Take a walk in the wild to improve your wellbeing
There’s is no Wi-Fi in the forest, but you will find a better connection
Intuitively, we have always known that we feel better after a walk in nature but in the past decades there have been many scientific studies brought to our attention about how in-tune humans are with nature and the amazing healing effects a lush garden or tree canopy has on our wellbeing. You may have thought it was just aesthetically pleasing to have a lush garden, thriving pot plants or to get out of the house for a walk in the park but there is so much more to be gained from our living environment.
It’s something that I have always found fascinating and shown a great interest in learning, how nature helps to nurture us as humans, why it works and what it is about trees and plants that have such a profound effect on us. This is also the reason we designed and developed tropical gardens on our property at ikatan Spa and why we take our clients directly to the gardens for some ‘relaxation therapy’ of the nature kind after treatments.
What else happens while you’re in the forest.
Well, you breathe in phytoncides, which are the organic compounds produced by evergreen trees and research has shown them to be associated with improvements in the activity of our immune defence system. While this may seem a bit hippy trippy, hug a tree kind of activity; forest therapy is actually a thing of the past. In the mid- to late 1800s, ‘forest therapy’ was used as part of the treatment to help cure tuberculosis. Physicians set up Sanatoriums amongst the pine forests in Germany and Adirondack forests of New York and all patients of the facilities reported benefits from the forest air.
Have you heard of Shinrin-yoku?
It’s a term that means, “Taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” Developed in Japan during the 1980s it has become an important part of preventive healthcare and healing in Japanese medicine. Researchers have established scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time in a living forest and now their research is helping to establish Shinrin-Yoku and forest therapy throughout the world.
Forrest bathing as simple as taking a relaxing, mindful stroll in a place such as Noosa hinterland walking tracks or a place where you can walk under a canopy of trees for the calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be gained. Note: No power walking, no running or considering this ‘exercise’ of the burning calorie kind. But if you want to lose a few kilos, forest bathing may be just the thing to help you by lowering your cortisol levels. In a two hour guided forest bathing session with a guide you may only cover a 1 kilometre walk. That has to be a good way to slow down the busy syndrome.
Forest bathing seems to significantly help a multitude of ailments caused by excess stress. Being amongst the canopy of trees helps increased parasympathetic nervous system activity which prompts rest, conserves energy, and slows down the heart rate while increasing intestinal and gland activity and improvement of immune defences. Test results also reported to lower stress and cortisol levels, lower blood pressure, improve mood, helped with ability to focus, improve sleep and energy levels as well as increase in general happiness for people who participated in Shinrin-yoku therapy regularly.
Shinrin-Yoku group Forest Therapy.
You will find information online about how ‘Shinrin-Yoku group Forest Therapy can be more than a walk, as they also offer leisurely walks in forests with guided activities and meditations for those that want to participate. They also offer group discussions at several points along the walk, which helps participants learn from and teach other as they discuss what they are experiencing together’.
While Shinrin-Yoku may not be available where you live, it may be something you would like to experience on a trip to Japan or develop your own way of mindfully connecting in the forest by yourself or with family and friends.
Let Nature Surround You.
We encourage our day spa guest to sit and relax in our gardens before or after treatments as we know this encourages a calmer state of mind. We offer a complimentary pot of tea or glass of champagne, there’s also a wine list and local craft beer available from ikatan Spa beverage menu, because we know people will relax for longer while enjoying a drink surrounded by nature in our gardens.
Adding a little tree change, forest therapy or time in your garden or park to your life seems like the perfect health remedy, as we now know that taking a walk in the country air amongst the trees strengthens our immunity.
Take a walk or sit in the wild
Owner – ikatan Spa, Noosa