Could meditation be as good for you as a holiday?

30 October 2016
By Fashion Quarterly

Relaxing by the beach (H)

A new study shows the benefits of meditation are as good for your brain as going on vacation.

The Christmas holidays might be fast approaching but as we all know, they always seem to fly by and all that lovely relaxation disappears within hours of stepping back into the office.

But a new study has revealed meditation can be as good for you as a holiday – and the effects are longer lasting.

The study also showed if you want turbo-charged results, combine the two because you’re more likely to extend the benefits of having a break – such as feeling relaxed and stress-free – well after your vaycay has ended.

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A group of US researchers recruited 94 healthy women aged between 30 and 60 to take part in a six day retreat at a resort in California.

Among the participants, 64 were not regular meditators. This group was randomly assigned to either simply enjoy their time at the resort with no further obligations – or enroll in a meditation training program while at the resort.

The remaining 30 participants were classified as “experienced” meditators, and this group was asked to take part in the meditation training program for the duration of the retreat.

The scientists found all three groups showed significant improvements in stress levels and the functioning of the immune system. Experienced meditators also showed an extra boost of antiviral activity.

“Based on our results, the benefit we experience from meditation isn’t strictly psychological; there is a clear and quantifiable change in how our bodies function,” said Harvard’s Dr Rudolph Tanzi.

“Meditation is one of the ways to engage in restorative activities that may provide relief for our immune systems, easing the day-to-day stress of a body constantly trying to protect itself.

“The prediction is that this would then lead to healthier ageing.”

Photo: Getty Images

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