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Schwarzwald: Healing in the Black Forest

Updated: Jan 11


A wooded path is covered with fallen red leaves as it is flanked by trees illuminated gold from autumn light and dark in shawdow.
Schwarzwald im Herbst: The Black Forest changes colors in fall revealing a rich variety of tones and hues © SEELEDU

The Black Forest fascinates with a unique landscape, rich culture and healing properties. It awakens a deep longing for nature, traditional practices and holistic wisdom. Its special air due to the living forest and altitude, humidified by countless streams, rivers and thermal springs, brings therapeutic benefits and rich healing history.

Schwarzwald: The Black Forest

The Black Forest is the largest and highest contiguous low mountain range in Germany. It is located in Baden-Württemberg in the southwest of Germany. Roughly speaking, the Black Forest forms an elongated rectangle between Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Basel and Bodensee (Lake Constance).



A brown and white cow stands deep in the forest surrounded by lush greens and wild flowers
Cows in the Black Forest; Kühe im Schwarzwald © SEELEDU 2023

The Black Forest consists of three parts. The southern Black Forest is characterized by graceful valleys and dark forests, gentle hills with mighty single-roof farms and lush meadows where brown and white cows graze.



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A beam of sunlight illuminates a german farmhouse in the Black Forest, Schwarzwald
Dark Valleys and Beams of Sunlight in the Black Forest, Schwarzwald © SEELEDU



Things look different in the northern and central Black Forest. The valleys are narrower and even more densely overgrown. There are half-timbered houses and villages here where the sun rarely appears.













Lush green hills in the background are highlighted by foreground vineyards glowing in the afternoon sun
Rolling hills and vineyards of the Black Forest, Schwarzwald © SEELEDU



And in the west, where the slopes of the Black Forest merge into the sunny Rhine plain, fields and vineyards dominate the picture.







“Nature, the beautiful Black Forest, should heal old wounds.”
“Die Natur, der schöne Schwarzwald sollte alte Wunden heilen.“
-Völker, 1905


The Black Forest is known for its vast water elements like mountain lakes, fresh streams and flowing rivers. Standing in Schiltach, one can close their eyes and picture the historical Flößer, or raftsmen, commanding felled trees down stream as the Schiltach river meets the mighty Kinzig.


A wooden mill in the black forest of germany
Charming mills and healing waters of the Black Forest, Schwarzwald © SEELEDU 2023

Schwarzwald: the Black Forest a history of healing

The Black Forest or Schwarzwald is world renowned for its thermal water springs and their impressive healing powers ever since the Roman era. Water bubbles up from 2,000 meters below ground, unleashing nourishment packed with trace elements and minerals such as lithium and magnesium. Bathers can expect this powerful water to ease cardiovascular disorders, rheumatic diseases and joint complaints, as well as being impressed by its lasting healing effects for people with metabolic disorders and respiratory diseases.

Schwarzwald: healing properties

In Seelbach, SEELEDU’s home in the heart of the Black Forest, the healthy climate is guaranteed by the state seal of approval as a “climatic health resort” (Luftkurort). Luftkurort, literally meaning 'air spa', is a title given to towns or cities in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany which are health resorts which have a climate and air quality which is considered beneficial to health and recovery.




a winding mountain path progresses to small white chapel. In the foreground lush fields are ready for harvest and in the background rolling green mountains descend.
The Schwarzwald or Black Forest is known for "Luftkurort" or health resorts designated for their healing climate and air quality. © SEELEDU 2023


The fresh mountain air found in Luftkurorts is the perfect location to embrace in the Waldeinsamkeit, or the spiritual connection one receives from being alone in the woods. The benefits of seeking solitude in the forest are long documented and vast. Forest bathing has a relaxing effect and strengthens the immune system.




Scientific healing benefits of time in the forest:

And more!

Join us to let nature work its magic on you… enjoy, connect, walk slowly, sit, lean against a tree, remember, dream and take in the forest with all your senses. Let yourself be surprised to quickly learn that the forest is the very best medicine there is . Join us for your forest bathing experience or dive into other local workshops




What can SEELEDU do for you?


