Marketing to the Recovering and Relaxing

Downtime events and gadgets are on a huge growth trajectory

Mike Bruening
Dec 9, 2019 · 6 min read

As a large part of the consumer economy moves into journeys of improvement — like buying a smartwatch that tells you to pick up the pace on your Spartan Run while you take a Babble Italian lesson — there’s an opportunity for marketers to look at the rest and recovery.

For high performers, between the 4:30 AM Peloton workout and the global conference call from the treadmill desk, rest and recovery can get lost. Until recently, getting minimal sleep and working all hours was a badge of honor. That changed when Ariana Huffington collapsed at her desk from exhaustion, hitting her head so hard she needed medical treatment. Ms Huffington then initiated a global dialogue on self-care and the need for proper mental and physical rest.

This isn’t the indulgent rest time of watching Netflix while eating Cookie Dough Ice Cream on a Yogiboo cushion — this is the business of augmented recovery. It is about optimizing the downtime, the rest between the battles that sharpen the saw, and enabling people to reengage with the world — modified by their pit stop and ready to get back into the fray better, stronger, and faster.

Dean Karnaze is an ultra-marathoner who has run 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states. The accomplishment is as much a logistics achievement as an endurance milestone. When asked what he does for recovery, his answer is drinking coconut water, ice baths, compression, and sleep. Although the average weekend warrior does not come close to the physical stress that Karnaze puts himself through, many runners follow Karnaze specific recovery advice. In doing so, they have spawned a whole new market for specialized ice tanks and compression suits.

NormaTec Pulse 2.0 Leg Recovery $1,145

This recovery market is a vibrant new area that consumers are willing to invest significant dollars in. By promising speedy recovery and avoidance of injuries, these revitalization solutions can compel the same high price points of action-based gadgets. The rest and recovery market is an untapped area for entrepreneurs to bring new products to market, helping the average person reach a new level of performance.

There’s a growing group of influencers in the recovery market. Tim Ferris has admitted to struggling with sleep and has researched many of the gadgets, techniques, and processes that promise high-quality slumber. Ferris recommends the Chilipad, a thin sheet that goes under your regular bed sheet, with a unit next that circulates water through it at 55–110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chilipad $499

Ferris also recommends the Sleep Master mask because it goes over your ears instead of on top of them.

Tom Brady, the future hall of fame quarterback from the New England Patriots, has played the position for longer and more successfully than anyone in the history of the sport. Brady’s longevity and accomplishments have many people interested in his health routine — from what he eats to how he stretches. His TB12 fitness products focus on all aspects of health and self-care. He even has a line of mineral-lined sleepwear. These pajamas produce infrared radiation, which can penetrate up to 1.5 inches beneath the skin, and have shown to have some health benefits by increasing circulation to those areas of the body.

Self-care and getting better rest time is a growing market. Napping centers, like Sleep Pods, are designed to be safe and efficient nap cubicles and are sprouting up in cities and airports providing deep recovery rest. These centers have specially designed lounge chairs, ambient music, and advanced lighting. These features combine to encourage people into a deep sleep and then wake them at specific time intervals to maximize rest.

Sleep Pods

New Markets

The recovery market is broadening into new categories and is bringing unlikely players to the scene. One of the fastest-growing areas in the beer market is beers that target running and sports recovery. Athletic Brewery based in Stratford CT. brews a non-alcoholic craft beer that tastes excellent and has healthy recovery-based ingredients. This image of beer drinking is very different from Homer Simpson on the recliner watching TV. Craft Brewers are scrambling to develop beers for active consumers that are carb conscious and looking for beers, not for the buzz but rather to rebuild muscles and replenish depleted salts, minerals, and carbohydrates. Large brewers have taken notice of this new market area, with Heineken Zero Zero launching earlier this year with surprising sales results.

Athletic Beer

Not Just Physical

There is significant growth in transformational travel that includes meditation resorts and silent retreats focused on recharging the brain. Soul Cycle, the high-intensity bicycle health club company, just announced it was going to start offering spiritual retreats. Once considered only appealing to the hippy fringe of society, these resorts and retreats are a fast-growing market. Companies are scrambling to catch up as people move from trips of indulgence to journeys for personal growth.

Wealthy travelers are increasingly looking for wellness summits, spirituality retreats, and resorts that focus on self-care rather than beach parties and all-night clubbing. According to a 2018 Global Wellness Tourism Economy study, the wellness tourism industry is expected to be worth $919 billion by 2022 — and companies like SoulCycle and Equinox are hoping to get their slice of the pie.


Doctors are even finding ways to make watching TV a therapeutic activity for stress and anxiety. The Neurovation Center in Sandy Hook CT is on the cutting edge of mental healthcare options. It offers EEG-guided neurofeedback and a variety of counseling services. It’s an innovative treatment facility that merges psychotherapy and neuroscience to provide relief for those struggling with symptoms related to anxiety, depression, ADHD, trauma, and more. The Center has impressive results with clients that sit in comfort and watch TV. These Televisions are connected to brain wave monitoring caps that clients wear. The TV dims when negative brain waves arise. Over time, this restful TV watching suppresses harmful brain waves from emerging. This mixture of rest and therapy has had some breakthrough results. This process has been effective in treating PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression.


Downtime, once the bastion of the entertainment and leisure industries, will evolve to offer ever-increasing opportunities for people to recharge. As noted in some of the products and services mentioned above, this is an area that will compel premium price points for a high-achieving demographic looking to maximize every second of their lives. One of Elon Musk’s missions for autonomous cars is to free up those unproductive hours in traffic to be opportunities for personal growth and development.

Our world appears to be becoming more hectic and non-stop. This never-ending technology-driven world is making moments of rest more precious entities that are providing market opportunities. Entrepreneurs looking for an untapped market should look to the downtime to build a business around helping people in their heroes journey rest and recovery periods.


  • 13 Hacks Tim Ferris uses to Sleep Brainflow 2018/10/30/13
  • I Slept in Tom Brady’s Bioceramic Pajamas By Mike Prospero February 06, 2017 Fitness
  • Business Insider November 16, 2019

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Mike Bruening

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