Tag Archives: trees

Silvotherapy – the art of Tree Hugging in Italy

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Hugging a tree could seriously improve the quality of your life as demonstrated by a new package offered by Adler Dolomiti’s “Yoga & The Healing Power of Trees”

This three-night half-board package includes two sessions of outdoor yoga amid the natural beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Italian Dolomites that will help to re-charge guests’ batteries, while helping to establish inner harmony and peace. During the walk guests will be introduced to the theory of silvotherapy (the art of healing the body by harnessing the energy of the trees). It also includes access to the hotel’s spa and wellness programmes. This is available for one weekend only, from 21 to 24 September.  To book this unique package, visit:www.adler-resorts.com/en

Adler Dolomiti is accessible by flying to either Innsbruck or Verona, then to Ortisei by private transfer, rail or airport coach.

In the early 1980s, Japanese scientists discovered that simply inhaling the aromas produced by trees could immunise the body against disease. Phytonicides, which trees emit to protect themselves from harmful insects and germs, have strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities when inhaled by humans. American medical research has also proved that just being among trees is good for well-being, with stress levels and blood pressure lowered within three minutes of being in a green space.

Touching, stroking, leaning on and, above all, hugging a tree is beneficial to your health, with individual tree species having different effects on people. Among the trees that are prevalent in the Dolomites, beech improves concentration and well-being, will help ease a sore throat and improves kidney function, while pine is good for the respiratory system, helps to treat depression and restores balance, while reducing fatigue.

Many pharmaceuticals are derived from trees: aspirin comes from willow bark and Pycnogenol, which protects against deep vein thrombosis, is made from pine tree bark.

The Medicine of the Forest

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Walking on stones, smelling the trees, lying on log beds and gazing at leaves- this is Shinrinyoku, meaning “forest bathing”, a medicine derived from simply being in the forest.

The concept was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

With many forests coating a green landscape, walking tours in designated forests are popular in Japan. And with the growth in healthier lifestyle attitudes and natural therapies, Shinrin-yoku has taken root with walking tours for groups led by specialist forest therapists. These tread along ancient pilgrim routes such as the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama, home to the Kumano Kodo and its network of Unesco-protected pilgrim routes dating back thousands of years.

Forest Bathing involves gazing at trees, deep green breathing, mindful walks through lush green valleys, listening to birdsong and the appreciation of the beauty of a wild flower. This sensory immersion in a natural healing environment promises mental and physical rejuvenation.

Researchers, primarily in Japan and South Korea, have conducted studies on the health benefits of spending time amongst the trees, demonstrating that forest bathing positively creates calming neuro-psychological effects through changes in the nervous system, reducing the stress hormone cortisol and boosting the immune system.

Japan is also renowned for other natural therapies:

Hot spring bathing in a natural hot spring onsen in Japan. Here it is the tradition to bathe naked in these popular springs. Japan is home to 10% of the worlds active volcanos

Rui-katsu (tear seeking) involves groups of people watching sad movies and crying together to release stress.

Moss Meditation (philosophical meditation) involves staring at green moss for positive mantras.

Alternatively, closer to home in the UK, the New Forest is following the same path. From your base in a luxury forest cabin or tree house you can sample this ancient art of re-connecting with nature.

Forest Bathing sessions will start in September 2017, http://www.forestholidays.co.uk/things-todo

Or you can practice Shinrin-Yoku in your local park. Here are a few tips to help you bathe in the forest…..

If you have to take your phone, put it on silent and hide it in a pocket – you need to be completely present in the moment.

Wear low shoes or preferably bare feet to feel “at one” with the earth – you will be more aware of the earth and nature beneath you.

Walk aimlessly, don’t plan your journey – this will help to empty your mind and appreciate what’s around you.

Don’t rush, use all your senses – breathe slowly, notice the aromas around you,  the colours, shapes of leaves, flowers and trees. Look and see in all directions, hear the sounds. Pause to hear your heart beat and feel at peace.  Enjoy!

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