Embracing the healing qualities of nature is part of who we are. Our brains are hardwired to absorb and be nourished by the beauty of the natural world, and channelling this beauty has long been a part of many alpine resorts.
If we think of wellness as a balance of emotional, physical and spiritual well-being, then it makes perfect sense that the mountains are the ideal place to discover well-being all year round. Think about the exhilaration of that favourite run, or the pure pleasure of relaxing in a hot tub as you watch the sun set over the slopes. Social needs are met too of course, either in the form of lively apres ski or a chilled out meal with those closest to you. This is what makes winter in the mountains so special, but what about those of us who prefer a gentler way to heal body and mind? Could a dual season resort offer alternative ways to experience that unique peace you can only find in the mountains?
More to the mountain wellness than luxury spas
It’s tempting to think of wellness as just being about luxury spas and sweet scented treatments inspired by mountain herbs. Spas have a well deserved place in the wellness repertoire, and many resorts are home to some of the most cherished spas in the world. Other ways of embracing the elements are making their way into mountain wellness culture though, and one of the most accessible is forest bathing.
What is forest bathing?
Many mountain activities are goal oriented - being fastest, beating our best time, tackling that run that tests our limits. This is exhilarating but in a world that can be entirely built around this type of achievement, time in the mountains can become an extension of stress filled lives.
Forest bathing is the opposite of all these things. It draws from the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, and can be described as the simple act of making contact with the forest. It’s a cross between guided meditation, beautiful walking and the simple act of slowing down, paying attention to what is around us. Participants will walk slowly through the forest, at a moderate pace before stopping to meditate on the beauty of the trees, the intricacies of the forest.
Forest bathing is thought to reduce anxiety and stress, and perhaps even have other health benefits such a reducing blood pressure. It’s a great alternative to traditional summer activities like mountain biking and challenging hikes and a perfect way to step back from the challenges of every day life.
Which dual season resorts are good for forest bathing?
This is a new way of connecting to the mountains and there are more and more alpine resorts offering this type of wellness experience. Whilst there’s an argument that you can simply take a walk in the forest and get the same benefits, choosing a guided experience will help you keep your mind focussed and elevate a simple walk in the woods to another level.
Forest bathing in Andorra
You might expect the home to the Ordino Biosphere to have a strong understanding of the healing power of nature and you’d be absolutely right. This unique principality offers an astonishing array of treatments and experiences that are designed to rebuild our connection with the natural world, and with ourselves. Add in impossibly pretty villages to explore as well as top quality golf and beautiful hiking trails and it’s clear why Andorra is a superb dual season resort.
Forest bathing in Italy
San Constantino in the beautiful Alpe di Siusi region of Italy is another alpine haven for new ways to enjoy the mountains. Designed to be a multi sensory experience, forest bathing on the shores of San Constantino lake is a beautiful way to reconnect with nature. It’s a great alternative to the numerous high energy activities like climbing and mountain bike trails that summers in the region are famous for.
Forest bathing in Austria
Austria is synonymous with health and wellness, so it’s no surprise that they have embraced this new way to soothe body and soul. There are several places in Austria that offer forest bathing, including the beautiful maple forests of Karwendel and Bregenzerwald Forest in Vorarlberg. Add in the fact that these landscapes are inspiration for some of the greatest cultural figures in history, and Austria becomes the perfect place to nourish body, mind and spirit.
Discover your ideal dual season resort
If you’re inspired to find a place in the mountains that is a real retreat all year round then SnowOnly can help. We’re a dedicated mountain property portal so you can discover the perfect dual season resort without trawling countless websites. Our customisable property alert service means you can tailor your search and to receive up to the minute details of options for your ideal mountain home.