The Green Pharmarcy
Healing Forest vs. Forest
What makes the difference?
The forest is a unique and ubiquitous natural space. But what actually makes a forest a healing forest?
Healing forests are forest areas designed for therapeutic use for special indications. Treatments in the forest, accompanied by trained therapists, are suitable for positively influencing the treatment of diseases and the extent of the disability caused by these diseases (tertiary prevention). Chronic diseases can be alleviated (palliation).
In contrast to an ordinary forest, the suitability for therapeutic use is guaranteed in a healing forest. To ensure this, the healing forest must meet a number of criteria.
The health effect
Today's hectic society is eagerly looking for ways to refuel the depot of vital energy. Digitalization in society, which leads to a fast pace of life and thus to increased stress and unhealthy life, gives rise to diseases of civilization, such as psychosomatic, metabolic, cardiovascular, orthopedic diseases, and others.
Many people are becoming aware that "Health is more easily lost than regained", as the age-old saying goes. The health consciousness in the society increases and with it the readiness to deal increasingly with the own health and to operate prevention.
The health-promoting effect of the forest has long been underestimated. However, the forest offers manifold potentials for human health, ranging from wellness and regeneration to prevention and health promotion to therapy and rehabilitation of patients.
A certified healing forest is specifically designed for therapeutic interventions to achieve therapeutic goals in people with existing medical conditions. These medical indications include cardiovascular, respiratory, orthopedic, psychosomatic, and neurological diseases.
The positive influence of the forest on health has been proven in numerous scientific studies. An overview of the health-promoting effects on forests is given in an Interview with Professor Karin Kraft from the University Medical Center Rostock.
She and her colleagues were able to show in an open controlled study in the "Healing Forest Heringsdorf" that the healing therapy has a favorable effect on COPD patients compared to indoor therapy (*).
Young children, the elderly, and the chronically ill, especially those with cardiovascular disease, are less able to adapt to changes in climate and weather. Both great heat and cold are perceived as stressful. The forest climate moderates temperature extremes and allows people to stay outdoors for longer periods of time.
Patients with arterial occlusive disease, arterial hypertension and other components of metabolic syndrome, heart failure, coronary artery disease or a condition following a heart attack should benefit from therapy in a healing forest. Depending on the severity of the condition, the emphasis is on the exercise or training aspect.
Of greater importance is the increased synthesis of vitamin D. Healing forests with climbed sections are particularly suitable for physical training, as gradual increases in performance requirements can be easily realized. Low winds and the low level of dust in the forest are beneficial for people with cardiovascular diseases.
Furthermore, it has been shown that stays in the forest lower the blood pressure and reduce the heart/pulse rate, which is beneficial for the cardiovascular system.