Forest Therapy

Forest 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. This, however, is only my interpretation of the concept.

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 at least 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 or foreign certification, some draw from their professional background as nature guides, life coaches, their cultural traditions and 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 practice 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 (a term I have first heard being referred to in Amos Clifford´s book Your guide to Forest Bathing) 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 guides and the collaboration between the guides. 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.

ForestFores

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 as they are. 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: per request anywhere

Languages:  English, Nederlands, Suomi

Website: http://www.natureminded.be

Email: katriina@natureminded.be

 

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

Website: http://www.shinrin-yoku.be, http://www.levenswandel.be

Email: ingeborg@levenswandel.be

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-o

ut, 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: http://www.foresterra.be (under construction)

Email: ann_tilman@hotmail.com

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

Website: http://www.actifcoaching.be

Email: info@actifcoaching.be

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.

Website: https://www.natureetconscience.be

Email: contact@natureetconscience.be

 

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

 

Emmy Schockaert: Bostherapie – natuurcoaching

Background/inspiration/training: Na het volgen van verscheidene opleidingen, waar de natuur steeds een centrale rol innam, richtte Emmy Barrevoets op. Barrevoets is een bundeling van haar aanbod als natuurgids-herborist-natuurcoach-bostherapie gids. Via Barrevoets wil ze een zachte schakel zijn in het verbinden van de mens met de natuur en zijn natuurlijke zelf. Waarbij tijdens het coachen de klemtoon ligt op het coachen zelf ligt het accent bij de bostherapie eerder op meditatief in het bos zijn en deel worden van de omgeving. 

What to expect: Uit het hoofd en in het bos. Verbinding met de natuur en je natuurlijke zelf. Een bad van tijdloosheid en opladende ontspanning. 

For whom: Voor iedereen die kampt met stress gerelateerde aandoeningen zoals overmatig piekeren, slapeloosheid, overprikkeling, vermoeidheid, enzoverder. Voor mensen die op zoek zijn naar meer verbinding met zichzelf en de natuur, zingeving. Voor jong en oud.

Where: Bossen in de Vlaamse Ardennen
Languages:
Email: info@barrevoets.be

Phone: 0485103206

 

 

Nolwenn Lécuyer – Guide en Sylvothérapie et facilitatrice forestière

Background/inspiration/training: Nolwenn Lécuyer est ingénieur agronomie spécialisée dans les sols; après 20 d’expériences professionnelle comme coordinatrice de projets dans les matières environnementales (pollution des sols; lutte contre le changement climatique; études d’impact environnementales) et manager dans différentes organisations privées et publiques, elle s’oriente vers l’accompagnement des personnes et la facilitation dans les groupes en milieu forestier. Elle est coach, facilitatrice et guide certifiée en Shinrin Yoku et se positionne comme éclaireuse des liens entre la nature – et particulièrement la forêt- et les humain.e.s. Elle propose des “bains de forêt” (sylvothérapie japonaise), des bains en eaux naturelles froides (inspirés de la méthode Wim Hof), des marches coachées et des stages, des we et séjours à la demande d’organisations et de publics cibles. 

What to expect: La forêt nous offre de nombreux bienfaits sur notre santé mentale et physique. Elle nous aide à revenir à nous-mêmes, pour mieux nous relier aux autres et à la nature. La respecter est aussi nous respecter. Nolwenn Lécuyer accompagne le travail individuel et en groupe vers un vécu concret de cette connexion que nous avons avec la nature, conscientise sur les bienfaits de la nature sur notre santé et les fait vivre par l’expérience en forêt. Elle est guide, coach et facilitatrice mais pas thérapeute puisque c’est la forêt qui offre de multiples bienfaits.

For whom: Nolwenn Lécuyer est cofondatrice de la Fédération Européenne des Guides Francophones de Shinrin Yoku-Bain de Forêt

Where: Forêt de Soignes (Bruxelles); différents forêt en Région Wallonne; Forêt de Brocéliande (Bretagne – France);

Languages: Français, Allemand, Anglais et Italien
Email: njlecuyer@gmail.com
Phone: +32493439692
 

 

Muriel Vastenaekel – Unlock Potential

Background/inspiration/training: I grew up amidst fields where my parents and
grandparents attended to the crops. Throughout my life, nature has been my salvation,
also when I struggled with a burnout. This inspired me to become a coach/trainer at the
holistic BAO-Elan Vital institute and accompany people struggling in professional and
private life. Intuitively I took people outdoor into natural environments and noticed the
benefits. 2018 has been a culminating point: participating in the inspirational IFTDays#1 and getting certified as Resultaatgericht Wandelcoach with Wandelcoach.nl. I share this
inspiration and these insights during coaching and Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing)
sessions.

What to expect: Slowing down and recharging through connection with nature, often
accompanied by self-discovery, inner peace and discovery of new pathways to unlock
your life’s potential. Longer breaks are also organised in retreats abroad.

For whom: Adults longing to slow down, having doubts/questions or are eager to
deepen their connection with nature. Individual or group sessions.

Where: Dilbeek, Vlaams Brabant, per request anywhere
Languages: English, Dutch, French
Website: http://www.unlockpotential.be
Email: muriel@ unlockpotential.be

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