The natural environment of the Pyrenees and the Lands of Lleida offers an unquestionably exceptional setting in which to enjoy “banys de bosc”, or “forest bathing”: immersions in forests through calm, contemplative walks that will awaken all five of your senses and make you feel fully aware of nature. A “bany de bosc” literally implies “absorbing the atmosphere of the forest” and is the translation of the Japanese concept of “Shinrin-Yoku”. The Japanese were pioneers in the use of the properties of forests as a therapy to improve human health and wellbeing. This is achieved through leisurely walks, conducted in silence, through unfrequented parts of a forest, while paying attention to it with all of your senses.
A “bany de bosc” therefore consists of immersing yourself in the essence of the forest, breathing deeply, inhaling, and rewarding yourself with the wellbeing produced by the volatile substances in its atmosphere, which can also penetrate deep inside you, via your skin. It is said that these substances can increase the number of NK (natural killer) cells and reinforce the human immune system. The benefits of forest bathing have also been related to cardioprotective and anti-diabetic effects, reducing stress, and generally improving human physiological and psychological wellbeing.
The areas in which it is proposed to engage in forest bathing in the Pyrenees and the Lands of Lleida will invite you to discover and experience the benefits of this practice in the comarques (local districts) of this fascinating territory. In this guide, these activities have been grouped together in a great forest of knowledge which provides an insight into the diversity of the local vegetation and information about some of the most mature biomes in the Pyrenees and about a selection of unique spaces in the Lands of “Ponent” (Western Catalonia) which are rich in natural value. This territory offers high-mountain subalpine forests, with stands of Spanish pine and fir; mid-mountain deciduous forests, with beech and humid oak species, humid woodlands of Scots pine, drier pine and oak woodland; forests with a more Mediterranean character, with holm-oaks and holly-oaks; and riverside forests, associated with fluvial environments. The great variety of landscapes, the wealth of forestry, and the firm commitment of the Pyrenees and the Lands of Lleida to sustainable tourism, also give this territory an extra quality that adds additional appeal to its identity and authenticity.
In this “guide”, you will find a proposal for each comarca (local district). Some of these are easy to access, while others require a walk of several kilometres before reaching the target area; some are adapted, while others have more difficult accesses. We recommend that you carefully read the information provided before embarking upon your adventure. Similarly, we encourage you to continue discovering other proposals in all of these comarques, and to do so throughout the year. Seasonality and the time of day also mean that the range of options is very wide, if not almost infinite. Solar radiation, humidity, and air temperature also play an important role in the emission of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere, adding further elements of variability. If you are not already acquainted with the practice of forest bathing, we recommend that you initially enlist the services of a therapeutic guide who is familiar with this practice and who can help you to make the most of your visit.
“The art of forest bathing
is the art of connecting with nature
through our senses.
All we have to do is accept the invitation”.
Will you accept the invitation?