In contemporary society, we are everywhere, but we are not really anywhere, said Josephine Soffia, co-founder of Be Forest

Forest medicine is the philosophy behind the practice of forest bathing. The environment has a direct impact on people’s health. Forest medicine promotes contact with nature to improve health. Forest bathing is a special practice that facilitates increased contact with nature.

Many scientific research studies have shown that forest bathing can have a number of health benefits, including reducing stress, improving cardiovascular health, strengthening the immune system, improving mood and enhancing overall well-being. The practice not only promotes physical health, but also has a positive impact on mental health, helping to reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve mental clarity and concentration.

We spoke with Josephine Soffia, co-founder of Be Forest, a company that specialises in forest medicine and forest baths:

“We are a group of neuropsychologists, pedagogues and nutritionists working to improve people’s health and happiness by enhancing their physical and emotional well-being. Be Forest specialises in what we call “immersing people in forest and natural areas.”

A number of scientific studies indicate that when we are in contact with natural areas, our brains relax, allowing us to work on many aspects on which our quality of life depends. The loss of connection, or the opportunity to spend more time in nature, has severely damaged our health and well-being, as our body needs to synchronise with it and be able to recover.

If we are not very close to nature, our health is weaker.

Our services are offered to schools and companies in the health tourism sector. We develop and implement forest bathing treatments using a special innovative methodology inspired by neuropsychology, always focusing on emotion management, social skills development and conflict resolution. Through this holistic approach we aim to promote people’s emotional and physical wellbeing.

All the programmes we develop are different, and we tailor them to each individual or group. Not everyone can be given the same thing. Also, in all the programmes we show the importance of working to conserve, restore and consciously manage our environment.

We have two formats of work: the first is forest baths, which can be used as a one-off or recurring experience (one per month, one per year, etc.). The second format is to hold masterclasses on a particular theme. We always try to hold these outdoors, but we are adaptable.

These workshops aim to provide new tools to improve people’s wellbeing and are theoretical and practical in nature, meaning that we impart this new knowledge, as well as an experimental part where you can apply what you have learnt.

In contemporary society, we are constantly torn between work, family and other responsibilities. We are everywhere, but we are not really anywhere. This lack of attention and connection leads us to disharmony and disconnection. We also stop talking to and understanding each other, which is fundamental to the well-being of society as a whole.

A guided forest bath allows us to anchor ourselves in the present, reorientate and reconnect with those around us. It is an experience that helps to remove distractions and be truly present in the moment. At the same time, it strengthens social bonds and the foundations upon which harmonious coexistence is maintained.

A forest bath with Be Forest is a bridge between two worlds. On the one hand, there is fatigue, lack of appetite, boredom, bad mood, stress and loss of motivation. On the other is harmony, creativity, calm and temperance. In just one session we move from one coast to the other.

Forest baths offer a unique opportunity to connect with nature and restore inner balance. At each session, participants have the opportunity to leave behind their worries and the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in a peaceful and restorative natural environment. Through the practice of mindfulness and connection to nature, forest bathing can help restore peace of mind, improve mood and promote a renewed sense of well-being.

I agree that such a changeover can be a useful strategy to reduce the environmental impact of our leisure time. Disconnecting from mobile phones and social media while on holiday can provide a greater connection with nature and the environment, as well as promoting a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. It is amazing how children, when in a pleasant and stimulating environment, can forget about their phones for long periods of time. Parents are often surprised to find that their children don’t pick up the phone for three hours while they are enjoying the activities on our family programme. This reaction clearly shows a positive shift towards deeper engagement with the environment and other participants, a perspective that inspires and encourages us.

Globally, there is a clear trend towards more sustainable and environmentally responsible tourism.
In Switzerland, for example, several social programmes have been launched over the years to promote sustainable mobility and reduce carbon emissions, including prioritising and, in some cases, mandating, the use of public transport.

At a local level, we have the example of Val d’Incles (Andorra), where measures have been taken to regulate vehicle entry and reduce pollution. During the summer, car access to the valley is restricted and electric transport is made available to visitors. These initiatives exemplify efforts to promote more sustainable mobility and reduce the environmental impact of tourism.

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