The summer forest offers us great conditions for boosting health and energy, and there are plenty of opportunities for forest therapy in the close vicinity of Prague, often surrounded by natural and protected forests. One of them is the Chuchelský háj reserve.
Forest therapy, based on the Japanese tradition of the so-called forest bath (Shinrin-yoku), is a scientifically proven way to calm and slow down the human mind, reduce stress and the burden of civilization, strengthen the immune system and improve many other mental and physical functions through undemanding activities in a natural environment. The therapy takes the form of a guided, very peaceful and unhurried walk with many stops to explore and expand our connection to nature using our senses. The aim is to jump out of the usual fast-paced rhythm of life and focus on the present moment, in which the forest and nature is a natural support – a therapist. The duration is about 3 hours and it is a physically undemanding activity suitable for almost everyone, including seniors. In contrast to a normal forest walk, we will be doing activities that we probably have not done in nature since childhood, but are natural and very beneficial to humans – perceiving nature and our connection to it through our 7 (and sometimes more) senses as well as our heart and intuition, our imagination and other abilities that we don’t usually consciously use in our normal, hectic lives.
Forest therapy results in significant calming and relaxation, accompanied by many health and mental health benefits – strengthening the immune system, lowering cortisol levels, restoring relaxed attention and creativity, and much more.
Most people have discovered the benefits of spending time in nature over the course of their lives and, fortunately, occasionally venture out into it themselves. Although they do get a health effect from the terpenes (chemical compounds) secreted by trees, they don’t usually engage in the very activities on their own that would allow them to relax much more through a deep connection with nature and do even more for their health and calming. Like yoga, for example, or the aforementioned meditation, forest therapy is a practice, not just a one-off event. And as with any practice, it is possible to improve gradually, which is helpful to do with someone experienced.
Forest therapy is not about a coach or teacher, but a guide, because the therapist in this case is the forest itself. A certified guide opens the door to it by inviting you to do activities to slow down and feel the present moment with all the senses at your disposal (and there are more than just five). He is able to do this thanks to long and thoughtful training and his own experience, with which he approaches each situation individually. Then, of course, you can use the elements from Forest Therapy in your everyday life and develop them yourself (and it’s very rewarding!), but if you want further inspiration, you can use the guide repeatedly, because each Forest Therapy session is unique, even if it takes place in the same place.
Forest Therapy takes place in all weathers, so please consider the forecast and dress well and wear footwear or a raincoat.
Parking is available on site – I will send you more detailed instructions regarding transport and preparation once you have paid the entrance fee.