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Benefit of Retreats

Posted 9/23/2016

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  The timing of this article (thank you, Barbara!) is absolutely perfect. If you are a regular reader, you know that I am just back from a truly wonderful three day retreat in New Hampshire. We talked endlessly, ate delicious food almost as endlessly, relaxed, meditated, yogaed (don't think that is a word), and healed.

  This kind of break is somewhat different from a more regular vacation. And vacations in general, I think, come in two types. There are trips that can be fabulous adventures, including museums and many activities, but you often come home exhausted. And then there are vacations that involve swinging in hammocks and reading on the beach, and you come home restored. I like both kinds.

  Years ago, a beloved colleague warned me not to try to hold on to the good vacation feelings. His belief was that the demands of work immediately beat the good feelings out of you, and that trying to sustain them just added a layer of frustration. For me, that has been mostly true, but coming back from Wonderwell is different. I am carrying some of the bliss and will hope to sustain it.

  From Science Daily: 

Systems biology research study reveals benefits of vacation, meditation

A resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress, say researchers.
A resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress, say researchers.
Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School used a rigorous study design to assess the biological impact of meditation compared to vacation. They examined the effect of meditation on gene expression patterns in both novice and regular meditators. The researchers found that a resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on
molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short- term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress. A meditation retreat, for those who already used meditation regularly, was associated with molecular networks characterized by antiviral activity. The molecular signature of long-term meditators was distinct from the non-meditating vacationers. The study was published in Springer Nature's journal Translational Psychiatry.
The study involved 94 healthy women, aged 30-60. Sixty-four women were recruited who were not regular meditators. Participants stayed at the same resort in California for six days, and randomized so that half were simply on vacation while the other half joined a meditation training program run by the Chopra Center for Well Being. The meditation program included training in mantra meditation, yoga, and self reflection exercises. It was designed by Deepak Chopra, MD, who did not participate in data collection or analysis.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160830091815.html


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