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Is travelling good for your mental health?

by Pragati Singh

According to a recent study, travelling and going on vacation can have a good influence on an individual’s mental health and well-being.

A recent cross-disciplinary research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) advises that we reconsider tourism as a leisure experience rather than an enterprise that might deliver actual health benefits. The cooperation between ECU’s Centre for Precision Health and the School of Business and Law discovered that several features of being on vacation might benefit persons with mental health disorders or illnesses.

The varied team of tourism, public health, and marketing specialists studied how tourism may assist persons living with dementia, according to lead researcher Dr Jun Wen.

“Medical specialists can prescribe dementia therapies including music therapy, exercise, cognitive stimulation, recollection therapy, sensory stimulation, and changes to a patient’s mealtimes and environment,” Dr. Wen explained.

“All of these may also be found when on vacation.

“This is one of the first studies to consider how these tourism experiences can perform as dementia therapies.”

Holiday entertainment… or treatment?

Dr. Wen stated that the diverse nature of tourism provided several opportunity to implement therapies for illnesses such as dementia.

Being in new locations and having new experiences, for example, might give cognitive and sensory stimulation.

“Exercise has been connected to mental wellness, and travelling frequently entails increased physical activity, such as more walking,” Dr. Wen explained.

“Mealtimes on vacation are frequently more sociable events with numerous individuals, and family-style dinners have been shown to positively affect dementia sufferers’ eating behaviour.

“Then there’s the fundamentals, like getting some fresh air and sunshine, which boosts vitamin D and serotonin levels.

“Everything that contributes to a comprehensive tourist experience makes it simple to understand how individuals with dementia may benefit from travel as an intervention.”

A paradigm change

Dr. Wen stated that the influence of COVID-19 on travel in recent years has raised issues about the usefulness of tourism beyond lifestyle and economic considerations.

“It has been discovered that tourism improves both physical and psychological well-being,” he stated.

“So, after COVID, now is a good moment to highlight tourism’s role in public health – not just for healthy travellers, but also for vulnerable populations.”

Dr. Wen expressed optimism that a new line of joint study may begin to investigate how tourism can improve the lives of those suffering from various diseases.

“We’re attempting to accomplish something novel by connecting tourism with health science,” he explained.

“More empirical study and data will be needed to determine whether tourism may be used as a medical intervention for disorders such as dementia or depression.”

“Thus, tourism is more than just going on vacation and having fun; we need to reconsider the function of tourism in modern society.”

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