MADRID, June 26 (EUROPA PRESS) –
You’ve always heard of music therapy and art therapy, but what about “travel therapy”? A new interdisciplinary document from Edith Cowan University (USA) proposes to look at tourism not just as a leisure experience, but as an industry that can offer real health benefits.
This study, published in the journal Tourism Management, concluded that many aspects of vacationing could have a positive impact on people with mental illness or problems.
“Medical professionals may recommend dementia treatments such as music therapy, exercise, cognitive stimulation, reminiscence therapy, sensory stimulation, and adjustments to the patient’s meals and environment. All of this is also often found when you’re on vacation,” explains the study’s lead researcher, Jun Wen.
HOLIDAY FUN…OR TREATMENT?
The diverse nature of tourism means there are many opportunities to incorporate treatments for conditions such as dementia. For example, being in a new environment and new experiences could provide cognitive and sensory stimulation.
“Exercise has been linked to mental well-being, and travel often requires more physical activity to positively influence the eating behaviors of those with dementia. Add to that basic elements like fresh air and sunshine, which increase vitamin D and serotonin levels,” says Dr. Wen.
The impact of COVID-19 on travel in recent years has raised questions about the value of tourism beyond lifestyle and economic factors. “Tourism has been found to increase physical and mental well-being. So, post COVID-19, it is a good time to explore the importance of tourism in public health, not only for healthy tourists but also for vulnerable groups,” points from the thesis leader.
Now hopes Dr. Wen that a new line of research will be launched to study how tourism can improve the lives of people with various medical conditions. “We are trying to do something new to bridge the gap between tourism and health science. More empirical research and testing needs to be done to see if tourism can become one of the medical interventions for various diseases like dementia or depression .” Therefore, tourism is not just about traveling and having fun, we need to rethink the role that tourism plays in modern society,” he concluded.