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The Magical Forest: The Curative Value of a Walk through a Forest

People who live in forests understand their healing properties. Even those who rarely connect with nature notice how fresh the air is, how cool and cleansing it can be, especially during or after a rainfall.

A walk in the forest also opens up the senses, inspires and elevates the imagination. Stress falls away to be replaced with feelings of well being and optimism, and it seems that anything is possible.

This is the magic of the forest and the reason why Leonardo Gallardo created the 'Bosque Magico' trail at Aonikenk Karho, an enchanting refugio set amid the forested mountains of Queulat National Park where he used to work as a park ranger.

Leo now offers daily, two hour guided tours of 'Bosque Magico' which include a brief meditation to bathe in the essence of the forest, to visitors and guests who wish to discover the magic of natural healing.

Relaxation At Aonikenk Karho Is A Natural Affair on the Austral Garden Route
Relaxation At Aonikenk Karho Is A Natural Affair

'Shinrin Yoku' or 'Forest bathing' is a long established tradition in Japan, prescribed by doctors and insurance companies for employees suffering stress and anxiety and wide range of other medical conditions.

Recently the concept has been introduced to Chile by CONAF, the national forestry service. Here is a brief extract from an article published by CONAF explaining the scientifically proven benefits of 'Forest bathing.'

'It can be difficult to understand that simply by breathing the air of a forest or touching a tree, can improve a persons health.

However, scientific studies have determined that forests, and especially some trees, release phytoncides (volatile compounds that protect trees from bacteria, insects and fungi).

These volatile compounds penetrate through the lungs and skin of people, killing and inhibiting the development of pathogenic microbes, and increasing the number and activity of defensive human cells that protect against infectious diseases. In addition, they actively participate in the metabolism and have a positive effect on the human brain. Normalize heart rate and blood pressure; reduce levels of stress hormones and markers of anxiety, anger, fatigue and confusion, significantly improving people's health'...

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