Forest bathing in the Blue Mountains: De-stress, rejuvenate and heal body and mind

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8 min read
fairly difficult
What better place to unwind and restore than the Blue Mountains?
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Link The healing qualities of the fresh air and open spaces of the Blue Mountains were recognised more than a century ago. Photo: Destination NSW

A gossamer rain is falling as I walk through a temperate rainforest, its gentle percussion on my jacket accompanying the crack of whip birds and the tamborine rustle of leaves. I have been invited to stroll mindfully on this trail, observing the details of the forest; the mosaic of green in the dappled light, the coarse bark of a coachwood tree where cicada exoskeletons cling; a tangle of vines, looped like dropped stitches in Mother Nature's giant scarf.

This awakening of the senses is part of a guided Nature Therapy Walk at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah, exploring what the Japanese call shinrin-yuko, or forest bathing. Popularised during the 1980s when corporate stress was at its most destructive, this preventative health practice is designed to connect participants with the environment, unlocking the power of nature to refresh, de-stress, rejuvenate and heal body and mind.

With 1 million hectares of aromatic World Heritage-listed wilderness, what better place to unwind and restore than the Blue Mountains? The healing qualities of the fresh air and open spaces of this raised sandstone plateau on Sydney's doorstep was recognised more than a century ago, when entrepreneur Mark Foy opened Australia's first health retreat, a hydropathic resort which later became known as the Hydro Majestic.

Similarly, Katoomba's Carrington Hotel also spruiked the benefits of "taking the waters", with owner Sir James Joynton Smith modernising the hotel in the 1920s with the addition of the Carrington Baths, "..the equal of which is not to be found in the Commonwealth … constructed on the most…
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