Book

Forest baths

Connecting with nature through the five senses. You will experience the pleasure of disconnecting and relaxing

 

 

Index

  • Introduction
  • What are forest baths?
  • Recommendations for an unforgettable experience
  • Special places in Menorca for forest baths:
    • Barranc d’Algendar
    • Camí Reial
    • Encina de “S’Alqueria Blanca”
    • Parque Natural de S’Albufera des Grau

 

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Introduction​

In an island Biosphere Reserve like Minorca, and with an area of approximately 300 square meters of forest and in a culture where every tree has a meaning and a utility, the connection with nature is a philosophy of life. In Japan there are more than two million people who perform "Shinrin Yoku", an ancient practice that literally means "forest baths" and that, nowadays, is already spreading to other countries. Because in addition to a philosophy, the health benefits have been scientifically proven and are prescribed from the health systems: it stimulates the immune system, reduces stress, blood pressure, increases concentration, improves mood, self-esteem...

 

nullIsabel Martín (our guide)

 

What are forest baths?​

It is a contemplative practice that stimulates all the senses to experience the benefits of natural spaces and contact with trees. It is neither a hiking activity nor does it aim to discover the forest as a natural environment, but to establish a connection with it.

These walks in the forest, when they are an organised activity, last an average of about two hours and cover about two kilometres along little-travelled routes where circularity is sought. It is also preferable that the terrain is not uneven, that it is safe and not too ambushed, as well as diverse environments and, much better, if there are water sources. The ideal way to get started is to do it accompanied by an accredited guide, but then you can also do it individually and on your own.

In our Hotel Rural Morvedra Nou, we have the collaboration of Isabel Martín, a trained guide with long experience guiding people through the natural environments of Menorca so that they can feel the benefits and goodness of contact with nature.

A bath in the forest is a different experience for each person. It is an individual experience where everyone does what they feel to connect, sitting next to a tree, touching a stone, caressing a leaf, standing still and breathing... It is about feeling oneself, getting the most natural side and forgetting about problems, mobiles and the frenetic rhythm of everyday life.

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Recommendations for an unforgettable experience​

Experiencing a "forest bath" is different for each person, nobody lives it the same way, but despite being an "individual" activity we have a series of recommendations that will make the experience more pleasant. Surely there are many more, as many as there are people in the world, but we believe that these will help and guide you in your direct contact with Mother Nature:

  • Introduce yourself to the natural space in a way that is comfortable for you, that is fun, that gives you pleasure, or in a way that you would never do in front of another person
  • Find a place to sit in the park or in the woods. One that is comfortable for you to go to every day or at least a couple of times a week.
  • Awaken your senses. With your eyes closed, notice how your body moves slowly, balance it and feel its gravity and acceleration, how the air enters your body when you breathe; notice how nature, the wind, the sun, interact with your skin; listen to the sounds paying attention to those far away and also to those closer; smell the air you are breathing and notice what smell attracts you from the beings around you; taste the air from the wild fruits and leaves; open your eyes and observe the life around you and its colours; let yourself go...
  • Come into contact with the earth, walk barefoot. With your feet, play with the grass, with the earth or with the mud. Walk on the trunk of a tree.
  • Walk in silence exploring the forest. Maybe you can make a map with the different paths, with different elements that are in the space.
  • Thank the forest for each gift it offers you, in the way that seems most appropriate.
  • Write a diary in which you write down the things you discover in the forest, the things you notice in the forest, that you feel in the forest, and how they all reflect on you.
  • Draw in nature. Take a drawing pad and some colours with you, draw plants, animals, landscapes and dreams realistically or abstractly.
  • Start the story of your walks. Collect natural objects that attract your attention and take them home. Find a place to put them.
  • Create your own connection...

 

Special places in Menorca to do "forest baths​"

 

Barranc d’Algendar

There are many alternatives that our territory offers to enjoy a privileged natural environment, but without a doubt, one of the most attractive proposals is to undertake an excursion through the territory occupied by the Barranc d'Algendar. For such a privileged extension, ancient paths and tracks run alongside the eternal murmur of the water, where intense aromas intertwine to flood the air with seductive fragrances. Hidden under a thick blanket of vegetation are the remains of distant cultures and lost civilizations that evoke a remote past, while an atmosphere of old stories and ancient legends resonate among the high cliffs that we propose to enter today. A mixture of aromas, sensations and evocations that will awaken our five senses while we carry out the "forest bath" activity.

The Barranc d'Algendar starts a few kilometres from the town of Ferreries, on the Santa Magdalena mountain, and continues southwards to Cala Galdana where its stream flows.

nullBarranc d'Algendar (Ferreries)

 

Camí Reial

Located in the municipality of Ferreries and specifically at the beginning of the Cala Galdana road, this is an old road that crossed Minorca from side to side and it is believed that it could have its origins in Roman times. Today, a group of volunteers are in charge of maintaining the road in good condition.

The vegetation in this part of the road is lush and very lively, wild olive trees, fig trees, bushes, murta and from time to time we pass through cultivated areas in the Algendaret ravine. The road continues for a few kilometres until you reach the well-known na Salema slope, which takes you up to the paved Algendaret road.

This natural area of Minorca is especially beautiful in spring when the island is in full bloom and our senses are more awake than ever to be able to enjoy the "forest bath" experience to the full.

nullCamí Reial (Ferreries)

 

Encina de S’Alqueria Blanca

This experience will provide us with the satisfaction of being able to contemplate and connect with one of the most impressive trees on the island, a grandiose oak that is estimated to be between 600 and 700 years old and was catalogued as a "Singular Tree" by the Balearic Government in 1992. This magnificent specimen of holm oak is located within the estate known as "S'Alqueria Blanca", one of the places in Minorca that best preserves the traditions and rural style of Minorca", situated on the road to Ets Alocs, in the centre of the island. Once there, we will descend a short path, full of vegetation and soon we will have in front of us the giant tree. It is an impressive sight, with a very thick trunk and about 40 metres long from branch to branch.

Once we have finished the "forest bath" experience, there is nothing better than having lunch right next to the majestic tree, where there is an area fitted out with stone chairs and tables that blend in perfectly with the wooded surroundings. Here you can rest and meditate under the shade provided by the enormous branches of this unique tree.

 

nullThe holm oak of S'Alqueria Blanca, declared a "Singular Tree" by the Balearic Government​

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