Ecotherapy: How Destination Spas Help Nurture With Nature and Allow a Much Needed Reset in Today's Landscape
By Andrew Barnard Chief Executive Officer, Sunswept Resorts | July 2023
Exposure to nature has long been linked to a slew of benefits: lower stress, improved cognitive function, uplifted mood – and according to the American Psychological Association, even upticks in empathy and cooperation.
But the more we connect to our screens – laptops, phones and other devices, the more disconnected we become from Mother Nature and the more our technology-fueled lives take a toll on our bodies and our minds.
It is estimated that two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities or other urban environments by 2050, thereby increasing the anxiety, distress - and oftentimes depression – linked to the digital world. Burnout is a thing and these stats only prove it is going to get much worse.
A rising trend in the wellness sphere to offset this is ecotherapy or nature therapy: the practice of being in nature to boost healing, especially mental health. In other words: bring elements of the outside world in as much as possible. Whether that be opening your New York City apartment window as wide as you can to let fresh air in, gardening and getting dirt under your fingernails, hiking, swimming in the sea – or even taking part in psychedelic plant medicine, the concept is rooted in returning back to the natural world. Our psyches do not want to be isolated from our environments – it's about integrated balance with personal well-being linked to planetary well-being. It's an ecosystem.
One of the 12 trends for 2023, as reported by The Global Wellness Summit, is "sensory wellness," with the integration of light, scent, temperature, touch and sound. Being immersed in nature has all of these touchpoints because you are connecting to the environment and the earth itself is flooding all your senses. The light can shine in your eyes on a sunny day, you can take a walk in the park and touch and smell the grass, hear the leaves rustling. Take your shoes off and walk.