What is good health? What is wellness? And how do we achieve it?
To answer these questions, it is useful to examine the ways cultures—especially indigenous cultures—have sustained themselves throughout time. Native peoples of the Americas teach the interconnectedness of all Beings and all Elements in Nature. The everyday ways we relate to these Beings and Elements—the earth, water, animals and plants—has great impact on our health and wellbeing. For thousands of years, indigenous peoples have employed the practical wisdom of living with the cyclical rhythms of nature, honoring changes of the seasons, and purifying their bodies with rituals such as smudging with sage and sweat lodges, and taking in medicinal herbs and nourishing foods. In fact, being and staying WELL are crucial to our very survival as a species.
But in our modern lives, especially in urban areas, many of us are disconnected from nature during our days, spending hours inside our houses (even more so now with viral threats), often interacting only with mechanical devices. There is now an actual term for this phenomenon; it’s called “nature deficit disorder, and Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle (2012), says that nature-deficit disorder affects “health, spiritual wellbeing, and many other areas, including people’s ability to feel ultimately alive” (Louv, 2013; Bratman, 2012). And when we ignore the environment, we become less conscious of taking care of it. If our well-being depends on interconnection with nature, it is no wonder that 8% of the US population…over 17 million people…are clinically anxious or depressed.
In 1982, Japan created the term and practice of “Shinrin-yoku,” which literally means “forest bathing,” and encouraged the Japanese people to frequent the woods. Studies show that spending time in nature has a direct, positive impact on wellbeing, enhancing feel-good hormones and improving healing time, depression, and many other problems including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
When people come to Costa Rica, and to AmaTierra’s 7-acre jungle property, they notice the healing energy present here. Sitting by the pool they feel the fresh, clean breezes, watch birds frolic in the mango trees, hear the whirring of the cicadas at sunset. From the yoga pavilion they gaze out over a magnificent mountain landscape. Guests say “Wow, the energy is really great here.” And though we have healing therapies–massage, exfoliation scrubs, herbal consultations, detox programs—the real healing comes from being immersed in nature. The vibrant jungle re-sets our bodies, reconnects us with the natural rhythms of life, and helps us feel alive again.
We hope you will come to our holistic health center and experience the wonder of nature once again. Feel for yourself what wellness is, enjoy our nutritious food, much of it grown in our organic gardens. Walk our trails and treat your body to gentle yoga and your mind to daily meditation practice. Give yourself some time to relax and immerse in things that give you good health. Until then, please find time every day to notice a tree or a squirrel outside your window, take a walk in nature, find a way to connect. Your well-being depends on it!
For more information about our Wellness in Nature Vacation Packages see this link: https://www.amatierra.com/costarica-rates-vacation-packages/
We are also currently offering 2 and 4 week vacation stays. See them here: https://www.amatierra.com/monthly-rentals-of-amatierra-casitas/
Jill Ruttenberg, RH, Co-Owner & Wellness Director of AmaTierra Retreat & Wellness Center in Costa Rica, is a professional nutritionist, certified practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and clinical herbalist registered with the American Herbalist Guild. She is also an experienced massage therapist, energy healer and Hatha yoga instructor. The Wellness Center at AmaTierra is Jill’s living dream, the fruition of decades of training, practice and experience in natural medicine and the healing arts.