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Forest Bathing

Meander through clearings, stretch out underneath the treetops or simply breathe in the scent of the leaves and the fresh mountain air. «Shinrin-yoku», or «forest bathing», is a very popular form of nature therapy in Japan. Sports scientist Anne-Marie Flammersfeld calls this technique «natural awareness».

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´We observe, analyse, describe and make a connection with thoughts and images from our everyday lives. Positive psychology is so important here, with the focus on all the best bits of being human like happiness, optimism, feelings of safety and security, trust and confidence. Spending time surrounded by nature empowers and grounds us, whilst providing healing power on all levels.´

´All you need to indulge in a spot of forest bathing is a forest and yourself. In fact, it may be best to take a group of good friends with you to start with. That way, you can all discuss what you saw and share your own interpretations later. But remember that this is not a time to be thinking about sport!´

´Children have a wonderfully imaginative way of looking at the world. And so if you are accompanied by a little forest guide, you’re sure to be amazed at the things you see that you’d have otherwise missed or looked at in a different way.´

“The number one rule is to go slow. Every movement needs to be slowed right down and you need to give your eyes plenty of time to take in the forest setting.”

The idea is to be present and stop thinking. It’s important to be curious, attentive and open-minded

´As soon as I get out into nature, I become so much more aware of my surroundings. I notice minute details that make me smile and help me to feel grounded. Forest air contains 90% fewer dust particles than city air. Is it really any wonder that the forest has an almost magical appeal?´

´The forest absorbs chemical neurotransmitters, also known as terpenes, which act like a catalyst in the body. They strengthen the immune system, the mind and the nervous system. A study conducted in 1984 found that a view of nature was enough to have a positive impact on the recovery process of patients who had just come out of surgery.´

´You could even try walking barefoot on the ground to feel the woodland properly beneath your feet. It doesn’t actually matter if you are in a city park or a mountain forest. In fact, you’d be surprised by the wonderful things you can discover on a balcony filled with plants!´

Anne-Marie Flammersfeld
Sports scientist

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