SEELEDU explores the journey of being human and nurtures nature connections for health and well-being. SEELEDU is based in science and grounded in nature. Practicing in ecopsychology combining traditional healing, ancient wisdom and recognizing the mutual compassion and nurturing ability between nature and humans, SEELEDU offers live and online programming, development and learning for holistic, whole-body well-being.



SEELEDU logo an adaptation of the pisica visces in forest green


References

Barton, J., Pretty, J. (2010). What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis. Environmental Science and Technology. 44: 3947-3955.


Bratman, G.N., Hamilton, J.P., Hahn, K.S. & Gross, J.J. (2015). Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenus prefrontal cortex activation. Pyschological and cognitive sciences. https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1510459112


Kuo, F. E., Taylor, A. F. (2004) A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study. American Journal of Public Health. 94(9): 1580-1586.

J. Lee, B.-J. Park, Y. Tsunetsugu, T. Ohira, T. Kagawa, Y. Miyazaki,Effect of forest bathing on physiological and psychological responses in young Japanese male subjects, Public Health,Volume 125, Issue 2, 2011, Pages 93-100,ISSN 0033-3506, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2010.09.005.


Li, Q., Nakadai, A., Matsushima, H., Miyazaki, Y., Krensky, A., Kawada, T., Morimoto, K. (2006) Phytoncides (Wood Essential Oils) Induce Human Natural Killer Cell Activity. Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, 28:319-333.


Li Q, Morimoto K, Nakadai A, Inagaki H, Katsumata M, Shimizu T, Hirata Y, Hirata K, Suzuki H, Miyazaki Y, Kagawa T, Koyama Y, Ohira T, Takayama N, Krensky AM, Kawada T. Forest bathing enhances human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2007 Apr-Jun;20(2 Suppl 2):3-8. doi: 10.1177/03946320070200S202. PMID: 17903349.


Li Q, Kobayashi M, Wakayama Y,Inagaki H, Katsumata M, Hirata Y, Hirata K, Shimizu T, Kawada T, Park BJ, Ohira T, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y. (2009).Effect of Phytoncide from Trees on Human Natural Killer Cell Function. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 22(4):951-959.


Li Q. Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function. Environ Health Prev Med. 2010 Jan;15(1):9-17. doi: 10.1007/s12199-008-0068-3. PMID: 19568839; PMCID: PMC2793341.


Mao G.X., Cao, Y.B., Lan, X.G., He, Z.H., Chen, Z.M., Wang, Y.Z., Hu, X.L., Lv, Y.D., Wang, G.F., Yan, J. (2012). Therapeutic Effect of Forest Bathing on Human Hypertension in the Elderly. Journal of Cardiology. 60:495-502.


Ohtsuka Y, Yabunaka N, Takayama S. Shinrin-yoku (forest-air bathing and walking) effectively decreases blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. Int J Biometeorol. 1998 Feb;41(3):125-7. doi: 10.1007/s004840050064. PMID: 9531856.


Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Kasetani T, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y. The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environ Health Prev Med. 2010 Jan;15(1):18-26. doi: 10.1007/s12199-009-0086-9. PMID: 19568835; PMCID: PMC2793346.


Bum-Jin Park, Katsunori Furuya, Tamami Kasetani, Norimasa Takayama, Takahide Kagawa, Yoshifumi Miyazaki,Relationship between psychological responses and physical environments in forest settings, Landscape and Urban Planning,Volume 102, Issue 1, 2011, Pages 24-32, ISSN 0169-2046,


Tsunetsugu, Y., Lee, L., Park, B.-J., Tyrväinen, L., Kagawa,T., Miyazaki, Y. (2013) Physiological and Psychological Effects of Viewing Urban Forest Landscapes Assessed by Multiple Measurements. Landscape and Urban Planning. 113: 90-93.


Völker, T. (1905). Berghausgästebuch - Herminen Berghaus. https://www.hercynen-berghaus.de/geschichte/


Won Sop Shin wonsop.shin@gmail.com , Chang Seob Shin , Poung Sik Yeoun & Jae Joon Kim (2011) The influence of interaction with forest on cognitive function, Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 26:6, 595-598, DOI: 10.1080/02827581.2011.585996

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1 Comment


I loved this piece. I especially loved the references at the end. Spectacular images. Awesome.

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