Waldbaden oder Shinrin-Yoku: ein Erfahrungsbericht - NIKIN EU

Forest bathing or Shinrin-Yoku: an experience report

Walking through the forest, off the beaten path, being in the silence, touching the moss and branches and breathing consciously: that's forest bathing. Mindful “bathing” in the forest comes from Japan, but you can also experience it in Switzerland. We tried it.

«Do we need swimming gear?» Fabian from NIKIN's TIKTok department accompanies me to the forest bathing and asks me about it in advance. In fact, the “bathing” in the word is a bit misleading. So let me tell you right from the start: you can go forest bathing in full gear and without a life jacket. Because it's about walking through the forest with mindfulness and, as tour guide Roland explains to me at the end of the experience, "about coming down". Aha, all clear. But let's start at the beginning.

Roland und Peter

Learn mindfulness with the forest office

Forest bathing comes from Japan and is called Shinrin-Yoku there. If you would like to find out more about the history and the different providers, I recommend this article. For our first forest bathing experience, we decided on a tour from the Forest Office . Roland (picture above, left) and Peter (picture above, right) offer forest office spaces as well as forest bathing and forest mindfulness tours on their website. For both of them, this is a matter of the heart, as Peter explains to me with a smile right from the start, because: “What you value, you protect. That's why we want to bring people back into the forest.» The forest for our experience is located at Muhen AG. The two professional forest ambassadors (as it says on the official business card) have other locations.

Wald riechen

Touch moss and eat bark

The exact start of the mindfulness tour is a forest house. From there we continue relaxedly into the forest on a wide, well-worn path. Then Peter suddenly turns into knee-high bushes. I'm a bit surprised and look a bit skeptical, but Roland says: "Just check for the ticks later." Written down. In fact, just a few meters into the “wild” forest, the undergrowth thins out considerably and now I am walking softly on old leaves and small green plants. Our tour guides encourage us to walk carefully, i.e. to be aware of every step. Moss and leaves should be touched or smelled. This reminds me of my childhood, when I was always curious and could spend hours obsessing over the smallest things. Then Roland hands me a piece of bark and says enthusiastically: “You can also taste wood, so you can perceive the forest in a completely different way.» Fabian is even more enthusiastic about this suggestion than Roland. His comment: “Do it for TikTok!”



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Be aware of the silence

In fact, the piece of wood is quite okay, especially since you can spit it out again. However, what comes next is what I like best and probably falls into the category of traditional forest bathing. Our tour guides bring out small mats and instruct us to sit quietly in the forest for 10 minutes and breathe consciously. At the beginning I'm a little stiff, but then I relax and listen to the silence, which isn't actually so quiet after all. Because everywhere you discover noises, life and little things, like a spider on the forest floor, that I had previously overlooked. When I tell the group this, Peter nods in agreement and explains: “There are over 7 million organisms in one piece of earth. A forest is full of hidden life.»


Seeing the forest in the mirror

Now we continue, but this time blindfolded to enhance our other senses. Then we get a small mirror that you hold either under or over your eyes. This exercise is also about focusing entirely on the forest and your senses. Finally, together we create a forest picture made of branches, stones and leaves.
“Well, how do you feel after forest bathing?” Roland asks the group at the end. In fact, after over an hour in the forest, I am more relaxed than before and feel very peaceful. «The forest has this influence on us. After just 10-15 minutes in the forest, the body releases relaxation hormones,” the two forest ambassadors explain to us. On the way home, Fabian asked me if I would go forest bathing again. Sure, because it's true, the forest gets you down. But I'll skip eating the bark next time.

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