Spa Opportunities reported that looking at ailments ranging from multiple sclerosis, cancer and HIV/AIDS to heart conditions and mental health issues, Professor Marc Cohen, from RMIT University in Australia and a team of researchers examined 23 studies relating to the health impacts of immersive residential retreat experiences, with their findings published this month in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
“Studies suggest there are many positive health benefits to be gained from retreat experiences”
“The findings from the reviewed studies suggest there are many positive health benefits to be gained from retreat experiences, which include improvements in both subjective and objective measures,” said Cohen. The studies involved 2,592 participants from a wide range of locations and demographics.
Seven studies examined objective outcomes such as blood pressure and biological markers of disease, while 16 had subjective outcomes, mostly involving self reported questionnaires on psychological and spiritual measures. All of the studies reported post-retreat health benefits ranging from immediately after the retreat to five years later.
A sustained improvement to quality of life, as well as subjective wellbeing improvements such as decreases in the frequency and severity of health symptoms, reductions in body weight, blood pressure and abdominal girth, and positive changes in the function of metabolic and neurological pathways have all been reported.
Four studies looked at retreats aimed at improving quality of life for cancer patients, and all showed benefits, including improvements in quality of life, depression and anxiety scores, and increased telomere length, with benefits being recorded as long as five years after the retreat experience.
“The results suggest retreat experiences significantly improve people’s lives,” concludes Cohen.
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