So Close to Heaven

Stories from the Alps, 17.02.2021, Astrid Steinbrecher-Raitmayer

High up in the mountains, surrounded by forests in the distance and pastures at the doorstep, you can immerse yourself in nature, let your body, mind and soul come to rest and let go of stresses and strains. More about the natural healing potentials of cabins and huts.

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Blick auf Hügel in der Steiermark mit zwei Personen im Vordergrund  | © Urlaub am Bauernhof Steiermark / Daniel Gollner

The mere look at the mountain peaks, the lush greenery and the pure spring water have a calming and peaceful effect, stimulate a feeling of happiness, gratitude and well-being. These sensations will help us create a peace of mind and find ourselves again. In fact, forests and meadows combined with fresh, clean air and the sounds of nature are a great remedy for us - available at any time, for anyone.

An “Alm”, a cabin or hut surrounded by mountain pastures, is set in the most beautiful of landscapes. Research has shown that spending time in nature has countless positive health effects. In green surroundings, people recover faster, feel more relaxed and have a better sleep. Nature and panoramic views calm us down. Clean air is invigorating and revitalising. Overall, it’s a boost for our immune system as well as for a positive mindset. Here, you simply can’t help but embrace the joy of life! Everyone who spends some time in a mountain cabin will know what we’re talking about.

The chalet “Almhütte Wiedhupf” in Styria (1,150m) is not only a place to relax and unwind all year long, but also to explore the unique flora and fauna at the doorstep of this luxurious accommodation. From the fantastic terrace, you can take in panoramic views of the Katschtal valley and the mountains of the Niedere Tauern range. There’s a play area for kids and premium amenities and furnishings for everyone. This is a very special place to energise, relax and calm down. The traditional, rustic, three-storey mountain cabin “Preisöxlhütte” is set at 1,100m in the picturesque Metnitztal valley with stunning views of the Gurktal Alps in Carinthia. Constructed in 1998, it comes with beautiful timber furnishings, three tiled stoves and four bedrooms. An indulgent holiday at its best! The breathtaking mountains that surround the Zillertal valley are at your feet if you stay in the hut “Friedlach-Hütte” in Tyrol that sleeps a max. of 10 guests. After a relaxing sauna session, you can lie down on the sun lounger and take in stunning views of the awe-inspiring mountains, watch the cows graze on the alpine pastures and spot birds of prey in the sky. In the morning, you’ll wake up to the whistling of marmots.

The mere look at the mountain peaks, the lush greenery and the pure spring water have a calming and peaceful effect, stimulate a feeling of happiness, gratitude and well-being.

A Forest of Healing Benefits

In Japan, “forest bathing” aka “shinrin yoku” has been approved as an official preventive health care measure years ago. Meanwhile, it also sparks people’s interest in Europe. It’s quite simple. Basically, it’s about spending time in the forest, grounding yourself in the present moment and taking deep breaths. In and out. It’s a way of interacting with nature in multiple ways that allows the body to take in precious terpenes and pleasant forest scents, to lower the levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and to activate the cells of our immune system. These phytochemicals stimulate the body’s production of killer T cells which are effective against cancer.

In any case, forest bathing has got a lot to do with awareness. Its healing benefits are holistic and sustainable. By the way, the positive health effects are also evident if there are no trees around as long as you’re in a natural environment. And that goes for all the mountain cabins and chalets that we promote. For the “Grubenbauer Almhütte” in Carinthia’s Nock Mountains, for example. The natural materials such as hay and timber (Austrian stone pine) are sourced right at the doorstep. Guests sleep in traditional beds made of Austrian stone pine. On request, they can take home pillows filled with natural stone pine flakes or enjoy a soothing bath in the larch wood bathtub. A delight to body, mind and soul.

Astrid Steinbrecher-Raitmayer
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