Medical Assessment of the Health Effects of Short Leisure Trips

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ABSTRACT.Using responses to questionnaires and results of saliva samples from 40 women, the authors assessed the effects on health of participation in a short leisure trip (2 nights, 3 d) to Kyushu Island in Japan. They addressed transportation, sightseeing, and group activities during the tour, which might differ from participants' usual activities. Levels of the salivary endocrinological stress markers cortisol and chromogranin A (CgA) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In each of the groups with characteristics considered healthy and related to lifestyle, patterns of behavior, perceived stressors, and stress reactions, a decrease in the cortisol levels and an increase in the CgA levels were apparent during the tour. The baseline for stress hormone changes was the levels on awakening on Day 1 (i.e., immediately before the tour). These findings suggest that even short periods of travel can bring about a reduction in di-stress and acquisition of eu-stress, experienced as feeling uplifted or fulfilled.

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