Using Science to De-stress Your Vacation


This story is part of a new Yahoo Travel series, #StressFreeTravel, dedicated to making travel better in every way possible.

Located on the northwest tip of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, the BodyHoliday is an all-inclusive beachside resort that offers a blend of activity and relaxation. Unlike most vacation destinations, this one can include numerous screening tests and consultations with health professionals.

Their motto is:

“Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.”

Their new BodyScience program gathers detailed information about participants’ health status to create a more personalized improvement experience. While some of the testing does not have strong evidence in medical literature, the feedback I received there allowed me to consider my exposure to certain health risks and make lifestyle changes to improve my well-being.

Related: 9 Ways Flying Is Doing Serious Damage to Your Health



The BodyHoliday experience is set on four key pillars – relaxation, restorative beauty, exercise, and good diet. The resort stretches along a private beach, allowing guests to view the ocean from bedrooms, restaurants, fitness classes, and the swimming pool. You will not forget that warm sand is near. Group activities scheduled throughout the day include spin class, salsa dancing, kayaking, and Shanti yoga. The wellness center offers traditional and Ayurvedic treatments.

Related: A Sweaty Look at Luxury Health-Fitness Retreats


Launched in December, BodyScience was created to provide a more personalized program for guests. Mahalingham Lakshmanan, a doctor of naturopathy and Ayurveda and the program’s wellness leader, describes BodyScience as “East meets West.” Western diagnostics are used to assess participants overall health status; Eastern treatments, which focus on lifestyle changes as opposed to medications, are prescribed to improve long-term health. Participants choose from the following options: de-stress, detox, fitness, digestive health, healthy aging, and weight management.

I chose de-stress, which uses “scientific laboratory tests to discover the body’s stress status at a physiological level.” The blood and urine tests, which I mailed in prior to my visit, told me that my cortistol, known as the “stress hormone,” is marginally high in the evening, and my melatonin, which helps to regulate sleep and wake cycles, is low.

Related: 3 Ways to Beat Mindless Munching on the Go

Additional testing included:

- Electro-Interstitial Scan (EIS): EIS measures resistance to the flow of electric current through interstitial fluid, the fluid between your body’s cells. My hands and feet were placed on sensors and two electrodes were attached to my forehead. EIS has been studied for its use in measuring body composition and for some select conditions. The BodyScience program used it as a general screening test, with instruction to follow up with my primary-care doctor to seek additional testing based on the results.


- Iridology: Developed more than 100 years ago, iridology is the diagnosis of medical conditions by studying pigmentation in the iris. It is not a common practice in the U.S., and many studies fail to find any benefit from its use. My testing noted irregularities in my lymph nodes and skin of the upper back, though the results do not provide more specific information about the issues.


- Bio Clip Plus: This test used a finger clip to monitor heart rate, blood- oxygenation levels, large-artery stiffness, and vascular tone of the small arteries. The results estimated my vascular age. I wish I could find more evidence about it’s reliability because it told me that my vascular age is 20. I am 31. I prefer to believe I am 20.

The Treatment

My personalized treatment plan included dietary changes, yoga, meditation, and relaxation.

- Diet: Our meals consisted largely of fruits and vegetables and included no refined sugar, meat, alcohol, or caffeine. The food was beautifully presented, flavorful, and satisfying.


Grapefruit with honey, ginger, and cardamom; green juice.


Angel hair pasta in pumpkin sauce; chickpeas with Italian herbs and red wine.

- Yoga and meditation: In the treehouse exercise room, my instructor Sam led me through a personal yoga session and chakra meditation.

- Relaxation: A Swe-Thai massage made me aware that sitting in front of a computer all day is not great for my back. “Your body has a memory,” the masseuse told me. The Ayurvedic treatment called Shirodhara involved gently pouring warm oil over my forehead. It is thought to improve memory, concentration, and sleep. I slept well that night, and the oil that had dripped into my hair left it silky-smooth.

The BodyHoliday is a beautiful destination. You can fill your day with activities or just relax on the beach with an tiny umbrella in your glass. I appreciate the concept of the BodyScience program and its focus on lifestyle changes. Based on the lack of evidence, though, it is unlikely that I will seek follow-up iridology or EIS testing, as the results are not reliable and I fear they may lead to unnecessary anxiety. However, I left feeling relaxed and recharged with a plan to attend weekly yoga back in Boston, a list of superfoods to add to my grocery list, and a sense of determination to better my health.

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