StopOver in Helsinki and experience a forest bath – FinRelax style

Finland is not only the land of lakes, but forests, too. About 65 % of our country is covered with forest: mostly of birch, pine and spruce. We both come from forestry regions: Laura is born in the lakeland area, and Rimma up north, in Kainuu. We have spent our childhoods running around in the thick forests. The forest has been our best playground growing up, but it has also represented peace.

There are so many feelings you can experience in the Finnish forest.

The stillness of a winter day, when you can hear your own heartbeat, and the whooshing sound, when a layer of snow comes down from a tree branch.

The happiness on a summer day, when you can hear – nothing, at first. But when you close your eyes and focus, a new world opens up. You can hear the calming wind dancing in the leafy trees, and the far-away sound of a woodpecker drumming the tree trunk with its beak.

The calmness of a magical summer night, when there’s light of day around the clock. And it’s oh so quiet.

Can forests be the next big thing?

There is actual proof of forests doing good for you. Even a short visit can lower one’s stress levels and blood pressure and boost the immune system. Could forest baths work as a treatment to people suffering from the hectic lifestyle so many of us lead nowadays?

The Japanese sure think so. The Forest Agency of the Japanese government premiered its shinrin-yoku plan already in 1982! In Japanese shinrin means forest, and yoku refers here to “bathing, showering or basking in”. The forest bath or forest therapy has been predicted to be the next big thing, and become a mainstream practice like yoga is today.

FinRelax with Piece of Forest

We think forest has a lot to offer. Since we have them so much here in Finland, it’s about time someone realizes the potential of forests. During the Nordic Bloggers’ Experience week (which we were happy to take part on here in Finland as host bloggers) we got a chance to meet the lovely ladies behind a company called Piece of Forest. We took part on their casual forest excursion in Espoo, Hanikka area, and loved it to bits.

Elli, the founder of the company, was our guide through the excursion, during which us and all the international travel bloggers got a glimpse of what this authentic FinRelax excursion includes. We started off with super healthy blueberry shots, walked on duckboards through the forest, admired the beauty of the frozen sea shore and did some calming exercises. The purity, fresh air and silence of the forest made a huge impact – especially on our international guests, who live in big cities such as Shanghai and have to bear with toxic smog on a daily basis. What is truly amazing about Finland and our Metropolitan area, is that you can take just a short commuter train ride (soon also the subway train will take you to Espoo as well!) and find yourself in the middle of a magical forest.

Cause that’s what forests are full of: pure magic.

In addition to forest walks and relaxing excercices, our invigorating FinRelax day with Piece of Forest included super tasty Finnish lunch (oven-baked potatoes with smoked salmon or veggie filling, salad, traditional island rye bread), hot drinks, Finnish buns and sitting cozily by the fire, wrapped in a blanket. And of course great company and new friends from all over the world! The excursion was a perfect balance between outdoor and indoor bliss. Highly recommended!

We attended the Piece of Rorest FinRelax excursion as blogger guests during the NBE week. Thank you for a lovely day!  

Text written by Laura, pictures by Rimma

Read more:

“‘Forest bathing’ is latest fitness trend to hit U.S. — ‘Where yoga was 30 years ago’ by the Washington post

“Your Brain on Nature: Forest Bathing and Reduced Stress” by Mother Earth news

Slow Finland and FinRelax program by Visit Finland