An experiment to quantify the physiological and psychological changes to people following a holiday is being conducted by Kuoni.
The operator has teamed up with healthcare charity Nuffield Health for the ‘holiday health experiment’.
Consumers will be encouraged to enter over three months to June by visiting www.kuoni.co.uk/holidayhealthexperiment where they will be asked to complete a survey which looks at their health and holiday habits.
A final selection of six people will be shortlisted to undergo a series of clinical tests and discussion sessions with a psychotherapist, before, during and after going on a Kuoni holiday this summer.
The experiment will look at the effects ‘everyday life’ has on the body and mind and then compare the data with how different types of travel and holiday experiences influence mental and physical well-being.
Each person will wear a small ECG monitor for three days and nights before, during, and after the holiday and will undergo a series of one-to-one counselling sessions to look at stress, anxiety, mood, libido and all aspects of mental health in everyday life and across a holiday period. Each individual will also be asked to keep a ‘mood’ diary.
They will ether take a luxury beach holiday, an adventurous volunteering break or a long-haul trip.
They will be re-tested on their return and the data will be compared with the ‘pre-holiday’ clinical data to identify any changes. The results of the experiment will be provided in the autumn.
A ‘control group’ of six further people with similar ages and lifestyles to the six selected to go on the holiday will also undergo the clinical tests and discussion sessions so that further comparisons can be made when looking at the immediate and longer term impact of a holiday.
Kuoni managing director Derek Jones said: “Anecdotally, we regularly hear from our customers about how restorative or life-changing a holiday can be.
“Our 2009/10 research showed us that 54% of the public take major life-changing decisions and act on them after a holiday.
“There is something about getting away from everyday life that helps us all think in a different way about our lives. We also know how refreshed people can look and feel after even a short break.
“We now want to tap into science to pick this apart and understand the mental and physiological changes we go through when away from the stresses of our everyday life.”
Nuffield Health professional head of physiology Chris Jones said: “On a day-to-day basis, our bodies give us many often subtle physical signals for stress or tiredness that may be caused by our busy modern lives and we all intuitively know that a holiday can help us re-charge our batteries.
“This small, exciting case study experiment will give us an interesting insight into how different types of holidays may impact on a person’s general health and wellbeing.
“I am looking forward to analysing the data from this unique experiment which will hopefully focus people’s minds on the importance of managing everyday stress and worries – perhaps from work, and ensure time is built into their busy lives to improve their wellbeing.”
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