San Sebastián, Donosti, Baños de Bosque

Forest Bathing as public policy: new project of FTHub for specific groups in Spain

Forest Therapy Hub is leading a groundbreaking project with Cristina Enea Foundation and San Sebastian council in Basque Country (Spain) which provides Forest Bathing sessions for groups of teachers with high stress levels, people of +55 and women in foster homes. 

These Forest Bathing interventions take place in green spaces of San Sebastian during eight weeks. Oihana Orkolaga, from Cristina Enea Foundation, explained that the goal of this project is to “be able to establish a network of natural spaces to carry stable Forest Bathing programmes in San Sebastian surroundings”. 

With this purpose members of +55 group, women from Emaus Foundation and another group of Teachers from Basque Country University (UPV) started Forest Bathing sessions “as a new health resource for people with physiological or psychological problems”, Oihana added. The collaboration with Forest Therapy Hub Forest Bathing sessions comes after a PhD thesis that analyzes stress and burnout in university teaching staff.

+55 Group is a San Sebastian’s council programme destined to improve the quality of life of people over 55 years of age, with activities including the Forest Bathing walks.

It is an innovative achievement because a government facilitates “adequate activities for people in situations of inequality, vulnerability and social exclusion“. For the organizers, the Forest Bathing sessions “foster curiosity and critical thinking, safety and competence, and the bond between the group and nature”, said Oihana, responsible for the initiative.

These Forest Bathing interventions imply what the organizers believe is a first step for offering this nature-based health and wellbeing practice for every citizen in San Sebastian. These three groups are being guided by professional Forest Bathing guides trained by Forest Therapy Hub Marta Ayats, Ibon Sarasola and Violeta Toran. 

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