Moutain guide, wellness trainer
- For you, Epinal Tourisme is: Green tourism, rediscovering the forest, quiet and nature
- Your favorite local dish is: What we call “munster coiffé”
- Your favorite local touristic place is: Le Sentier de la Grenouille
The principles of sylvotherapy
If you like hiking, even occasionally, surely you know the growing feeling of wellness that goes with it, an emotion which is hard to explain…
Looking for the beneficial effects of walking in the forest on the body and the mind has a name: sylvotherapy. It was proven scientifically and it works. When walking, you are breathing in phytoncides, which reduce stress, tension, heart rate … so it improves the feeling of wellness. We are taken to forest paths with Albane, mountain guide who is used to organising these “wellness” hikes.
Albane tells us: “It’s about asking yourself about the way you move, it’s not just just walking for the sake of it. For many people, sylvotherapy consists in hugging trees only. That’s not all there is to it… During my walks, I include voluntary calm breaks with moments of active meditation. I invite people to become aware of the way they breathe, the way they walk: their pace, the way they hold their head, their stride, their core strength… All these elements are a good indicator of their state of mind but also of their level of stress…”
Bringing body and mind back together
A group of around six people starts the wellness hike. After more than half an hour, Albane suggests that they stop and close their eyes… This is Morgane’s first experience of sylvotherapy, and she says: “When you close your eyes, you find yourself a lot more receptive and aware of all the elements that surround you: you can hear the leaves falling from the tree next to you, the branches criss-crossing each other… you can even feel the insects buzzing around you.”
Everyone already felt receptive to this first step and starts walking again, impatient to live the next experience…
The effects of nature felt instantly
Albane seizes the opportunity of the walk to share her knowledge on nature: “It allows us to understand a bit more about the environment that surrounds us”, she explains.
After walking for one or two miles, Albane invites everyone to choose a tree and explore it. She asks them to look at it, to contemplate it: is it old? Tall? Healthy? What is it telling us?
Everyone creates the relationship they want with their new partner: when one feels energy, others just let go and unload, emotionally and psychologically.
Albane confirms: “Sylvotherapy walks are never similar. Although everyone seeks serenity and relaxation, each individual works differently depending on what they have to give and what they can take.”
This is now Fabian’s turn, who is already a fan of the concept, to try and put words on what he is feeling: “It’s incredible and hard to define, I’m calmed down so quickly and I feel safe. If you manage to create a connexion with the trees, you realise how strong the energy that comes from them is!”
And he adds: “If the sensation is inexplicable, the feeling itself is true… You reach a state of full conscience that you can’t reach in your everyday life.”
Maybe it is because sylvotherapy provides, almost immediately, this feeling of letting go and wellness that is it more and more popular…
One thing is certain for the group of wellness hikes enthusiasts: the walk Albane offered them is unforgettable…