Forest Therapy

IMG_20180810_163722Forest therapy (aka shinrin yoku, forest bathing, forest mindfulness, forest mind,…) has also set foot in Belgium.

Shinrin yoku – forest bathing –  means bathing in the forest air by  using all of our five senses, while walking  slowly and mindfully, paying attention to the sights, sounds, smells and the way different surfaces, such as tree trunks, stones, or the wind on your cheek, feel and even taste. As a result, our bodies relax and finally, also the mind relaxes and clarifies.

I prefer to use the term forest therapy for a few reasons:  firstly, because term therapy underlines the evidence based healing properties of the forest, for prevention of disease but not (yet) for treatment. Secondly, in forest therapy, forest does the healing while the human is the facilitator, not the therapist. As in hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and the likes, the first part of the word points to the tool. In forest therapy, forest is the healer whose role in this process should not be undermined. However, licenced couselors and therapists can take their clients into the forest. This might then be called therapy in the forest.

Forest therapy happens mostly in silence, which helps you to turn your attention to the surroundings and your own feelings at the moment. Forest therapy does not necessarily cover long distances, but lasts atleast 2, preferably more hours.

As our lives and lifestyles demand us to be constantly present in the planning of the next moment, or mulling over the past, we seldom have the time  –   or  we lack the skill –  to be here and now. That is where the guide comes in: to show you the way and to act as the gentle speedbump on your way to keep you from rushing. The guide helps you to tune in to the forest by way of exercises or invitations. The type of activities vary from guide to guide and the level of sharing in the group varies as well.

On this page we list a number of guides who are guiding forest therapy walks in different parts of Belgium in their own unique ways. Some have an international certification, some draw from their background as nature guides, life coaches, cultural traditions or their own life experiences. What is common to all these guides is that they draw from the healing properties of the forest; they facilitate a full sensory experience to restore our mental capacities and they pracice in a sustainable way, showing their respects to the environment where they guide in, and finally – and most importantly – attempt to bring those they walk with, closer to the more-than-human world in order to strenghten that connection for quality of life for the entire planet.

The idea of this list is to help this practice spread and develop by promoting the practices and collaboration among the practitioners. All guides operate independently from each other. Take a look and contact a guide near you! To have your details added to the list, fill in your information here.


Katriina Kilpi: Forest Mind

Background/inspiration/training: Forest is my place of refuge, the safe heaven where mind and body calm down and everything falls into place. Being in the forest is consoling: it is a sacred place where one is always welcome. Forest Mind provides me with the tools to offer a glimpse of the magic I have learnt by listening to the forest. Forest Mind shows you a possible way, the rest is up to you.

What to expect: Moment of peace and calm, seeing the forest in a new way and maybe seeing yourself in a new light too.

For whom: Stressed out individuals, anyone looking for a new experience/ to experience the forest alone/wanting a break from the rat race/ longing for silence/longing for more energy; nature lovers, small groups of children (no more than 5).

Where: Merelbeke/Munte, per request anywhere

Languages:  English, Nederlands, Suomi




Ingeborg Verplancke: Shinrin-Yoku/bosbaden met Levenswandel

Background/inspiration/training: As a guide in life, I accompany people in natural coaching sessions in a natural setting such as the forest. I learnt that nature speaks to us in metaphors and that communication with nature can easily reconnect us to our own nature. Whereas in natural coaching, I focus on personal issues, Shinrin-Yoku practice is transpersonal. It provides tools for self-exploration, it is enriching and empowering.

What to expect: Reconnecting to (our) nature

For whom: Young and old(er), everyone in need of connection and mental detox, everyone with stress-related issues, burn-out prevention

Where: Muziekbos, Hoppebos, ….

Languages: Nederlands, English, Français



Tel: 00 32 474333573


Ann Tilman

Background/Inspiration/TrainingAssociation of Nature and Forest Therapy / ANFT certified guide. Inspired by childhood experiences and the pure simplicity of nature.

What to expect: A down-to-earth experience, the freedom of time-out, serenity.

