Blog post

Eco Therapy & Forest Bathing at Wilderness Wood

May 28, 2023

It’s been proven that spending time in nature is hugely beneficial for our health, so much so that doctors are now able to prescribe therapies such as forest bathing as a treatment for high blood pressure, heart disease and other stress related illnesses. We live in a world that is increasingly detached from nature and ecology. We live in cities. We race from work to home. We breathe in sterile, processed air. Now, more than ever it’s important to take time to immerse ourselves in our natural environment. To take time to stop, and breathe deeply. To slow our busy thoughts. To reconnect.

About Helen

Helen Squires is an eco-therapist who now runs sessions at Wilderness Woods in Hadlow Down. Her training stems from her background in psychotherapy, psychology and breathwork all of which work in harmony with her eco-therapy practises. I came across Helen last year at one of her sea swim sessions that she runs for Pevensey Mental Health Swims. I was impressed by Helen’s ability to clearly communicate her knowledge of breathwork and the positive impacts of cold water swimming. She has a very down to earth, relatable approach that I found informative and inspiring. Needless to say I was keen to get involved when I heard about her latest venture.

The Session

I joined Helen in April for a two hour eco-therapy taster session at the beautiful Wilderness Woods. There were 8 of us in our group, all keen to benefit and learn from Helen’s knowledge relating to reconnecting with nature. Helen spent the first part of the session highlighting the importance of being outdoors and how we might benefit immediately from our session today. We all took measure of our current breathing rate as a way of measuring the impact two hours in the woods.

As we wandered deeper into the trees Helen shared so many fascinating facts and findings relating to the health benefits trees can bring. Something that stood out for me was the fact that simply being close to trees exposes us to phytoncides – a natural chemical given off by trees. Phytoncides have been proven to fight disease and bacteria so work as a natural medicine for us all. Simply being around trees improves our wellbeing.

Helen guided us through a number of practises including grounding (walking barefooted), meditation and breathwork. Always sharing details on studies and research to back up the benefits of these methods. The whole experience was not only extremely relaxing but also informative and eye opening. I loved every minute. At the end we shared our thoughts on the session. All of us found it hugely positive. We also took our breathing rates again. All of us were breathing at a lower rate than when we arrived, for some of us the difference was vast. We had all managed to slow down. To relax. To breathe more deeply.

Everyday Practise

The idea behind these sessions is that they are not one offs but that we try to implement these practises into our daily routines. Can we find 20 minutes each day to walk barefoot on the grass, to take a walk, to be still outdoors. I’m certainly trying.. and I definitely feel better when I do because as Helen says – dirty feet make a healthy heart!

Upcoming dates:

If you’d like to join one of Helen’s upcoming sessions please get in touch with her or follow her on Instagram for updates @the_nature_therapist

June 10th – Pickwell Estate, West Sussex (full day retreat) with Sarah Huntley ‘Wild about Wellbeing’

July 9th – Wilderness Wood 10:30am-12:30pm

August 6th – Wilderness Wood 10:30am-12:30pm

Please contact Helen at for booking enquiries.

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