‘Travel therapy’: can vacation help with mental health and wellness?

‘Travel therapy’: can vacation help with mental health and wellness?

summary: Vacations can not only be an occasion for entertainment, they can also provide mental and overall health benefits.

Source: Edith Cowen University

Many of us may have heard of music therapy and art therapy – but what about ‘travel therapy’?

A new cross-disciplinary paper from Edith Cowan University (ECU) proposes to change the way we look at tourism, not only as a recreational experience but as an industry that provides real health benefits. could.

A collaboration between ECU’s Center for Precision Health and the School of Business and Law found that many aspects of going on vacation can have a positive effect on people with mental health issues or conditions.

Lead researcher Dr Jun Wen said a diverse team of tourism, public health and marketing experts investigated how tourism can benefit people with dementia.

“Medical specialists may recommend dementia treatments such as music therapy, exercise, cognitive stimulation, memory therapy, sensory stimulation and adaptation to the patient’s food and environment,” Dr. Wayne said.

“All these are often found even during the holidays.

“This research is one of the first to discuss conceptually how these tourism experiences could potentially serve as dementia interventions.”

Holiday fun… or a treat?

Dr Wayne said the diverse nature of tourism means there are many opportunities to incorporate treatment of conditions such as dementia.

For example, being in new environments and gaining new experiences can provide cognitive and sensory stimulation.

“Exercise has been linked to mental health and travel often leads to increased physical activity, such as more walking,” Dr. Wayne said.

“Eating times are often different on vacation: they are generally more social affairs with many people and family-style meals have been found to positively influence the eating behavior of dementia patients.

“And then the basics like fresh air and sunlight elevate levels of vitamin D and serotonin.

“Everything that comes together to represent a holistic tourism experience makes it easy to see how patients with dementia might benefit from tourism as an intervention.”

change in thinking

Dr Wayne said the impact of COVID-19 on travel in recent years has raised questions about the value of tourism beyond lifestyle and economic factors.

Dr Wayne said the diverse nature of tourism means there are many opportunities to incorporate treatment of conditions such as dementia. Image is in public domain

“Tourism has been found to promote physical and psychological well-being,” he said.

“So, post-COVID, this is a good time to identify tourism’s place in public health – and not just for healthy tourists, but for vulnerable groups as well.”

Dr Wayne said he hopes a new line of collaborative research can begin to examine how tourism can enhance the lives of people with a variety of conditions.

“We’re trying to innovate in bridging tourism and health science,” he said.

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It depicts a woman rubbing her shoulder

“There needs to be more empirical research and evidence to see whether tourism can become one of the medical interventions for a variety of diseases such as dementia or depression.

“So, tourism is not just about traveling and having fun; We need to rethink the role of tourism in modern society.”

About this psychology and mental health research news

Author: Sam Jeremic
Source: Edith Cowen University
contact: Sam Jeremic – Edith Cowen University
image: Image is in public domain

Basic Research: closed access.
“Tourism as a Dementia Treatment Based on Positive Psychology” by Jun Wen et al. tourism Management


Tourism as a Dementia Treatment Based on Positive Psychology

No research in tourism or medicine has addressed the possible relationship between travel and medical treatment of dementia. Given the increasingly important role tourism plays in society, a cross-disciplinary team of tourism and dementia experts provides information on the potential benefits of tourism for individuals with dementia.

This conceptual effort offers a critical review of the tourism and dementia literature and addresses relevant knowledge gaps. Tourism as an adjunct to non-pharmacological interventions is presented as a potential way to improve the well-being of dementia patients.

Accordingly, a conceptual framework is proposed to uncover the nexus between tourism experiences and dementia interventions.

Future interdisciplinary research directions are also described.

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