Forest bathing packages
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Forest bathing packages: Immerse yourself in nature with all your senses
Forest bathing packages are in vogue. There is hardly a newspaper or magazine that hasn't written about this topic. Yet the news value of the forest bathing is actually rather low. Hildegard von Bingen already wrote about the green force, referring to a basic force that is present in nature - from humans, animals and plants to stones. According to Hildegard's mysticism, if this green force of man is reduced e.g. by monotonous activities, it can be refreshed by stays in nature, e.g. during a walk through the forest.
"I walked in the woods for myself, and not to look for anything, that was my purpose".
Even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ultimately describes nothing else but forest bathing with these lines. Did he know that 200 years later he was hitting the nerve of the time? It is a fact that forest bathing, with its combination of mindfulness and experience of nature, has found open ears with many people today.
Mindfulness meets nature
Small branches crack, the soft ground springs under your feet. Leaves rustle in the wind and a spicy scent is in the air. A walk in the forest is an experience for all senses - if they are open to the numerous impressions.
Many people have forgotten how to really perceive their environment. Due to increasing urbanisation, experiences of nature are becoming rarer and therefore more special. As a result, leisure activities that have been cultivated for centuries, such as walking in the forest, are suddenly becoming a trend.
How does forest bathing work?
Swimming in the woods means neither swimming through a forest lake nor immersing yourself in a pile of leaves. Rather, the term is used to describe a respectful walk in the woods. The concept has its origins in Japan, where the relaxing effect of a stay in the forest has been researched since the early 1980s with funding from the Ministry of Agriculture. In the meantime, the medical benefits of Shinrin-yoku - in English "bathing in the forest air" - have been recognised there and Japanese universities have made it possible for doctors to specialise in "forest medicine". Because Asian studies have shown: Whoever looks at the colour of the trees, listens to the rustling of leaves and touches bark or moss promotes health and reduces stress.
Whether German forests also have such a health-promoting effect is still being researched. The effect of pines, cedars and larks cannot simply be transferred to the native oaks, beeches and firs. The scientists agree on this.
Forest for well-being
It is undisputed that the forest is good for people. The pure air between the trees and the special lighting conditions alone create a sense of well-being. Prof. Dr. Dr. Angela Schuh researches forest therapy as a sub-area of climatotherapy. She is convinced that the forest climate has health-promoting elements. Depending on whether you are in a deciduous, mixed or coniferous forest, however, the climate differs. Schuh recommends visiting spa forests for a particularly relaxing effect.
The first spa and medicinal forest in Europe was opened on Usedom in early 2017. The Strandhotel Ostseeblick offers active forest wellness here. On guided walks, the hotel's guests get to know the beneficial combination of sea and forest air. At various stations, the senses are stimulated and with exercises such as walking backwards or balancing skills are practised which are far too short in everyday life. The wellness hotel also has a staff member trained as a forest therapist. This person will then use the forest specifically for prevention and health promotion and, for example, strengthen the back or eyes with the guests.
Intensive and authentic forest bathing packages: more forest is not possible
Nature does not have to be unspoilt to have a positive effect on people. Even city parks can have a relaxing effect during a walk in the lunch break. This is fortunate, because original virgin forest areas are rare in Germany. The Bavarian Forest National Park is an exception.
Christa Grassl, senior manager at the Sport- und Ferienhotel Riedlberg, has been going there for 40 years, time and again, into the forest right next to the house. She has long been smiled at for the fact that she finds new energy and solutions to problems there. Today that is different. In the meantime the hotel offers theme weeks for forests bathing and the weekly activity programme also includes mindful visits to the forest. Listening to the sounds of the forest, picking up a stone or a cone and walking barefoot over moss: All this is well received by the guests. In contrast to a hike or mountain biking, nature is explored without a goal or sporting pressure to perform. The focus is on taking time and letting go.
In addition, guests at the Riedlberg hotel can also feel nature in a special way in the spa. This is made possible by a special treatment inspired by Celtic mythology. The Celts assigned trees very special powers and characteristics. Similar to the horoscope, they associated each date of birth with a tree. The "Celtic-Lifetree Massage ®" focuses on this tree of life of the guest. During the treatment a CD with the sound of the vibrations of this tree is played. Sometimes strange, but for many guests also very special sounds fill the room. The inclusion of the four elements should ground the guest. "The massage itself is like a special walk through the forest" Christa Grassl tells about her favourite treatment. By using wooden sticks and fresh branches of the Douglas fir it almost feels like strolling through the undergrowth. A special spruce oil exudes a needle-like forest scent.
Forest bathing packages at the wellness hotel
The Hotel Heinz in the Westerwald shows that forest bathing can be implemented in the wellness hotel from uncomplicated to extensive. Hammocks have been set up on the hotel's own forest and meadow grounds. On the meadow, by the brook or under tall trees: here, everyone can find their personal place of well-being in nature. The hammocks are so popular with guests and passing hikers that they can now be used all year round and have been replaced several times.
If you want to experience nature even more intensively, you can currently book the "Experience the power of nature" package. The varied programme includes a walking meditation in nature, an outdoor mindfulness exercise and a twilight walk, during which many participants perceive almost forgotten sounds and moods. "We have been offering such things for years," reports Christina Heinz, junior manager of the wellness hotel. "But now, thanks to the trend of Forest bathing packages, we are reaching new people who were previously not open to these offers".
Waldbaden on a wellness holiday
The aim of a weekend or some days with forest bathing is not to reach a certain place but to arrive at oneself.
Mindfulness, experiences in nature, conscious breathing and Co.: What is constantly popping up in the media under different names is part of the Wellness lifestyle. Many wellness hotels have been offering elements for years now that are in line with these trends. If you would like to experience forest bathing or the like during your wellness holiday, it is best to simply ask at the hotel. Often the staff will give you good tips on how to get an impression.
All wellness hotels & resorts are situated in a natural environment, so that nature experiences always play an important role in a wellness holiday. If you want to get a deeper impression of Forest bathing packages, it is best to book a special offer on the subject.
Our Forest bathing-Tips for youSee you later
A tip for anyone that just needs to take a deep breath. Close your eyes for a moment and let your mind wander. Think back to a time in which you were truly happy, reminisce, pause, take a deep breath and get back to reality a lot more relaxed.
If you are running on unpaved surfaces, you are not necessarily going astray but might be participating in the sport trail running. That stimulates body and mind and on top of that helps improving performance and focus.
Geocaching - this connects the internet with outside activities. During the hike, you use GPS coordinates to search for a treasure (often in branches, caves or forests). In Germany there are many maps for it, from East Frisia up to the Allgäu. Just have a look at www.geocaching.de and go on a scavenger hunt.