This latest piece of scientific research shows that the Bodhimaya Retreat Method has a direct and long-term affect on physical and emotional wellbeing. The new study shows that a six day retreat with an anti-inflammatory diet, yoga and meditation has a significant physiological affect on the mind and body.
"It's intuitive that taking a vacation reduces biological processes related to stress, but it was still impressive to see the large changes in gene expression from being away from the busy pace of life, in a relaxing environment, in such a short period of time."" said psychiatrist Elissa S. Epel from the University of California
The study looked at 94 healthy women aged between 30 and 60 to take part in a six-day retreat in California.
The researchers took blood samples from all of the women before and after the retreat. They examined over 20,000 genes to look for changes in gene expression caused by the retreat. Researchers also asked the women to give details of their emotional wellbeing, they asked again one month and ten months after the retreat.
They asked some of the women just to take the time to relax and relax, another group to embark on a meditation programme for the first time and another group of experienced meditators to do the meditation programme throughout their stay . All three groups showed significant improvements in stress levels and the functioning of the immune system. "We found a suppression of stress-related responses and immune function related to acute-phase wound healing and inflammation. We also identified a 'meditation effect' within the meditator group, characterised by a distinct network of genes with cellular functions that may be relevant to healthy ageing, this network was associated with increased expression of a number of telomere maintenance pathway genes and an increase in measured telomerase enzymatic activity." Translational Psychiatry.
This is great news for those of you looking for the anti-ageing and disease prevention benefits of a retreat, because telomeres play a crucial role in the ageing process and in the development of disease. "Telomere length predicts both cellular health and disease. Shorter telomeres predict onset of the cardiometabolic diseases of aging. Chronic stress is associated with higher inflammation, shorter telomeres, and lower activity levels of telomerase" Translational Psychiatry.
Post-retreat surveys also showed that all participants reported feelings of increased wellbeing even a month after the retreat. The biggest effect was seen by those who took part in the meditation programme; especially the inexperienced meditators, who showed a reduction in their depression and stress scores, even up to 10 months after the retreat.
The findings show that a retreat can have an incredible impact on your health and wellbeing, so make sure your next holiday is one that involves lots of green juices and meditation, instead of wine and late nights.
You can experience the benefits of the retreat process yourself on a Bodhimaya Retreat; our highly targeted programmes are designed to unleash the full restorative potential of the retreat experience.