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Researchers explore health impacts of residential retreats
By Jane Kitchen 29 Jan 2018
Professor Marc Cohen says the findings from the reviewed studies suggest there are many positive health benefits from retreat experiences
Retreat experiences can provide health benefits for people suffering conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart conditions and mental health issues, according to new research.

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.

“The findings from the reviewed studies suggest there are many positive health benefits from retreat experiences, which include improvements in both subjective and objective measures,” said Cohen.

“It's likely that improvements in health are due to a combination of psychological and behavioural factors that lead to better coping mechanisms, lifestyle choices and enhanced resilience to stress.”

The studies involved 2,592 participants from a wide range of geographical and demographic populations – from luxury resort guests to unemployed adults and even prison inmates.

Seven studies examined objective outcomes such as blood pressure or 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 after.

“The results suggest retreat experiences significantly improve people’s lives," said Cohen.

"This is evident from reported improvements in quality of life and subjective wellbeing, decreases in the frequency and severity of health symptoms, reductions in body weight, blood pressure and abdominal girth, and positive changes in metabolic and neurological pathways.”

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 up to five years after the retreat.

“The finding that retreat experiences can lead to sustained and significant health improvements long after participants return home suggests they help guests make positive lifestyle changes and adopt healthy behaviours that lead to positive psychological, physiological, cognitive, clinical and metabolic effects,” said Cohen.

“While retreat experiences can have significant medical benefits, communication between the retreat and health industry is limited and there is scope for much greater collaboration.

"The health industry could benefit from recommending retreat experiences to reduce the burden of lifestyle-related chronic disease and the retreat industry could benefit from routinely collecting medical data from guests so the medical benefits can be better documented and the influence of different types of retreat experiences can be determined for specific guests.”

Cohen said that more research is needed, with larger numbers of subjects and longer follow-up periods to determine the economic benefits of retreats for individuals, as well as for businesses, health insurers and policymakers.

“Such research could allow the retreat industry to become better integrated into mainstream care,” he said.



News
1 to 12 of 7264 news stories
19 Feb 2020
Spa operator, Champneys, has come to an out of court agreement with West Sussex County Council in the UK, in relation to charges brought against it relating to food safety, the publication of nutritional information ... More
19 Feb 2020
The original Corinthia Hotel in Malta – the Corinthia Palace Hotel – has revealed further details of its new Athenaeum Spa which is scheduled to open March 2020, following a €9m (US$10m, £7.5m) year-long site-wide ... More
19 Feb 2020
ISPA has announced the addition of private coaching sessions for attendees at the upcoming ISPA Talent Symposium. Private 45-minute sessions will be available with International Coaching Federation (ICF) coaches for attendees, to help achieve both ... More
18 Feb 2020
The rapidly expanding Six Senses business, recently acquired by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in a US$300m deal, has appointed IHG veteran Bryan Gabriel as chief commercial officer (CCO). “Joining Six Senses at this time in ... More
17 Feb 2020
A self-help studio marketing itself as a "first-of-its-kind self-development wellness space" will open in the heart of London in March 2020. The House of Wisdom (HOW) will focus on empowering the mind and body through ... More
14 Feb 2020
VIE Hotel Bangkok has relaunched its spa following a four-month renovation and partnered with Thai spa brand ORGANIKA, the organic spa brand created by Thai-Danish actress, Sririta Jensen. The luxury boutique hotel is part of ... More
13 Feb 2020
Guests at Six Senses Spa at Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland can make their own bath bombs and natural cosmetics in alchemy wellbeing workshops which harness the power of natural ingredients. During the 60-minute workshop, guests will ... More
10 Feb 2020
Designer Jean-Michel Gathy has created a 3D origami-inspired feature wall for Four Seasons’ spa sanctuary in its upcoming hotel in Japan – called Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi. Dominating the spa lobby, the flowing ... More
07 Feb 2020
Luxury hotel treatment rooms generate more than double the revenue of "normal" rooms, according to consultancy firm HVS. HVS has published its annual report which tracks spa performance and profitability from 2018 to Q3 2019. ... More
07 Feb 2020
Flexology, which markets itself as "the UK’s first dedicated stretch studio", is planning to expand across London – and ultimately take the concept to a global audience. The independently-owned brand, launched by sisters Alina and Anna ... More
07 Feb 2020
The Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa, designed by Bertil Harström, Johan Krauppi and AnnKathrin Lundqvist, has opened on the Lule River near the small village of Harads in Swedish Lapland. First announced in 2017, it ... More
06 Feb 2020
Hotel group Jumeirah has launched a new Talise Spa at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. Dressed in beige and white marble, the 1,200sq m spa features 10 treatment rooms and a VIP double suite ... More
     
