The healing power of nature
ead on to discover how even a brief stay in nature can help you feel better – and what My SachaJi does to maximize these benefits.
- Clear your mind and recharge your batteries
A walk of just 90 minutes in nature can have a huge impact on your mental health according to a study by the National Academy of Sciences. The study found that a stroll in a countryside setting can reduce the flow of blood to the subgenual prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain responsible for anxiety and sadness. Once you’ve let go of worry you effectively press the “reset” button on your mind, leaving youready for new challenges.
How it works at My SachaJi: Take a guided walk along the paths threading up the hill behind the ecolodge, taking in stunning views of the lake and the fields below, once farmed by the Incas. Your guide will explain to you the local folklore, and point out interesting plants along the way.
- Become more creative
Getting into nature is never more important than when you’restuck in a rut. Studies suggest that a stay of four days in nature can help to free up your creative potential and make you more adept at problem solving. What’s more, with the calories you burn – 400-700 per hour during a walk – you help your mind by increasing your capacity to retain information which can help prevent dementia.
How it works at My SachaJi: Ready for a challenge? Rise at dawn and climb the mighty Imbabura volcano. It’s a tough ascent, but the view and sense and satisfactionyou’ll achieve at the top is hard to beat.
- Lower blood pressure
One of the sensations that you’re likely to encounter when you ditch the city for the countryside is relief: a mental and physical unwinding. Experts at University of Queensland say that with just 30 minutes’ contact with nature a week you can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
How it works at My SachaJi: There are myriad ways in which to experience natural relaxation with us. How about a sunset session in the Jacuzzi, taking in the views of the lake and volcano, or even just settle in a hammock on one of our green roofs.
- Clear air purifies lungs
It’s no secret that pollution in cities is responsible for all sorts of respiratory conditions and can even cause lung cancer and strokes. But some of this damage can be reversed by a stint in nature. By filling your lungs with crystal clear mountain air, rich in oxygen produced by trees and plants during photosynthesis, you can cleanse your respiratory system and breathe easy again.
How it works at My SachaJi: We can help you to make the most of our fantastic mountain air by teaching you to breathe deeply and effectively in our yoga class. No experience is necessary and each session is tailored to the individual.
- Soil microbes are a natural depression cure
Mud, dirt, earth, soil: whatever you call it, the microbes found within it have a very special property. Besides giving plants the nutrients to grow, soil has been linked helping to cure depression. Natural antidepressant mycobacterium vaccae has been found by some researchers to have the same effect on neurons as drugs like Prozac and can encourage serotonin production to make you happier.
How it works at My SachaJi: Sign up for our giving back program which sees volunteers digging herb gardens with the local community, often working in bare feet to heighten their contact with the earth. Or, you can take part in a Pachamanga – an Andean cooking ceremony in which participants harvest the ingredients, cook them on hot stones underground, and eat together as a community.
- Waterfalls can boost your mood
Ever wondered why waterfalls make you feel so uplifted? It’s the negative ions created by the pounding of water against another surface, which improve your sense of well-being, lift your energy, and can even lower blood pressure.
How it works at My SachaJi: Take a daytrip from the ecolodge to the Peguche Waterfall, a cascade 30 metres high and six metres wide that is easily accessible via a path. Locals visit the waterfall during the summer solstice Inti Raymi celebration for a purification ceremony.