Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I’ve often written about the benefits of sensory engagement, especially in the context of a spa and wellness experience.  Getting in touch with our senses is a way to refocus and get grounded in matters of calm and wellbeing.  In particular, I’ve always been a strong advocate of accomplishing this by taking simple walks outdoor, clearing the mind and reconnecting with nature.  Movement among nature is key to destressing and relaxation.  

I recently visited Rockford, IL as an attendee of the Travel Media Showcase 2013.  I was very impressed with what this town had to offer locals and tourists in the way of history, museums, culture conservatories and gardens.  I took advantage of a side tour, the “Great Gardens Tour”, to experience four of the city’s most prominent conservatories and gardens.  They included the Anderson Japanese Gardens (rated as number one in the U.S.), Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, and La Paloma Garden.

What I especially enjoyed about the Anderson Japanese Gardens and Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens were their offerings for events that included outdoor yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and Zumba.  All of these forms involve movement in varying degrees of difficulty, concentration and exertion.  However, yoga and Tai Chi, especially, offer movement and concentration more conducive to relaxation and destressing.  These
two disciplines inherently ground the participant through cerebral and physical connection to an outdoor setting that is natural, a more purist form of human sensory connection to a natural surrounding.  These two elements harmonize as one and offer the participant an elevated experience that surpasses doing the same movement routines indoor in an often sterile and restrictive environment.  There is the visual, tactile, olfactory and auditory senses placed in motion; the only sense that seems to be lacking is taste.  Sensory connection with nature and self is basic.  

The Anderson Japanese Gardens offers an extraordinary amount of tranquil waterfalls and ponds; between the sights and sounds, any stress is quickly removed.  The Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens also offers stress-reducing visuals within the Conservatory, but also outside among the Gardens.

I recall recently posting a beautiful image of a forest to my Facebook page and captioning it as something having to do with relaxation and getting de-stressed.  I got a chuckle when one of my much younger “friend” connections referred to his type of experience as being part of a “trend” called Eco Psychology.  I responded to her that back in the day it was just simply referred to as “communing with nature”.  I think too many trends and fads lend themselves to confusing many, which can be a deterrent. 

Next time you find yourself stressed out to the max, try taking a simple, deliberative walk outdoor among nature and appreciating the beauty where you can get grounded and reconnect with yourself.  The beautiful Nicolas Conservatory & Gardens and Anderson Japanese Gardens achieve this, with or without the added benefits of yoga and Tai Chi. The Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden and La Paloma Garden also lend themselves to a reconnection and grounding of nature and self. 

To walk among nature’s bountiful beauty, taking time to visually and audibly appreciate the simplicity and grandeur of nature is to find the lost self and to reclaim it!

Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens

Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden

La Paloma Gardens

Great Gardens of Rockford, IL Video

That’s it for this edition.  Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love. 

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In the 1990s, she authored an extensive "Glossary of Spa Terminologies" and holds two copyright registrations.  Consumer and trade publications have also interviewed her as an expert.  She also conducted an extensive nationally broadcasted interview tour on aspects of creating an at-home spa, interior design, stress and time management.  Her work has been published extensively in print and online in both consumer and trade publications.  In addition to writing, reviewing and being interviewed as an expert, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker.  She currently serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa.  She also served as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz.  You can email her at


(Introductory photo from Anderson Japanese Gardens.  Additional photo credits from Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens and Anderson Japanese Gardens.)

N.B.  Google’s blog platform is incompatible with my Mac OS X and Firefox browser latest software versions, which is why some web links appear in different colors and why when attempting to have embedded images their sizing is consistent and/or can’t be sized. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.