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Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
NEWS
Researchers explore health impacts of residential retreats
POSTED 29 Jan 2018 . BY Jane Kitchen
Professor Marc Cohen says the findings from the reviewed studies suggest there are many positive health benefits from retreat experiences
Retreat experiences can provide health benefits for people suffering conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart conditions and mental health issues, according to new research.

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.

“The findings from the reviewed studies suggest there are many positive health benefits from retreat experiences, which include improvements in both subjective and objective measures,” said Cohen.

“It's likely that improvements in health are due to a combination of psychological and behavioural factors that lead to better coping mechanisms, lifestyle choices and enhanced resilience to stress.”

The studies involved 2,592 participants from a wide range of geographical and demographic populations – from luxury resort guests to unemployed adults and even prison inmates.

Seven studies examined objective outcomes such as blood pressure or 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 after.

“The results suggest retreat experiences significantly improve people’s lives," said Cohen.

"This is evident from reported improvements in quality of life and subjective wellbeing, decreases in the frequency and severity of health symptoms, reductions in body weight, blood pressure and abdominal girth, and positive changes in metabolic and neurological pathways.”

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 up to five years after the retreat.

“The finding that retreat experiences can lead to sustained and significant health improvements long after participants return home suggests they help guests make positive lifestyle changes and adopt healthy behaviours that lead to positive psychological, physiological, cognitive, clinical and metabolic effects,” said Cohen.

“While retreat experiences can have significant medical benefits, communication between the retreat and health industry is limited and there is scope for much greater collaboration.

"The health industry could benefit from recommending retreat experiences to reduce the burden of lifestyle-related chronic disease and the retreat industry could benefit from routinely collecting medical data from guests so the medical benefits can be better documented and the influence of different types of retreat experiences can be determined for specific guests.”

Cohen said that more research is needed, with larger numbers of subjects and longer follow-up periods to determine the economic benefits of retreats for individuals, as well as for businesses, health insurers and policymakers.

“Such research could allow the retreat industry to become better integrated into mainstream care,” he said.

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MORE NEWS
Champneys settles out of court in cancer advice case
Spa operator, Champneys, has come to an out of court agreement with West Sussex County Council in the UK, in relation to 19 charges brought against it relating to food safety, the publication of nutritional information and consumer protection laws.
New spa for the original Corinthia hotel
The original Corinthia Hotel in Malta – the Corinthia Palace Hotel – has revealed further details of its new Athenaeum Spa which is scheduled to open March 2020, following a €9m (US$10m, £7.5m) year- long site-wide refurbishment.
ISPA Talent Symposium will offer professional one-on-one coaching sessions
ISPA has announced the addition of private coaching sessions for attendees at the upcoming ISPA Talent Symposium.
“Six Senses has great energy”, says Bryan Gabriel as he steps up to CCO role
The rapidly expanding Six Senses business, recently acquired by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in a US$300m deal, has appointed IHG veteran Bryan Gabriel as chief commercial officer (CCO).
House of Wisdom wellness space to open in London
A self-help studio marketing itself as a 'first-of-its-kind self-development wellness space' will open in the heart of London in March 2020.
VIE Hotel Bangkok partners with Thai-Danish celebrity Sririta Jensen
VIE Hotel Bangkok has relaunched its spa following a four-month renovation and partnered with Thai spa brand ORGANIKA, the organic spa brand created by Thai-Danish actress, Sririta Jensen.
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