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Bild: TVB Hofgastein

What is true about the trend of forest bathing in Gastein

Shadow and light, green mosses, strong tree trunks. The rustling of the leaves from last year with every step. The dull sound of the forest floor, which gives way and gently cushions every step. The fresh scent of tree resin, which is particularly abundant in spruce trees – after all, the name spruce comes from the Indo-European “pik”, which means pitch or resin.

The babbling of a small brook that gets louder the closer you get to the water. The roar of the waterfall, which suddenly pours over you like a gush after a bend in the path. The spray that gently tingles on the skin. The bath in all the sounds, smells and sensory perceptions – that, and more, is forest bathing.

Green wellness for nature lovers

Yoga Spring Gastein
© Gastein Valley Tourism

More and more people are looking for peace and regeneration. They find what they are looking for in Gastein, the health region in Salzburgerland. Here, they have dedicated themselves to relaxation and holistic health promotion. Medically accompanied spa treatments in the world’s only healing gallery or wellness in the two Gastein thermal baths. Yoga on places of power such as the Glocknerblick on the Graukogel – a viewing platform with a view as far as the Großglockner – and at the Gastein waterfall, the landmark of Bad Gastein. Or escape everyday life by forest bathing, in harmony with nature.

Using the elemental power of the forest

Forest bathing
Picture: © TVB Hofgastein

The oldest tree in the world is said to be 9,000 years old, or rather, its root system. Old Tjikko is the name of the spruce tree that stands in the Fulufjället National Park in Sweden . In Central Europe, the trees can live up to 600 years. In the process, the trees renew themselves again and again. New branches, leaves and roots ensure the survival of the tree. And it is exactly this energy that you soak up during the forest bath. It is a kind of outward meditation that you engage in while walking through the forest. Perception exercises help to block out unimportant thoughts and to surrender completely to the rhythm of light and shadow, to perceive nature and simply to breathe deeply. The forest is like a living counterpart. You can feel how he lives and take a deep breath yourself.

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Every power place has its wellness exercise

Picture: TVB Hofgastein

In Gastein, the whole thing is “Alpine Spa Forest Bathing” – vital forest bathing in resonance with nature. A free brochure leads through two forest bathing areas. Each place has its own exercise, each place its own name and meaning. In the Wiese der Mitte, a herb forest meadow in the Angertal forest area, people are looking for their own centre. You can feel the power of the roots, hear the sounds of the forest – chirping, rustling, bubbling. The horizon becomes larger, the freedom becomes palpable, the head becomes clear and liberated. Or the go-let line – a series of tree stumps: At each tree stump, briefly tense the body, hold and let go. Exhale – breathe in and go to the next tree stump. Lightness spreads.

Particularly impressive at the Wasserfallweg forest area: the Wild Water Square directly at the waterfall. Here, the water dynamics are transferred to your own breath: Breathe in deeply and exhale in three strokes by quickly contracting the abdominal wall.

Forest as a therapy for mental cough

But the green color alone and the stay in the forest have a relaxing effect. Studies have shown that even without physical exertion, inflammatory parameters in the body decrease, blood pressure and resting heart rate are lowered, and lung capacity is expanded. In combination with the mountains, the effect on people is even more haunting. Different altitudes are habitats for different forests – from spruce forests to snow heath pine forests to larches and stone pines, each piece of forest has its own energy. And even inhaling the tree and aroma substances in the forest has positive effects, as studies by the Nippon Medical School/Tokyo or Stanford University show. Cleared bronchial tubes, a balanced immune system, memory strength, relaxation, reduction of negative feelings and balance – what more could you want from a relaxing holiday in the mountains?

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