Intrigued? So were we when we first discovered this unusual Japanese forest therapy. “Forest bathing” or shinrin-yoku as it is known to the Japanese, is a relatively new practice to the Western world and perfect for couples seeking the ultimate in relaxation and recuperation. The idea is simple- research shows that immersing yourself amongst the trees has multiple health benefits such as boosting your immune system and reducing anxiety levels. Japan is of course the original forest bathing destination however there are many places around the world where you can experience the healing power of trees, so here are our suggestions of the World’s best places to experience forest bathing.
Ancient Kauri Forests – North Island, New Zealand
Take a tour and immerse yourselves amongst the ancient Kauri forests of New Zealand. In the Waipoua Forest in Northland, it is still possible to find not only young kauri, but the two largest remaining specimens. While exploring the forest you can see Tane Mahuta (whose name means Lord of the Forest) and is estimated to be 2000 years old. You can also see Te Matua Ngahere (meaning Father of the Forest) which is up to 3000 years old, though is not as tall as Tane Mahuta. After taking in the magnificence of the forest it’s still possible to wander in the and see younger kauri trees and other species of Northland’s bush.
For more information please visit www.silverfernholidays.com
Adler Dolomiti – Italy
Hugging a tree could seriously improve the quality of your life as Adler Dolomiti’s “Yoga & the Healing Power of Trees” package sets out to demonstrate. Surprised? Don’t be. Trees have amazing therapeutic qualities and many of today’s pharmaceuticals are derived from trees.
In the early 1980s, Japanese scientists discovered that simply inhaling the aromas produced by trees could immunise the body against disease. Phytonicides, which trees emit to protect themselves from harmful insects and germs, have strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities when inhaled by humans.
To exploit the vitality provided by trees, Adler Dolomiti’s “Yoga & the Healing Power of Trees” includes two sessions of outdoor yoga amid the outstanding natural beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Italian Dolomites that will help to re-charge couples batteries, while helping to establish inner harmony and peace. On the walk to the outdoor spot chosen for yoga, guests will be introduced to the theory of silvotherapy (the art of healing the body by harnessing the energy of the trees). The three-night half-board package also includes two afternoon (indoor) yoga sessions, detoxifying herbal teas and access to the hotel’s extensive spa and wellness programmes.
Available for one weekend only, from 21 to 24 September, the package costs from Euros 554 per person sharing a double room. For more information or to book please visit www.adler-dolomiti.com/en/cst/angebot-68371-yoga-the-healing-power-of-trees.html
Bürgenstock Resort – Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
Set in 148 acres of incredible alpine forest The 5* Waldhotel opens in this month and will be a revolutionary wellness centre. Based on the long-respected belief of convalescing in scenic surroundings, the hotel is located in an area of natural beauty, enjoying fresh alpine air. This high class healthy living destination will offer extraordinary levels of care, focusing on the specific needs of patients and guests.
For more information, please visit buergenstock.ch/en
British Columbia, Canada
Bringing mindfulness to British Columbia, Haida Bolton, BC’s first Forest Therapy Guide promotes the popular concept of Shinrin-Yoku; the Japanese practice of Forest Bathing through her organisation on the Sunshine Coast. Bolton’s practice encourages visitors to take slow, mindful walks through the forest. She also runs classes in Parksville on Vancouver Island with Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours, taking guests on gentle off-the-beaten-track walks through old-growth forest. In conjunction with Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours, Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre offers a Reconnect Package that includes accommodation and a two-to-three-hour forest bathing tour in addition to mineral pool access at the resort’s Grotto Spa.
Forest Therapy Retreats must be booked direct with Nature with Haida – International flights and transfers are not included. For more information please visit http://naturewithhaida.ca/retreats-and-events/ or www.hellobc.co.uk
La Clairière Bio & Spahotel – France
La Clairière is set into a wooded hill side in the stunning Vosges du Nord. The forest is a UNESCO bio diverse reserve consisting of oak, beech, pine and alder trees. The resort draws its influence in all areas from the forest; from the structure of its buildings, the atmosphere of the spa to the luxurious menu in the restaurant, everything has a feeling of natural simplicity and elegance. Feel at one with your partner and with nature as you engage in Shinrin-yoku; a stress reducing forest bathing practice. This technique has been proven to hold many health benefits including strengthening the immune system, lowering blood pressure and creating an overall better balance of emotions. This secluded woodland heaven will make you feel closer to nature whilst still enjoying the home comforts of an outstanding luxury spa holiday.
Health and Fitness Travel (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com) offers 7 nights at La Clairière from £1,560pp or £1,625 for single occupancy. Price includes accommodation, full board, return flights and transfers.
