We know we should take at least a 2-week uninterrupted vacation every year. However, in today’s world, many of us feel that taking 2-week vacation will increase our workload in our daily jobs. This eventually results in us feeling even more exhausted and more frustrated with life.
A Complementary and Alternative Medicine study by Brooks et al in 2000 showed that men who take frequent annual vacations were 21 percent less likely to die from any cause and were 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease.Furthermore, the longest-running cardiovascular study known as the Framingham Heart Study revealed that men who avoided taking a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks compared to men who did not take time off. The study also revealed that women who took a vacation only once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.It is now well known that workaholism leads to stress-related illness, depression and lower marital cohesion to name a few.
Yoga and meditation classes have been growing in popularity in the community in recent years and many businesses today encourage employees to engage in these classes/workshops which promote the well-being of their employees. The growth and popularity in recent years of yoga and meditation has also seen the increase in yoga and meditation holiday retreats.
Why meditation holiday retreat is good for you
A Complementary and Alternative Medicine study from the University of California and Harvard Medical School has revealed that a meditation holiday retreat has more positive health benefits than a standard vacation.
The study recruited 94 healthy women, aged 30-60 years for this trial. The participants were enrolled in a six-day meditation retreat at a resort in California. The groups were divided as follows:
- 30 experienced women meditators
- 32 non-regular women meditators randomly selected to simply enjoy the vacation (control group)
- 32 women who followed a yoga and meditation training program that included mantra meditation, yoga and self-reflection; this yoga and meditation program was designed by Dr Deepak Chopra
All participants ate a healthy Ayurvedic diet, which can be regarded as an anti-inflammatory diet.
The Complementary and Alternative Medicineresearchers examined more than 20,000 genes from each participant to understand what biological changes were occurring in the body in the various groups during the trial. The trial revealed the following:
- Everybody showed changes in gene activity after a week at the resort
- The greatest changes in gene activity was related to stress and immune function
- All groups showed improvements up to one month later but the first-time meditators showed fewer symptoms of depression and showed less signs of stress for a longer period of time
- Those who were regular meditators showed greater improvements in antiviral activity
- Changes in biomarkers during the retreat suggested salutary improvements in regular meditators compared with other groups. The monitored biomarkers were telomerase activity and Aβ which is predictive of cellular health, ageing and stress
- Regular meditators showed a significant increase in peripheral blood mononuclear cell telomerase activity post treatment that was not observed in the other two groups. Shorter telomeres in population-based studies have been predictive of the earlier onset of diabetes,cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.
Meditation the foundation of good health
While the trial number was small and only included women, it is clearly evident that yoga and meditation holiday retreat can help boost immunity and be utilised an anti-ageing therapy. However, for more effective results, a specific diet, yoga asanas and specific ayurvedic diet are required, so check out the life changing Apple A Day RX Yoga Wellness Report.