Aromatherapy, music therapy, art therapy – there are many such methods that can help improve your well-being but what about “travel therapy?”
According to a new Edith Cowan University (ECU) cross-disciplinary paper in collaboration with the School of Business and Law, tourism may be more than just a recreational experience and can provide you with actual health benefits!
More precisely, the study showed that going on holiday may have a great positive impact on those struggling with mental health problems and other health conditions.
Dr. Jun Wen, the lead researcher, shared that their diverse team made up of public health, marketing and tourism experts looked into the benefits of tourism for those who suffer from dementia.
Dr. Wen explained that “Medical experts can recommend dementia treatments like music therapy, exercise, cognitive stimulation, sensory stimulation and adaptations to a patient’s environment and mealtimes. These are also often found when on holidays. This research is among the first to discuss how tourism experiences could work as dementia interventions.”
For instance, it appears that having brand new experiences and being in a new environment can provide people with a lot of sensory and cognitive stimulation.
The expert went on to point out that “Exercise has been linked to mental wellbeing and travelling involves enhanced physical activity like walking. Mealtimes are usually different while on holiday: there are usually more social affairs with multiple people and family style meals and have been found to positively influence dementia patients’ eating behavior. And then there are the basics like fresh air and sunshine increasing people’s vitamin D and serotonin levels. Everything comes together and makes it easy to see how patients with dementia may benefit from tourism as an intervention.”
Also according to Dr. Wen, new questions are now being asked about the value of tourism beyond economic and lifestyle factors because of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced people to stay at home, the negative repercussions of isolation becoming more obvious than ever.
Tourism has been proven to improve both psychological and physical wellbeing.
“So, after COVID, it’s a good time to identify tourism’s place in public health — and not just for healthy tourists, but vulnerable groups,” Dr. Wen added.
“We’re trying to do something new in bridging tourism and health science. There will have to be more empirical research and evidence to see if tourism can become one of the medical interventions for different diseases like dementia or depression. “