For advice, guidance and booking visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com or call 0203 397 8891.
Golden Triangle Region, Thailand
Tucked away in the historic Golden Triangle region, Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle is the perfect place for couples looking to escape. Couples can enjoy bespoke luxury and unforgettable experiences in a wondrous jungle hideaway. The unspoiled nature makes the camp an ideal choice for some serious wellness indulgence. The Spa’s traditional massages and innovative rituals are inspired by mountain botanicals, local warming spices, and precious gems and minerals found in the Golden Triangle. The open-air spa in the middle of the jungle allows guests to truly relax amongst the glimmering bamboo trees and the sounds of the wild. Couples can also have the opportunity to discover the integral role of elephants in the region’s culture, and experience their unforgettable charm as they roam around the grounds of the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle.
The Tented Camp is the first all-inclusive Camp for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. The Camp offers two-, three- and four-night packages that include a comprehensive list of activities for great natural wildlife holidays.
Prices start at £2,100 for an all-inclusive stay. Please visit www.fourseasons.com/goldentriangle.
Hossa National Park – Finland
This year, Hossa was inaugurated as Finland’s 40th national park with over 90km of adventurous hiking and mountain biking trails. The new national park is approximately 11,000 hectares in total and is part of the Natura 2000 network of nature conservation areas in the European Union. Hossa also has many free, open wilderness huts where travellers can stay for the night. The huts are usually tucked away in the woods which means explorers have to delve deeper into the woods to find them. JoogaTaival, a wilderness wellness club offers a range of yoga and mindful activities in the heart of Hossa. Couples can leave their daily routine behind, clear their minds and reconnect while breathing in some of the world’s cleanest air. The JoogaTaival Wilderness Bath programme includes relaxing sauna yoga in the Karhunkainalo campsite, hiking through the natural path of Huosilampi and a guided tour to the park’s stunning lake and ridge views.
The JoogaTaival Wilderness Bath programme runs from June to September and costs €30 per person (joogataival.fi/). Stay at Hossa Lomakeskus next to Hossanjarvi lake, with prices from €70 per night (lasaretti.com/en). Finnair flies from London, Manchester and Edinburgh, via Helsinki to Kuusamo with fares starting from £225 return in Economy Class including all taxes and charges. (finnair.com/ 0208 0 010101). See visitfinland.com/ for more information on Finland.
Lime Wood – New Forest, England
Lime Wood, a boutique hotel, is set in the heart of the New Forest National Park, 1.5 miles from the small town of Lyndhurst and just an hour and a half drive from London. It is a luxury hotel with a difference.
Lime Wood’s luxurious spa, the Herb House, is a three storey destination spa dedicated to natural wellbeing that has, without question, significantly raised the bar for destination spas around the world. Inspired by its forest surroundings the Herb House naturally invites a sense of calm and serenity, bringing clients the ultimate rejuvenating retreat. Its unique forest setting allows for couples to feel as though they’re ‘bathing in nature’.
For more information please visit www.limewoodhotel.co.uk
Trout Point Lodge – Nova Scotia, Canada
Luxury lodge Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada offers a forest bathing programme allowing guests to unwind in the fresh air surrounded by pristine forest. Guests can learn about local ecology and detoxify, enjoy a forest-side massage and foraging for edible treats. The lodge boasts an outdoor wooden hot tub and a riverside wood-fired barrel sauna that guests can relax in after a refreshing wild swim in the river.
Package details with Magnetic North Travel: Book STARGAZING WILDERNESS ADVENTURE AT TROUT POINT LODGE NOVA SCOTIA with Magnetic North Travel. This 3 night package starts at £995 per person based on two sharing (excluding international flights). For more information please visit https://www.magneticnorthtravel.com/tour/details/stargazing-adventure-wilderness-forest-spa-trout-point-lodge-nova-Scotia-Canada
Koh Phi Phi – Thailand
Koh Phi Phi’s holistic wellness approach relies on and harnesses the natural powers and exotic fragrances of Thailand. A haven of multi-sensory indulgences located in the heart of the Nopparattra National Park, Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort’s Wana Spa lies deep in within the unspoiled tropical jungle of Koh Phi Phi overlooking Loh Ba Gao Bay. Within their own wellbeing paradise of the Wana Spa, guests can look out over views of the famous limestone cliffs of the Phi Phi archipelago, abundant with lush vegetation and the surrounded by crystal clear blue waters.
For more information please visit https://www.phiphiislandvillage.com/
Want more forest inspiration? Check out Europe’s Most Enchanting Forests HERE