Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wade in the Water

The following is a guest posting by Elk Springs Resort:

Wade in the Water is an early 1900s spiritual song with melodic lyrics and a soulful tune. Two popular theories have been attributed to its meaning. Some say this song contained route information for escaping slaves while others say it talks about the biblical tale of the Israelite’s frantic escape from Egypt through the Red Sea. Whatever you believe the song means, you know there is something almost magical about wading in the water on a hot summer day. The refreshing, inviting waters of a natural water hole or fresh mountain stream cannot compare to any indoor pool or hot tub. These swimming holes are often tucked into a shady mountain nook or found along a winding trail, delighting the weary hiker when he or she stumbles upon this beautiful place to relax, refresh and invigorate.

There is a growing body of evidence to support what any wilderness lover would be quick to tell you: nature heals. The act of being in the great outdoors away from the hustle and bustle of the city has a profound effect on your body, mind and spirit.

“A variety of studies over many years have shown faster recovery from stress in response to nature stimuli than built settings,” says John Davis, Ph.D., in his paper Psychological Benefits of Nature Experiences. “These findings include a range of settings from nearby nature to wilderness.” (1) We have all felt the calming experience of walking through a park after a stressful day, but the benefits go far beyond what most expect nature can do. “Research by Roger Ulrich and others shows that a view of nature (rather than a built environment) from a hospital room's window facilitates recovery from surgery, leads to less use of health care services among prison inmates, improves work performance in job settings, and increases job satisfaction”, Davis’ paper continues. “These benefits span physical and mental health benefits.” (2) The paper goes on to show that benefits of a natural environment can be enjoyed by children too. “Frances Kuo has conducted a number of studies, confirmed by other researchers, showing that contact with even very small green spaces in cities leads to improvement in children's abilities to pay attention, delay gratification, and manage impulses. Kuo and others have also shown that contact with nature reduces symptoms associated with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder in children.” (3)

When nature is combined with water the results are profound. Not only does the natural environment relax the body, calm the mind and nourish the spirit, being in springs and waterholes eases tension on the muscles, allows for greater movement of stiff joints and stimulates the blood’s circulation.

By now you should be packing your bags for a healing, wilderness escape, but before you get behind the wheel, let us entice you further with information about Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain’s swimming holes – all of which are located in beautifully preserved natural settings.

The dark, sparkling waters of the aptly named Midnight Hole lie inside the Great Smoky Mountains Natural Park and can easily be found after a 1.4 mile scenic hike up a historic railroad grade. The swimming hole at the base of Abrams Falls is a sparkling 100 foot deep pool fed by a stunning 20 foot high waterfall. This location is so spectacular one has to remember to stop taking photographs and go for that dip in the water! The Midnight Hole and Abrams Falls require a bit of a hike to access. If you have limited mobility or are travelling with small children, you will enjoy the Greenbrier Swimming Holes and the Townsend Y Swimming Area, both of which are accessible with a vehicle.

When you have the urge to let nature take your worries away, come wade in the water of Gatlinburg’s swimming holes and mountain streams. The staff of Elk Springs Resorts can give you directions to these magnificent wonders and suggest many other trails and points of interest as well. Discover the healing power of nature by booking your trip to Elk Springs Resort.

Elk Springs Resort / 1088 Powdermill Road / Gatlinburg, TN 37738 / Phone: 865-233-2390 / Enjoy privacy and mountain views while relaxing on your vacation in one of our secluded luxury cabins located in a private 68 acre resort setting. We're nestled in the historic Arts and Crafts Community and border the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

[1] http://www.johnvdavis.com/ep/benefits.htm
[2&3] http://www.johnvdavis.com/ep/benefits.htm#rel


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