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5 ways Nature Can Positively Impact your Health & Wellness

31 Jan 2024 | By Author Thornybush | Experiences & Lodges

Stepping into nature is not an easy everyday experience, with our fast-paced city lives, we feel the pressures of time constraints, constant competitiveness, man-made environments, and the polluted air of the rat-race. It begins to take its toll on us. If you listen carefully enough you’ll hear your body telling you that you need to take a time out and wind down, so how do we do this?

In this article Kelly Sage, owner of the Hoedspruit Africology Spa and partner of Thornybush Wellness Centre tells us how we can bring the full effects of nature into our safaris to create that ultimate rejuvenation of a wellness safari experience,

Welcome nature’s balance 

Stepping off a plane into the African bush, greeted by the smells, temperature and beauty of the bush is a first time experience that is never forgotten. The more time you spend in nature and especially the bush, the more you realise there are many lessons that nature can teach us. 

With everything in balance and harmony we get to be in a space that has not changed by the hand of man and is in fact our natural habitat. Here we get to experience the ultimate organic reset.

Time in the bush on a wellness safari slows down the pace of life, and creates space and time for your focus on yourself – it’s the best practice of self care that truly has the affect to regulate the systems of the body.

5 ways nature positively impact your health and wellness

Reduce Stress

Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response, which is the production of the cortisol hormone, is activated. So often that the body doesn’t always have a chance to return to normal, resulting in a state of chronic stress. Many studies have found that time in nature helps to balance cortisol. It’s important that the body’s relaxation response is activated so the body’s functions can return to normal following a stressful event. If not managed properly that can cause havoc with our sleep, weight management, inflammation to name a few.

Nature helps take our attention away from chasing time or chores or focusing on our problems. Nature invites us to be more present, it lures our attention with its breath-taking beauty and beams of lights through the trees at sundown. We find new ways to appreciate our surroundings and practice gratitude. 

Thornybush Spa Treatment suggestion: 

Our Crystal Healing journey works to relax the body and balance your energy pathways, this warm and nourishing treatment uses our grounded vetiver oil, while the body massage with warm Rose Quartz, Energy balancing and Crystal Bowl sound therapy is used to bring you to a meditative state in body and mind.

Improved sleep

We spend hours staring at blue light devices and living under artificial lighting. This can affect our Circadian rhythm which distinguishes our awake and sleep time. Our bodies are designed to connect with the sun and the moon, like the moving tides we are intricately connected to the earth’s natural rhythm’s. Waking up early to catch a sunrise and pondering over a day’s activity at sunset can have a positive impact on sleep quality. Reduce our stress and anxiety, which are common causes of sleep disturbances. 

Thornybush Spa Treatment suggestion: 

Jetlag Revival: This 45 minute treatment addresses the symptoms of jet lag, stress, inflammation and circulation, and lack of sleep. A great start to finding your rhythm in Africa. Take a walk around the lodge to connect to nature and let it assist in resetting your circadian regulation.

Improved mental help

A strong connection to nature is that emotional attachment we form, that African nostalgia of feeling home. Connecting with nature can generate many positive emotions, such as calmness, joy, creativity and learning. Improving this comes through simple yet meaningful engagement, and often it is the small things that teach us the most in the bush. Learning how connected everything is, helps put life into a new perspective.

Take some quiet time to reflect in natural surroundings using all your senses. This is a key practice to boost your mental health. Listening out for a birdsong, look for all the smaller animals and insects and butterflies, or notice the movement of the clouds. 

Thornybush Spa Treatment suggestion: 

Book a yoga session on our Wellness deck with includes some mindfulness and meditation to give you a more guided experience.

Better Breathing

Inhale the clean air, filtered by the abundance of plants and trees, away from the over polluted soup we often breathe. We are often exposed to so many toxins in our air and our respiratory system is constantly working for us to manage this. Stress and anxiety can also impact how we breathe and oxygenate our bodies. Being able to sit quietly and take a moment to breathe, deeply in and deeply out. Our senses come alive in nature, which adds to that sense of connection and belonging.

Thornybush Spa Treatment suggestion: 

Take some time to use our gym facilities to move, there are cardiovascular options, weight bearing, natural movement flows on the mat or yoga. Our glass front facility faces the river bed so open the doors and inhale and detox.


Take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the earth, explore the freedom of not conforming. Grounding, also known as earthing, which is a technique that involves connecting your physical body to the earth’s electrical energy, with reported benefits such as pain reduction, changes in immune response, wound healing, effects on inflammation, it is a testament that we are part of nature and can feel restoration when we’re in touch with it.

Having a sense of being mentally grounded can also help reduce stress and anxiety by giving us that feeling of security. Healthy routines and self-care are rooted in this principle, eat well, exercise consistently, take care of your body and skin, and take time to breathe and reflect and connect with others.

Thornybush Spa Treatment suggestion: 

Start with our infrared sauna to get your body awake and free of toxins from the day. Then take a slow walk through the winding paths of the lodge, stopping to breathe and centre yourself in your environment. Being able to put grass between your toes as you watch our resident Nyala nibble at the grass is a perfect example of grounding and reconnecting to your surroundings. 

Download our Spa Menu Here. 

Are you looking to add a wellness experience to your next safari? Contact our reservations to add this to your next stay: