On a typical summer day in June, we walk along a forest path in the Nalovardo mountain forest reserve. The wind is warm against our faces, the temperature just right, and the nature enchanting in its full bloom. We stop to contemplate lichens that sway neatly, like garlands, from the branches of old spruces. We take the time we need because that is exactly what this hike is all about: wellness. If you look up the word wellness in a dictionary, it is often described as ‘well-being’. And what could do more for your well-being than letting your body and soul become one with nature?
We have packed light. In our backpacks, we have the essentials for an overnight stay: food, beach towels, spare clothes, and some products from Ljung of Lapland that we will use to create our own adventure spa.
Medicinal plants and herbs
The story of Ljung is a bit of a wellness story in itself. Erika Bjuhr’s children suffered from painful eczema when they were little. When also the third child was born with severe eczema, the family had tried most things to no avail. That was when Erika started researching skincare.
Erika’s great-grandmother lived during the late 19th century and was very interested in medicinal plants and herbs from Swedish Lapland’s Arctic nature. She provided cures made from them to help the sick. Just like her great-grandmother, Erika discovered an interest in the healing powers of nature. She ventured into nature and began experimenting with plants and herbs that have been used for their healing effects since time immemorial: marigold, wild pansy and other ointments. After just three weeks, her son’s skin had begun to heal.
She also wanted to spread the word about the healing powers of nature like her great-grandmother had done, so she began selling her products as a hobby. Together with her daughter Tina, she started dreaming of owning a company. They made their own lotions and ointments for eleven years before they dared to really invest, but since then, they have never looked back and continue to create in the spirit of nature and well-being.
– Wellness for us is to feel good inside and out. Finding balance in life, to enjoy, laugh, move and be outside in nature. Nature is essential, and so is finding natural ways to feel good.
The perfect place
We are on the last stage of our hike when we glimpse our final destination: Borgjaur, a hidden little gem in the heart of the mountain forest reserve. There is something special about arriving at little red cabins in the middle of the forest. Separated from the outside world by a forest lake and with a stream that empties into a small, cold spring at the foot of an outdoor sauna. The perfect place for a small wellness adventure.
Slightly sweaty and tired from the hike, we unpack our bags in the cabin we will be sleeping in. We divide the chores between us. One of us goes to light the fire in the sauna, one prepares dinner, and I volunteer to chop firewood. Then we meet around the fireplace and have a meal together. Once we have enjoyed our dinner, I sit down and look across the lake. It is still as a mirror, and fish are biting further out. The sky turns a pastel-pink colour, and the day transforms into evening.
We get changed just as the sauna turns hot. Wrapped in beach towels, we walk barefoot along the footbridge across the stream. I look down at my feet, and I see it there below the footbridge, among moss and crowberry shrubs: the heather plant – ljung in Swedish. With its snake-like twisted stem and tiny pink flowers, it rises proudly from the ground. My eyes wander into the nearby forest, and it is brimming with heather. They match the colour of the evening sky, and I cannot help but think of the products from Ljung that we are going to try as we take a sauna and a cold bath.
– Nature is everything to us. It’s the cornerstone of everything, of our products too, Erika says.
– You have to take care of nature, her daughter Tina adds, and continues:
– If everyone used organic, natural products, we would be kinder to our nature and water. Everything washes out into them in the end.
For Ljung, it is important to be able to control the entire manufacturing process. Erika and Tina manufacture everything themselves in their shop in central Sorsele. In there, you can also treat yourself to a wonderful massage after a day of hiking. But today, we are creating our very own little adventure spa in the middle of the forest.
Ljung of Lapland’s own favourites:
The facial oil ‘Nyponros’ (Rosa dumalis) is a wonderful, versatile and luxurious skincare product that deeply nourishes your skin. A few drops of this oil every night gives you radiantly beautiful skin that feels good.
Facial creme ‘Intensiv’ (Intense), incredibly moisturising. It is based on 100% organic rose blossom hydrolate, aloe vera and heather extract. It also has an absolutely wonderful scent of roses and jasmine.
Wellness for Ljung of Lapland is to feel good inside and out. Finding balance in life, to enjoy, laugh, move and be outside in nature.
Steam pours out in a white cloud as I open the wooden door to the sauna. The contrast between the heat and my chilled body makes my skin tingle with pleasure. What could be better than all life’s contrasts, I reflect. Yesterday we were on a city tour in Piteå and got to feel the small-town pulse; today, we are in an amazing forest environment where peace finds its way into every breath.
I shampoo my hair with Ljung’s shampoo ‘fjällbris’ (mountain breeze) and clean my face with Ljung’s cleansing milk before I slowly, one step at a time, descend the steps that lead me into the mountain stream. The essence of icy water invigorates all my senses, and I concentrate on breathing calmly as I slowly glide into the water. Cold baths are said to contribute to a number of health effects, such as a better immune system, stronger heart and less stress. I dive into the mountain stream’s cold water, letting it rinse out the completely natural products, reuniting them with Mother Earth.
Once we have all have bathed and spent time in the sauna, we sit down on a wooden bench outside the sauna. We enjoy the cool summer night in our bath towels and finish off the adventure spa with skin oil and face cream. Lastly, I apply deodorant with cloudberry scent and moisturise my body with a body lotion scented with the Arctic flower Pedicularis hirsuta. My whole being is scented with all the forest treasures you can find in this area. I smile at the thought.
As evening draws to an end, we lie down in the bunk beds in the little red cabin. I barely have time to crawl under the covers before my eyelids begin to feel heavy. Falling asleep to the sound of a fire crackling in the wood-burning stove, body and soul in balance, is a luxury I should treat myself to more often. Satisfaction is guaranteed. The last thing that crosses my mind before I enter the land of dreams is what Erika and Tina at Ljung said, this thing about “finding natural ways to feel good…” that must surely be the meaning of life.
You’ll find Ljung of Lapland’s store at Strandvägen 26 in Sorsele. You can also visit their online shop and learn more about the company and their products at ljungoflapland.se (Swedish website).