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What is friluftsliv and how could it help people’s wellbeing during the COVID-19 era?
By Megan Whitby 05 Oct 2020
Research published in 2015 went so far as to call natural areas
The pandemic’s outbreak caused many people to use time in nature as a coping mechanism and an outlet to deal with the global health crisis and subsequent lockdown.

In Scandinavia, time outdoors is passionately encouraged and even celebrated, using the philosophy of ‘friluftsliv’ which is deeply rooted in the nation’s history.

The term was originally coined by Norwegian poet, Henrik Ibsen, who used the term to describe the ‘value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical wellbeing’, according to BBC Worklife.

Translated loosely as ‘open-air living’, friluftsliv is the Scandinavian concept of celebrating the outdoors and the important connection between humans and nature.

Prior to COVID-19, the increasingly urbanised and fast-paced world made it harder for people to both easily access natural spaces and make time to explore them.

However, growing numbers of people are spending more time outdoors and it seems this could have the potential to improve physical and mental health too, with scientists providing a host of evidence to support that nature is beneficial for wellbeing.

For example, research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2003 indicated that trees and woodlands can have a healing effect on the mind, while a 2010 study by scientists at the University of Essex’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society found that regular nature walks can improve mental wellness.

Another article – published in 2015 with American Academy of the Sciences – even went so far as to call natural areas "vital for mental health".

With this in mind, friluftsliv could become a driver to help people sustain their wellbeing using nature during the pandemic and potential future lockdowns. It could be used as a celebratory concept to inspire people to spend even more time outdoors and take it up with a newfound enthusiasm.

As spas have reopened, many have begun embracing the outdoors, with Glen Ivy Hot Springs offering outdoor treatments and Lefay’s Lake Garda resort launching guided wellness retreats in nature.

"Even before COVID-19, more and more academic studies were highlighting the benefits of prescribing a connection with nature and the great outdoors,” said Dr Carlo Barbieri, president of Lefay’s Spa Method Scientific Committee.

“Physical issues such as joint pain and obesity as well as mental states of anxiety and depression are all proven to benefit from connection with nature and outdoor activities.”


News
1 to 12 of 7670 news stories
21 Jan 2021
The Medical Wellness Congress (MWC) is launching a monthly webinar series after its inaugural event was postponed until 28-29 June 2021. MWC founder Vladi Kovanic says the digital offering has been launched to continue supporting ... More
21 Jan 2021
Destination spa operator Chablé Hotels has appointed two new wellness spa managers at its Chablé Yucatán at Chablé Maroma resorts in Mexico. Jesús Segundo Rangel will helm wellness facilities at Chablé Yucatán while Rosalba Velázquez ... More
20 Jan 2021
In November 2021, Montage is scheduled to open a deluxe 150-key alpine ski resort in Montana complete with a comprehensive alpine wellness sanctuary. Spa Business spoke to Montage VP of spa and retail, Patrick Huey, ... More
20 Jan 2021
California’s Esalen Institute has partnered with Radiance Sutras School of Meditation to offer an online meditation teacher training course, in response to the growing demand for wellness resources in 2020. The 200-hour online certificate will ... More
19 Jan 2021
Leading wellness supplier Klafs has been acquired by independent pan-European investment company Egeria. With Egeria as the majority shareholder, Klafs’ previous managing directors, Stefan Schöllhammer and Phillip Rock, will still helm the business as CEO ... More
18 Jan 2021
Luxury hospitality group Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is debuting its new retreat concept Journey to Resilience, designed to enhance people’s ability to recover from or adapt easily to change. Following a challenging year with stressful ... More
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Luxury five-star hotel The Phoenicia Malta has been upgraded with a 1,200sq m new Deep Nature Spa in the heart of Valletta, in Malta. The Phoenicia is an architectural gem steeped in history, featuring seven ... More
14 Jan 2021
The International Spa Association (ISPA) has decided to cancel its upcoming ISPA Conference & Expo in May, due to the ongoing global pandemic. Attendees and sponsors for the cancelled in-person event will be contacted and ... More
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Amanda Winwood, founder of Made for Life Organics, has announced that industry event Spafest will be held in the UK in September. Launched in 2017, the event is masterminded by Winwood and is designed to ... More
14 Jan 2021
After a steadfast strategic campaign, the British Beauty Council, UK Spa Association, British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC) and the National Hair & Beauty Federation has been granted a new sector-specific team within ... More
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The Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio has expanded, with the opening of a premium all-season alpine resort at one of Japan's top winter sports destinations in Hokkaido. Owned by YTL Hotels, the 50-room Higashiyama Niseko Village resort ... More
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While North Americans haven’t been able to travel as much as they would usually, it hasn’t stopped them from looking, according to Spas of America’s Top 100 Spas of 2020. The spa and wellness travel ... More
     
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NEWS
What is friluftsliv and how could it help people’s wellbeing during the COVID-19 era?
POSTED 05 Oct 2020 . BY Megan Whitby
Research published in 2015 went so far as to call natural areas "vital for mental health" Credit: Shutterstock/Dzmitrock
Even before COVID-19, more and more academic studies were highlighting the benefits of prescribing a connection with nature and the great outdoors
– Carlo Barbieri
The pandemic’s outbreak caused many people to use time in nature as a coping mechanism and an outlet to deal with the global health crisis and subsequent lockdown.

In Scandinavia, time outdoors is passionately encouraged and even celebrated, using the philosophy of ‘friluftsliv’ which is deeply rooted in the nation’s history.

The term was originally coined by Norwegian poet, Henrik Ibsen, who used the term to describe the ‘value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical wellbeing’, according to BBC Worklife.

Translated loosely as ‘open-air living’, friluftsliv is the Scandinavian concept of celebrating the outdoors and the important connection between humans and nature.

Prior to COVID-19, the increasingly urbanised and fast-paced world made it harder for people to both easily access natural spaces and make time to explore them.

However, growing numbers of people are spending more time outdoors and it seems this could have the potential to improve physical and mental health too, with scientists providing a host of evidence to support that nature is beneficial for wellbeing.

For example, research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2003 indicated that trees and woodlands can have a healing effect on the mind, while a 2010 study by scientists at the University of Essex’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society found that regular nature walks can improve mental wellness.

Another article – published in 2015 with American Academy of the Sciences – even went so far as to call natural areas "vital for mental health".

With this in mind, friluftsliv could become a driver to help people sustain their wellbeing using nature during the pandemic and potential future lockdowns. It could be used as a celebratory concept to inspire people to spend even more time outdoors and take it up with a newfound enthusiasm.

As spas have reopened, many have begun embracing the outdoors, with Glen Ivy Hot Springs offering outdoor treatments and Lefay’s Lake Garda resort launching guided wellness retreats in nature.

"Even before COVID-19, more and more academic studies were highlighting the benefits of prescribing a connection with nature and the great outdoors,” said Dr Carlo Barbieri, president of Lefay’s Spa Method Scientific Committee.

“Physical issues such as joint pain and obesity as well as mental states of anxiety and depression are all proven to benefit from connection with nature and outdoor activities.”
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