Forest Bathing International Magazine, Issue 1 - Page 15

IFTDays / International Forest Therapy Days –

Born from a Metsäsuhde

by Katriina Kilpi

California, Singapore, Finland, and Sweden. We trust that ANFT will be represented again to hold standards high with their strong, dignified, and ceremonial practice that is a celebration of the beauty all around us, as

well as upholding their explicit aim for nature connection.

The first IFTDays event was about coming together to share and learn from each other,

to experience different approaches to forest therapy, and to nurture our nature connection. Next year, our aims remain the same, but we emphasize the importance of

the eclectic international Forest Therapy community coming together. There is strength in a community when we work together to build relationships, with the forest and with each other.

Last year, we made our dream a reality. Two idealistic world-savers, neither myself nor Heidi had ever single-handedly organized an international seminar and a retreat for 90 and 44 people, respectively. But that was not going to stop us. We managed to bring people together from across the world and receive notably positive feedback. We also managed

to facilitate a feeling of community, where individuals (more like-minded than they expected to be) formed a tribe. This newly found tribe was one of our most important accomplishments, retreat participants told us, as were the connections and partnerships that were formed and networks created.

While we improve our operations for next

year based on the feedback we received, our activities will still reflect the two-women band that we are. The second iteration of IFTDays will remain in Finland for us to fine-tune the concept. We aim to diversify the possibilities for event participation to help spread the magic further.

In 2018 we loved having ANFT with us, represented by 4 wonderful guides from

Katriina Kilpi leads NatureMinded consultancy, focusing

on applied research of nature´s effects on health and psychology. She is a student at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and is trained as a Forest Mind guide. Katriina is convinced of the potential of Forest Therapy in helping to solve the challenges of our times. IFTDays is a labor of love that arises from that conviction. Katriina is

an expat Finn who has found her magical forest in scarcely forested Belgium.

For more information, please visit:

natureminded.be and foresttherapydays.com

In the past few years, forest therapy, shinrin yoku, forest bathing, forest immersion, forest mindfulness,

or any number of names for this practice, have made giant advances throughout the world. We have seen a great volume of books be published around the healing effects of nature and specifically forest therapy (e.g. Arvonen, S., 2014; Williams, F., 2016; Pajunen., A & Leppänen, M., 2017; Li, Q, 2018; Miyazaki, Y., 2018; Clifford, A.,).

Scientific publications touching upon elements of forest therapy and the potential of forests to fight stress, improve mood, and strengthen our nature relatedness are being published with increasing regularity (e.g. Ensinger, K., 2016; Lumber, R., Richardsson, M. & Sheffield,D. 2017; Sidenius, Stigsdotter, Poulsen & Bondas, 2017: Korpela, K, Savonen, T. & Anttila S. 2017).

Not a week goes by without a periodical covering the health-inducing effects of spending time in the forest. A growing number of life coaches, health coaches, nature guides, and personal trainers are embracing forest therapy as an additional service to provide. If you care about your mental health or are interested in an alternative way of being in the forest, you will have plenty to choose from.