Ancient forests and champagne air. One of the purest pockets of virgin forest on the planet. Inhale the energy and soak up the life force. Know that you are home.
The faster life becomes, and the more people are cut off from nature in their daily lives, the more they crave a connection with what is real, pure and wholesome. Eminent biologist and author Edward O. Wilson coined the term ‘Biophilia’ which means ‘an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world’ – or more simply, a love of nature. It’s not a choice – humans are naturally, inexorably, drawn to their roots. And never more so than in the midst of a global health crisis that has rocked our foundations and shown us how tenuous our control over the world really is.
Now is the time when people need the healing embrace of nature. At the end of the day, we all need balance and calm. Instinctively, we recognise the places where we are safe, nurtured and healed. Our wild and natural forests are these places. It’s a fact – trees make you happier! Is there anyone, anywhere, who does not love a tree?
The practice of ‘forest bathing’ – a term popularised by the Japanese (who call it shinrin-yoku) for a practice undertaken by many for millennia – is gaining universal appeal. And for good reason. The health benefits of immersing oneself in the embrace of the green space, breathing the freshest air and listening to the heartbeat of trees, is now a matter of scientific fact. Japan currently has over 60 officially designated forest bathing sites and research has proven what nature-lovers have always known.
Trees exude antimicrobial properties (phytoncides) that protect themselves from germs and have a host of health benefits for people too. The oils boost mood and immune system function; reduce blood pressure, heart rate, stress, anxiety, and confusion; improve sleep and creativity; and may even help fight cancer and depression. These and other impressive benefits of forest medicine are catalogued by physician Qing Li, chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine. “Shinrin yoku is like a bridge…between us and the natural world…We may not travel very far, but in connecting us with nature, it takes us all the way home to our true selves,” Li writes.
In the USA, forest bathing is a recognised form of therapy available to anyone who ventures into a natural space, even for a short while. Dr Amos Clifford, author of a book on the subject, writes: “Forest bathing resets our nervous systems. It does so quickly and effectively. It is as if we have come home—because we have.”
For Bellevue Forest Reserve owner Loodt Buchner, the uniquely situated property evokes a feeling of deep spiritual connection: “Our forest touches your heart. Here, we feel the hand of God, the beauty of His creation, the tonic of the wilderness. Fall in love with the trees. Find your spiritual connection.”
Wherever your path in life is leading you, whatever your personal beliefs – know that the forest is our most ancient and elemental sanctuary.
Bellevue, with its majestic, multi-layered trees and foliage, is that sanctuary. And we are passionately leading the way in developing South Africa’s own recognised forest experiences to enable our guests to thrive in her embrace.
Let us show you our green heart so that it can resonate with your own.
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