Among the entire South Guangdong ancient post road system, the Xiangshan Ancient Post Road in Zhuhai is the only one located within the city's main urban area. The Changan Alley Ancient Road and the Fenghuangshan Ancient Road are both situated in the "urban green lung" of Fenghuangshan, which not only makes it convenient for tourists and hikers to access but also harnesses the natural power of the forest environment. It serves as a means to relieve and release stress. When the burden of life becomes increasingly heavy, and the tired body finds no respite, or when the scorching heat of summer relentlessly strikes and the restless soul finds no peace, as long as you step into Fenghuangshan, follow the Xiangshan Ancient Post Road at a leisurely pace, touching the lush vegetation, smelling the fragrance of the soil, and listening to the cicadas and birds, you will rediscover the beauty of life and experience the meaning and strength of life.
II. Forest bathing - an excellent natural therapy
"Forest bathing" refers to the use of specific forest environments and forest products for activities such as forest recreation and forest walks, in order to achieve a natural, non-pharmacological treatment that promotes physical and mental health and prevents diseases. In 1930, according to the research of Dr Tolkin, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Leningrad in Russia, it was discovered that many plants release an invisible substance that kills harmful viruses or bacteria in the air. As a result, this substance came to be known as "phytofungicide" or "fungicide". As the efficacy of phytofungicides was confirmed by many experts, the world's first forest therapy centre was established in Bad Wildbad, Germany in the 1940s.Since the 20th century, countries and regions such as Japan, Korea, Chinese Taiwan, have developed forest walks, aromatherapy, forest breathing, psychological counselling, and other forest-based preventive and curative alternative therapies.
III. Enhancing Positive Cognition, Easing Tension
Ralph Waldo Emerson, known as the "father of American civilization," once said, "A lover of nature is still in harmony with changing internal and external feelings. Even as an adult, one can retain a child's heart." He believed that nature is full of spirituality, capable of arousing sublime thoughts or more noble emotions in people. The restoration of the Xiangshan Ancient Post Road places a strong emphasis on the preservation of the original forest vegetation. Even the trees growing on the stone road surface are given ample space to grow during restoration. The juxtaposition of hard cobblestones and soft branches creates a powerful visual impact, evoking people's reverence for life. Furthermore, the restoration efforts prioritize maintaining the original materials and craftsmanship, and restore the original drainage system of the road surface. This ensures that while the ancient road remains convenient for walking, it does not lose its rustic appearance. Visitors can better experience the wisdom of the ancients. On the Xiangshan Ancient Post Road, every blade of grass, every tree, every grain of sand, and every stone project a beautiful state of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. This has a significant therapeutic effect on improving people's positive life attitudes and alleviating tension and anxiety.
This is a picture of the Changan Alley Ancient Road.
This is a picture of the Qu Shui Liu Quan (located on the Changan Alley Ancient Road).
This is a picture of the Xin Yue Chi (located on the Changan Alley Ancient Road).
IV. Boosting Happiness Hormones, Enjoying a Wonderful Life
In addition to its historical and cultural significance, the Xiangshan Ancient Post Road serves as a city's health trail. The Xiangshan Ancient Post Road is made up of artificially processed cobblestones, various shapes of original stones, sand, loess, and other materials. Walking on it helps improve focus, limb coordination, and physical flexibility. When we walk on the ancient post road with focus, mindfully feeling the roadbed formed more than a century ago under our feet, and attentively listening to the singing of birds in the woods, we become highly focused, entering a psychological state known as "flow." This state continuously activates the brain's neural centers, promotes dopamine secretion, and provides the motivation and optimism for pleasure. The Xiangshan Ancient Post Road, combined with the natural forest scenery, features special spots like the "Xin Yue Chi" (Heart-Pleasing Pond), "Qu Shui Quan Liu" (Curved Water Spring), and "Yan Bo Hao Miao" (Vast Misty Waters). These spots provide resting and viewing spaces for hikers, enhancing the experience and interest of walking on the ancient post road. They attract more people to enter Fenghuangshan and explore the ancient post road. While walking, they listen to the breath of nature, soothe their tense emotions, and strengthen their physical fitness.
This is a picture of the Wu Xi Ting (located on the Changan Alley Ancient Road).
This is a picture of the Changan Alley Ancient Road.
In the Opinions of the State Council on the Implementation of the Healthy China, it is stated, "By 2030, the overall health literacy of the whole population will be significantly improved, and healthy lifestyles will be widely promoted." Stepping into nature and opening one's heart to the flora and fauna is the most economical and effective form of "preventing illness" that can significantly reduce disease rates. It is also the most suitable and promotable healthy lifestyle. Since its restoration, the Xiangshan Ancient Post Road has shouldered the responsibility of becoming the "path to health" that promotes outdoor activities and leisure tourism for the citizens. It is an important spatial carrier for promoting nationwide fitness and implementing the national health strategy. Furthermore, the natural therapeutic effects of the forest environment make the Xiangshan Ancient Post Road not only a place for fitness and leisure but also ignite people's reverence and care for nature, their positivity and optimism towards life, and their appreciation and composure towards life. The solace for the body and mind that the ancient post road brings is a vivid practice of implementing Xi Jinping's ecological civilization ideology and the best interpretation of "Heaven and Earth are one with me, and all things are one with me." Let us step into the Xiangshan Ancient Post Road together, and in the midst of green waters and green mountains, share the beauty of nature, life, and living.
 Chen, X., Yang, B., Yin, L., & Zhang, D. (2021). The Power of Nature Therapy: From Forest Rehabilitation to Garden Health. Garden, 38(11).
 Ren, W., Li, M., & Li, X. (2015). Research on the Influence of Negative Oxygen Ion Concentration of Urban Greening Different Structures on Air Quality. In Proceedings of the 5th Yunnan Provincial Association for Science and Technology Academic Annual Conference and Wumengshan Area Development Forum (pp. 1-4). Yunnan Provincial Association for Science and Technology.
 Li, J., Zhan, L., He, Z., & Zhang, W. (2021). Development Plan and Content of Forest Therapy in Taiwan, China. World Forestry Research, 2021(03).
 Liu, S., Qiao, Z., Jin, T., et al. (2018). Current Status and Prospects of Scientific Research on Forest Health Therapy. World Forestry Research, 31(5).
 Gong, M., Wu, J., & Nan, H. (2017). Empirical Research on the Impact of Forest Environment on Human Health. Journal of Beijing Forestry University (Social Sciences), 2017(12).
(All rights reserved, reproduced with permission from the South China Historical Trail website, welcome to reprint.)