club is currently under construction.

Caulfield and the team at the Lake Nona Institute have partnered with a range of exciting architects, inventors and entrepreneurs to explore how our homes can support us in living our best, healthiest lives. “It’s about thinking about your residence as the ultimate health coach.”

Inside, there’s a Wellness Kitchen developed in partnership with wellness architect Veronica Schreibeis Smith. It has a state-of-the-art hydroponic kitchen garden allowing people to grow and pick their own fruit and vegetables, UV germicidal lighting technology to kill bacteria and viruses on surfaces without the need for cleaning products, and an interactive digital cooktop that syncs to the fridge and suggests meals based on your preferences.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home, and one of the most important components of a healthy house,” says Caulfield.

Another innovator that changed the way Caulfield views the indoor environments is Fred Maxik, founder of Lighting Science. A former NASA scientist, Maxik – who’s responsible for all the lighting in WHIT – views lighting as a nutrient for our bodies.

“As humans, we take our daily clock reset signal from the qualities of light surrounding us,” he explains. “If the wrong signal (or light) is received at an inappropriate time of day, we throw our systems off.”

The company produces LED bulbs which eliminate certain wavelengths of light that disrupt circadian rhythms. Its GoodNight bulb, for example, greatly reduces melatonin-suppressing blue light. Other bulbs aid alertness or promote healthy plant growth. Most recently, its Healthe Cleanse sanitising product line, capable of killing viruses and bacteria in the built environment, is being used across the US following COVID-19.

Other lighting innovations in WHIT include the Cleanse air cleaning pendant light, that improves air quality and features circadian lighting technology; infrared therapy floor lamps that provide natural health benefits for inflammation, pain relief and cardiovascular diseases; and a sensing pendant light that can track and provide security information about the people coming in and out of the house.

Circadian lighting to help regulate sleep patterns features heavily in WHIT’s Sleep Sanctuary bedroom, along with an array of other innovations from air purifiers and folders to pillows that deliver music and snoring solutions (see above).

I finish the interview by asking Caulfield how working on WHIT has influenced her own home and the way she lives? Has she incorporated any of the technologies into her life?

Her answer shows that sometimes it’s the simple things that can make a big difference. “Several years ago, one of our entrepreneurs came to Lake Nona and gave a presentation saying that after World War II, around 70 per cent of people’s produce was grown in their own garden. They had fresh fruit and vegetables doorsteps away and they canned what they needed for the winter. I’d always been interested in healthy eating, but that really resonated with me.

“I started to learn more about growing produce – you can grow a lot on a modest piece of land – and I’ve taken that into my own home and life,” she says, adding that a hydroponic garden is an innovation people can tap into.

Home wellness innovations

A space designed for meditation and relaxation, this room features technologies including:

• Innerspace Zero Gravity Chair
Reduces body inflammation, helps with chronic pain and improves sleep

• Deepak Chopra Dream Weaver
Uses light and sound pulses at specified frequencies to help the user reach a variety of interesting and beneficial states of consciousness

• Neuroverse Brain Station
Wearable, intuitive EEG system that can assess mental function, featuring neurocognitive games, mindfulness training, neurofeedback and biometric control and sleep tracking

• HumanCharger
A bright light therapy device that can be carried around in your pocket for use anywhere


A partnership between SleepScore Labs and WHIT, the Sleep Sanctuary features products curated and validated by scientists including:

Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Designed to show you what indoor air quality looks like and highlight pollutants

Sound+Sleep – Sleep Sound Machine
Featuring Adaptive Sound, emits soothing white noise, dynamically adjusting the volume based on ambient levels in your room

Alen – BreatheSmart FIT50 HEPA Air Purifier + HEPA-Pure
Eliminates toxins, allergens, bacteria, mould, dust and airborne irritants

SleepScore Max
SleepScore Max Sleep Improvement System

Dreampad Medium Support Pillow with Music & Sleep Technology
Delivers music through the pillow via a gentle vibration (that only the user can hear) for a restful night’s sleep.

Lighting Science’s GoodNight bulb
Reduces melatonin-suppressing blue light

The bedroom has a sleep sound machine, air purifier and blue light-blocking bulb / photo: ©Lake Nona

Magali Robathan is an editor of Spa Business’ sister magazine, Well Home (www.wellhomeglobal.com) | [email protected]

Originally published in Spa Business 2021 issue 3

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