Study Finds Vacation has Similar Biological Impacts as Meditation

September 20, 2016

Your next prescription may be for a vacation. A new health study reveals that vacation has a strong impact on both stress and immune pathways, and can provide short-term improvements in overall well-being.

Researchers observed 94 middle-aged women at a remote resort in California over a six-day period to determine the impact of vacation compared to meditation. Participants were randomly divided so that half the group participated in meditation training and the other half simply relaxed and enjoyed the resort.

In short, vacations are good for your health. The most notable change in gene activity—found in both groups—was the reduction of biological processes tied to stress and immune function. All participants showed positive results both five days and one month following the retreat. Participants in the meditation group showed sustained health outcomes 10 months later.

It’s true that individuals who exhibit work martyr behavior experience higher levels of stress both at home and at work. In this study, simply changing environment—or shifting from the high-pressure office to a more relaxed atmosphere—was found to be an effective way to enhance wellbeing and help improve short-term health outcomes.