When we first entered the newly opened Seogwipo healing forest, we were submerged in the mysterious charm and depth of the environment. We were truly succumbed to a feeling of peace and relaxation. But this was just the beginning to a series of invigorating experiences to our senses.
Our professional forest therapist and manager of the forest office, Mrs. Yang, made it a point to feel every aspect of the forest through our bodies. She started by offering us a drink of fresh spring water, directly from the source, which was full of hearty minerals.
We then worked our way through the forest, and arrived on a beautiful deck built around 6 trees. Mrs. Yang offered us to each use one of the trees for a short stretching session to relax our muscles. She advised us to touch every tree, mosses and stones surrounding us, which each featured a different feel.
Following a walk through the wide diversity of vegetation, we arrived in one of the many relaxing points. Visitors can lay down on transats and listen to the sounds, feel the fresh-aired breeze, and experience the peace. The entire environment is filled with a lovely citrus smells provided by the phytoncide released by the plants. The area also includes a new concept: beds filled with wooden beads from a special tree. If only we could describe the incredibly soothing smell that it releases! It truly helped to heal the body and mind, we couldn’t get enough!
We continued towards the ruins of the ancient village which existed more than 200 years ago. The remnants of past inhabitants indicated how they might have lived. The walls of lava stones overcome by the force of nature made this scene even more magical.
The tour ended with a visit to the healing centre, where the guests are invited to test their physical changes through a series of very sophisticated machines (stress levels, pressure, etc.). The visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy deliciously fresh local foods made by the local villagers and served in a woven basket. The guests are then asked to enter the meditation room for 15 minutes of relaxation which are followed by a delicious cup of green tea accompanied by the incredibly soothing smell of fresh cut wood that the building offers.
The Seogwipo Healing Forest was created for the many tired people in Korea. As our Korean hosts keep mentioning when things get crowded and busy: “Korean style”! Many people can feel stressed by the pressure of their daily lives, through their work and/or their relationships. The many programs offered (including health monitoring, barefoot walking, cypress aroma therapy, Serotonin Walking, etc.) are conducted by professional forest therapists to help restore energy to the body and relaxation to the mind. The healing programs can also be altered to meet the needs and goals of individuals.
Besides these healthy benefits, the healing forest also provides a great opportunity to learn more about the local fauna, flora, and culture through the ruins (part of the trail is wheelchair accessible!). Please do opt for the guided tour which offers so much more than what you can experience on your own. And don’t forget the lovely lunch boxes which will surely leave a taste you won’t forget!