Werner keller has been involved with the forest for years. "I'm trying to understand how it works and what we can learn from what's going on there.", says the private forest owner in an interview with this editorial team. At some point, he got into conversation with timo stahl (rannungen) about this topic, and a short time later they both signed up for a multi-day training course to become forest experience guides. After the theory came the practice: keller and stahl developed a concept for guided hikes in rannungen. The first two events in august were immediately fully booked.
Keller and stahl spent 20 days in the forest during their seminar at the diez nature school (sulzthal) and enjoyed this experience of nature. "The training was well designed and very interesting", says keller.
Shinrin yoku as a basis
After that, it was clear to both of them very quickly: "we're going to do it and go on hikes in rannings." Especially since the so-called forest bathing, according to keller, is becoming increasingly important in today's hectic times.
The basis of the training was shinrin yoku, which has been used in japan since the 1980s, says keller. The concept is quickly explained: the japanese realized early on that forest therapy can be used for recreation. "Experiencing the forest with all your senses and consciously immersing yourself in the forest atmosphere is good for your physical and mental health", keller gets to the point.
In 1990, it was discovered at the university in chiba, japan, that there is indeed a connection between extended stays in the forest and a reduced number of stress hormones in the human body. Since then, shinrin yoku (forest medicine) has been a subject of research in japan.
In germany, too, the topic is becoming more and more important, says keller. It is becoming increasingly important to learn techniques to relax in everyday life. "Because many people are stressed at work and sometimes threatened by burnout", says keller. Walks in the forest could provide relief, if one "with all senses" is on the way there. The natural terpenes emitted by the trees are particularly important for humans," keller continues.
Network of life
In august, the first two guided forest experience walks near rannungen already took place. "They were booked up right away." In the final round of discussions with the twelve participants, the feedback was "very positive" says keller and makes it clear that the hikes will continue in the coming years as well. This year there will be another event in september, but it is already fully booked," says keller.
When keller and stahl are out and about in the forest with their guests, they stop at several stations. For example, at a juggling station, where you can train your balance skills. Along the way, the participants also learned about the "tree power plant".
"We want to convey what helps us when we walk under trees." Another keyword for this forest experience walk is the "network of life", says keller. "We explain how everything in life is interconnected, including, for example, the generations themselves." Or in other words: what we do today will have an impact on our descendants.
During the stay in the forest werner keller takes over the mediation of the forest knowledge. Timo stahl dedicates himself to meditative aspects and has, for example, worked out small guitar pieces for pausing. By the way, he is currently undergoing further training to become an energy healer. Keller is convinced that the knowledge gained will be of great benefit to the guests during future walks through the forest. Meditation is at the end of the rannung forest bathing, because in the meantime keller's wife conny is also part of the group and undertakes a "journey through the body".
"We enjoy it very much", says keller, not least, of course, because the newly devised walks immediately took off. For example, the entire team of a physiotherapy practice in the schweinfurt area has already registered for forest bathing in rannungen in 2022.