Feeling Stressed? Try Eco Therapy

Last updated December 8, 2023

Why are so many stressed-out souls flocking to eco therapy retreats? Simple. They are fed up with the daily rigmarole and are taking matters in their own hands by embarking on a journey of self-care — but with a nature twist.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be all outdoorsy to be into eco therapy. Often referred to as “green therapy,” eco therapy is likened to a vacation for your mental and physical health.

Finding solace in the throngs of nature is nothing new. Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, dates back to the 1980s in Japan when studies revealed that a walk in the forest is proven to reduce stress, improve feelings of happiness, as well as lower heart rate and blood pressure. 

Healing Power of Nature

Nestled within serene landscapes, resorts and wellness centers have begun harnessing the curative powers of Mother Nature. Beyond the walls of traditional therapy rooms, these havens offer wellness programs surrounded by rustling leaves, chirping birds and the gentle caress of the wind—creating an environment where healing is as organic as the surroundings.

Eco therapy isn’t merely a trend; it’s grounded in evidence. Studies have consistently shown that regular exposure to nature can reduce stress, combat anxiety and improve mood. Moreover, connecting with the earth offers tangible physiological benefits, including lowered blood pressure and enhanced immune function.

Eco therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. From forest bathing to therapeutic gardening, the spectrum of nature-based therapies is vast. Some resorts offer guided nature walks, instilling mindfulness and presence, while others may focus on water-based therapies, harnessing the tranquility of lakes and rivers.

Top Spots for an Eco Therapy Experience

Wellness hotels and resorts are quick to embrace eco therapy these days. For instance, in the heart of Finland’s dense forests, there are retreats where the entire therapy process is intertwined with the surrounding woods. Similarly, coastal resorts in Oregon emphasize the therapeutic rhythms of the ocean, with activities ranging from guided beach meditation to aerial adventures.

We share below eight standout sanctuaries for those yearning to join this global movement and immerse themselves in eco therapy.

1. Sandos Caracol Eco Resort — Playa del Carmen, Mexico

At the heart of Sandos Caracol lies the All-Nature Experience, an immersive journey through lush ecosystems. Dive into the pristine waters of natural cenotes, traverse mangroves and uncover the mysteries of the Maya civilization. A step into their Spa del Mar realigns you with nature’s magic, letting you indulge in age-old rituals such as temazcal sessions and treatments next to cenotes.

2. Puri Dajuma Beach Eco Resort & Spa — Bali, Indonesia

Puri Dajuma offers a serene escape amidst rice fields and palm groves, offering an untouched slice of Balinese life. Delight in local traditions, from Balinese music and dance to culinary wonders. Beyond its charm, Puri Dajuma prides itself on sustainable practices and a commitment to the local community.

3. Xinalani Retreat — Quimixto, Mexico

This secluded haven, accessible only by boat, combines the allure of pristine beaches and the emerald forest. With yoga at its core, Xinalani offers a spiritual detox, complete with traditional temazcals and authentic Mexican experiences. While it champions eco-consciousness, a touch of modern luxury ensures a memorable stay.

4. Fivelements Retreat — Bali, Indonesia

Fivelements, cradled by the sacred Ayung River, is a harmonious blend of luxury and natural wonders. The spiritual retreat promises rejuvenation, drawing from ancient healing practices while ensuring a deep connection with nature, from gastronomy to accommodations.

5. Parador Nature Resort & Spa — Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Located amidst a biodiverse rainforest, Parador Resort is the gateway to both luxury and Costa Rica’s untouched beauty. Proximity to renowned beaches and Manuel Antonio National Park makes it a haven for nature enthusiasts. The blend of conservation principles with first-rate amenities ensures memories crafted with care.

6. Salishan Coastal Lodge — Gleneden Beach, Oregon

Salishan seamlessly blends nature’s tranquility with luxe amenities. Situated amidst Oregon’s pristine landscapes, this coastal lodge is a hotspot for spa indulgence, golf and nature-driven adventures. A variety of experiences from coast-to-table dining to aerial adventures awaits amidst Oregon’s beauty.

7. Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän — Rantasalmi, Finland 

Steeped in Finnish traditions, Järvisydän is a fusion of history and contemporary eco-practices. The resort, operating since 1658, offers an eco-friendly spa experience. Engage in a variety of activities from saunas to forest exploration, and if the skies permit, witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights.

8. Ahau Tulum — Tulum, Mexico

Perched on the edge of the Caribbean, Ahau Tulum celebrates the vibrancy of nature. Beyond its stunning beachfront, the resort taps into the Mayan legacy, offering a plethora of wellness and recreational activities. Dive deep into spiritual practices like temazcal or simply bask in Tulum’s captivating beauty.

Sanctuary of Healing

As society becomes increasingly entangled in the digital web, eco therapy offers a refreshing antidote — a chance to disconnect from screens and reconnect with the soul-nourishing balm of nature.

Whether it’s the rustle of leaves underfoot, the gentle lapping of waves or tending to a plant, nature provides a sanctuary of healing, waiting with open arms.

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