Culture and Health

Magic Moments: Determinants of Stress Relief and Subjective Wellbeing from Visiting a Cultural Heritage Site

The test experience conducted with the Cuneo health care authority (Italy) investigated the impact of aesthetic experience in two phases and using two instruments (visiting a cultural attraction –the cupola of the Sanctuary of Vicoforte, Italy) on reducing stress (production of cortisol levels) and the increase of perceived wellbeing. A sample of 100 participants were administered a structured questionnaire on their subjective wellbeing and a saliva sample was taken to measure the level of cortisol before and after the visit. Participants reported on average a 40% increase in wellbeing and showed a 60% reduction in cortisol levels (far below the reduction normally associated with circadian rhythms) with a potential impact on the individual’s physical and mental health. The study can be accessed via payment.