For whom: People that need a break or that feel disconnected from nature.

Where:Middelheim Park, Plantentuin Meise, Verbeke Foundation, Ark van Noë, Liereman, Uilenbos, Giardino di Spoerri, Arte Sella (ITA)

Language: Dutch, French, English, Italian

Website: (under construction)


Tel: 0032 477 84 91 97


Linda Desmet: ACI

Background/Inspiration/Training:  Outdoor coach

What to expect: 2 hours of forest bathing, theeceremonie en een hapje

For whom: Everyone

Where: Troostembergbos, Tielt-Winge

Language: Dutch



Tel: 0032496 252399


Gregory Herbrand: Nature & Conscience

Background/inspiration/training:  Nature & Conscience was founded in 2018 by Gregory Herbrand. Gregory is a coach in training at the BAO-Elan Vital Institute in Brussels, he is also trained in mindfulness (Vipassana, MBSR) and has been practicing meditation for more than 10 years. After traveling for a few months in India and Tibet, on the Siddharta trails, Gregory decides to bring back and transmit what he has discovered during his travels: the initiation to the practice of mindfulness, organized in a natural environment, locally.

What to expect : Nature & Conscience proposes activities and short stays in the Ardennes, in Brussels and beyond our borders, where one can enter in connection with nature, in the heart of the forest, in the beautiful environment of the Ardennes or the Sonian Forest, or in the mountains in the Swiss Alps or in the Pyrenees. On the program: practice of meditation, Shinrin Yoku walks or Forest Bathing, healthy eating, rediscovering one’s senses, a night in a chalet in a quiet forest, in an ecological and local context.

For whom: Everyone

Where: Brussels (Sonian Forest), Belgian Ardennes, Swiss Alps, Pyrenees

Languages: French, English.




Somaya Verstyn

Background/inspiration/training:  Natuur en dieren spelen al van kleinsaf aan een belangrijke rol in mijn leven. Nochtans speelde mijn werk als therapeute (basisopleidingen ergotherapie en kinesitherapie) zich vooral binnen de muren. De bijkomende opleidingen rond stressrelease en kinesiologie openden niet alleen de deur in mezelf maar opende (door mijn oefeningen in de natuur toe te passen) een deur in de verbinding met de “more than human world”. Mijn intuïtie om de natuur te integreren in mijn werk en de vele literatuur die dit bevestigden, maar ook de workshops creations in nature, animal communication and nature connection zorgden ervoor dat ik sinds 2017 de eerste stappen zette om mensen in de natuur te begeleiden.

What to expect: Mijn focus = vertragen, ont-moeten en verbinden met het lichaam en de natuur als wegwijzer naar groei en je essentie.

For whom: Via de natuurverbindingsactiviteiten wil ik mensen (kinderen, jongeren en volwassenen) ondersteunen “gezond te zijn” in verbinding met zichzelf, de ander en de aarde. Ik wil mensen begeleiden om in harmonie te zijn met de stroom van het leven; beschikken over een rustige, harmonieuze energie, mentale helderheid en veerkracht, leren omgaan met stresssituaties, emotionele stabiliteit, fysieke gezondheid en weerbaarheid. Ik ondersteun zowel preventief in het behoud van gezondheid door de natuur als spiegel te gebruiken naar bewustwording, persoonlijke ontwikkeling en natuurverbinding. Daarnaast wil ik ook mensen ondersteunen in het “herstel van hun gezondheid”, mensen met stressgerelateerde klachten: hoge mate van stress in het dagelijks leven, burn-out, bore-out, slaapmoeilijkheden, chronisch vermoeidheids-syndroom, depressie, psychosomatische klachten, … Kinderen en jongeren met leermoeilijkheden, faalangst, hooggevoeligheid, laag zelfbeeld, …

Where: Drongengoedbos, Gentbos, Heidebos, Het Leen, Bos ‘t Ename, Bruinbos, …

Languages: French, English.



Phone: +32486161969




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