SylvothĂ©rapie en Alsace – Forest bathing

By Vivine
Updated on 2024-04-24

Why not try sylvotherapy in Alsace? This ancestral Japanese practice, also known as "Shinrin-yoku" or "forest bathing", involves plunging into nature to recharge one's batteries. If Alsace's vineyards are legendary, the region's forests are not to be outdone, offering an experience that awakens all your senses. Breathing in the fresh air scented by coniferous trees, listening to the melodious songs of birds or touching the rough texture of the bark of hundred-year-old trees, this is an experience to be had in Alsace! We've tested a number of places where you can enjoy sylvotherapy sessions.

Although she loves to travel the world, it's around a good tarte flambée that Vivine feels most at home. Enthusiastic, gourmand and daring, she's always on the lookout for new discoveries to share with her loved ones... and with you!

Dive into a forest bath in Wangenbourg


Do you know what sylvotherapy is? Forest therapy is commonly practiced in Japan (lucky the cuddly trees!) and it has ended up being trendy in our countries, so I had to try it out!

It’s in Wangenbourg, in one of my favorite forests in Alsace – wild and quick to access from Strasbourg – that I have an appointment with Laetitia Redel from Naturez-soi on a beautiful afternoon. Let’s go for 3 hours in a small group (10 people maximum) in a program called “Live your deep nature”.

As a busy city dweller, it is always a pleasure for me to go for a walk in nature, but this time it was something more profound that awaited me.

Although I am initiated to holistic methods, I must admit that at the beginning, it is necessary to show a certain letting go, without prejudice on “the illuminated ones of the forest”; it is the first phase of immersion in the session!

Then very quickly, we start to live the moment, get caught up in the game and accept the ten or so invitations that Laetitia offers us; I won’t spoil too much, but you will indeed have the opportunity to walk barefoot, discover the species of trees, connect with them, embrace them, meditate, respectfully activate your 5 senses.

It is quite surprising how naturally things happened, in complete confidence with our guide who is a true professional in sylvotherapy, reiki (energies), naturopathy, aromatherapy, whose advice she distils harmoniously.

The session ends with a convivial moment to anchor this wonderful experience in our memories. I’ll never walk in the forest like I used to! Are you ready for a plant ballet?

  • The deep and especially long-lasting well-being that the session brings
  • The flexibility of organization is necessary depending on the weather, but that’s nature!

Forest bathing at night in Northern Alsace


How about going for a forest bath? But no day, when it’s easy to have all your bearings. No, the sylvotherapy experience proposed by Manuela Peschmann, sophrologist and “forest therapist “, is even more unusual and disconcerting, as she offers you a nocturnal forest bath. Actually, both day and night forest baths are possible, but I chose to experience the night version, which intrigued me more.

An immersive sylvotherapy experience in the forest

Manuela offers forest baths lasting about 2 hours in the magnificent forests of the Vosges du Nord regional nature park, in La petite Pierre or in Sparsbach. If you know the area, you should be able to guess why this is the perfect setting! The forests there are beautiful. Manuela lives here and is a real enthusiast, who loves to share moments in the forest with the people participating in her activities.

In a small group, the idea of the forest bath is to take a walk in the forest punctuated by regular breaks and small exercises to become more grounded, to become aware of one’s body, to take a mental break to evacuate stress and to awaken one’s senses, without forgetting, of course, to appreciate the beauty and calm of the forest.

An immersive experience where contact with the forest becomes a source of well-being, going further than a simple walk. During the forest bath, we are really encouraged to become more aware of our surroundings. This is especially true when you participate in the night version: the light gradually declines and you can no longer rely on your sight… The other senses then take over!

Simple exercises to recharge your batteries

I don’t want to reveal everything because I find that the surprise of discovering the different exercises proposed is part of the experience, but I really enjoyed this forest bath: walking barefoot in the forest, listening to Manuela playing the drum in this wonderful setting, paying attention to the different sounds, losing one’s bearings a little bit while walking at night between the trees, without any artificial light, enjoying settling down next to a tree and simply being there…

So many moments that I enjoyed and that offer a much richer experience than what we sometimes tend to summarize as sylvotherapy. No, it’s not (just!) hugging a tree! 😉 So, I even want to try another of Manuela’s activities next time, a night in the forest!

  • Walking barefoot in the magnificent forest of the Northern Vosges
  • The different exercises proposed: we take our time without getting bored!
  • Losing my bearings while being in the forest at night
  • Nothing!

Sylvotherapy in the Haguenau Forest

We didn’t try it out, but it’s also possible to enjoy a session of sylvotherapy in the ForĂȘt de Haguenau. Contact ForĂȘt en soi for more information.