Why nature makes children happy and healthy - an interview with Dr. Karen Lehmann
Theo the forest spirit

For Mrs. Dr. Lehmann, the seaside resort of Heringsdorf has always been something special. The local remedies found here, i.e. the natural remedies of the sea, the soil, the air and the climate are unique.

She was convinced and fascinated by the effects of these natural remedies early on, so she made it her mission to find out how we could re-emphasize and market our health resort in Heringsdorf. "Health is the highest good." – the seaside health resort has a lot to offer here. Whether thalassotherapy, brine or forest therapy and now the children's healing forest: Heringsdorf stands for the highest quality in health tourism. For this reason, the first children's healing forest in Europe was created, because for Dr. Lehmann, who is responsible for the spa and healing forest in the imperial baths, our task is to ensure the health of future generations.

What effect do forests have on people?

“Forests play a central role in life on our planet and offer various opportunities to solve today's problems. In this digitized world, where everything is so hectic and stress-oriented, the forest can calm you down. As soon as you are in the forest, your pulse slows noticeably. We benefit from the "immune system" of the trees. For example, stress hormones are reduced and performance hormones are increased. The forest can provide therapy, which has been proven by numerous studies. This knowledge and the knowledge about the forest should be bundled in order to be able to use the forest more for the health sector in the future.”

You have already created Europe's first spa and healing forest, how did the idea for this project come about?

“Professor Klinkmann brought the idea of ​​the spa and healing forest to Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. In 2017, the state's first pilot project on "Forest as a therapeutic agent" was implemented in Heringsdorf, although our federal state is not the most densely forested, but we have very special forests - the coastal forests."

How did the idea for the children's healing forest come about?

“We were able to record a great success with the first spa and healing forest in Europe. After the 1st International Forest Congress in September 2017 in the seaside resort of Heringsdorf, the demand was enormous, with parents repeatedly asking questions about children's health. For me, children's health is a central role for medicine in safeguarding the health of future generations. That encouraged me to start this project of the children's healing forest. Children are now taking on conditions that are more typical of adults, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia. Something has to be done here in our affluent society.”

Why is the spa and healing forest so important for children?

“The spectrum of childhood illnesses is undergoing major changes. Different health problems arise than 40 years ago, illnesses that cannot simply be vaccinated and injected away. Due to our increasingly digitized and fast-moving times, movement is no longer a valuable tension reliever. With its calming, invigorating and strengthening landscape elements, the children’s healing forest offers ideal conditions for children’s health and enormous health potential.”

The children's healing forest is divided into five functional areas: sensory perception, movement, coordination, communication and the quiet and creative zone.

The children's healing forest combines exercise with nature experiences, climate awareness and nutritional education in an exemplary way, this is an important and rare offer.

What would you recommend most to the children?

“You should definitely try our core feature, the mountain and valley stairs. This promotes motor development, trains body control and helps to overcome feelings of anxiety.”

What events are coming up this year?

“The children's healing forest is available all year round with various thematic and child-friendly offers. All events revolve around the topic of forest, trees and children's health. Our children should notice that we are doing something for them, so World Children's Day, September 20th, will always be a day that is celebrated in a special way with the children in the Heilwald. We want to draw attention to the rights of children, the right to live healthy and grow up healthy.”

What are your visions for the children's healing forest?

“The goal is to increase the therapeutic value of the forest and, above all, to be constantly up to date. Due to the corona pandemic, studies have found that the children have become significantly more anxious and also more depressed. In evaluating this data, some new and indication-related therapy devices will be handed over on the 1st birthday of the children's healing forest, September 20.09th. A daily walk in the green pharmacy alone helps, because the forest does not know Corona.”

 

Did you know that the forest has so much to offer? Everyone is welcome in the spa and healing forest. Just take the kids out to our green pharmacy by the sea and experience the special effects of this local remedy. A unique health and adventure playground that is self-explanatory. Further information on the spa and healing forest in the imperial baths can be found here: www.heilwald-heringsdorf.de