Who are we?

The Forest Therapy Center in Białowieża Forest was established by dr Katarzyna Simonienko in 2019 as the first institution in Poland dedicated to forest bathing and forest therapy from a medical and scientific perspective. In addition to scientific activities, knowledge popularisation, and collaboration with academic institutions in Poland and abroad, we prioritize practice, professional experience, and the quality of services supported by competence of our guides and evidence-based science.

Simultaneously, we align with a humanistic paradigm of experiencing reality, hence the importance we place on relationships among ourselves, with other species, and with the landscape.

We conduct forest therapy walks and workshops in forest therapy since 2018,  since 2022 we also offer a broad range of ecotherapy workshops, including therapeutic ornithology, nature-based mindfulness, and relaxation techniques based on relationships with the natural environment.

Our mission is to bring knowledge and experiences regarding the health-promoting impact of nature on humans and the role of human care for the natural environment to the widest audience possible, within the framework of building one common health (One Health approach). Therefore, we also engage in activities for the protection of nature. In 2022, we received the prestigious Ekolaur award from the Polish Chamber of Ecology for our educational activities.

Forest therapy in our center is based on relationships, so they have their unique pattern, developed with great mindfulness and enriched over the years through experience, observation, and knowledge.

We pay close attention to the competence and work quality of our Guides and Facilitators to ensure that clients feel comfortable and safe with us. If you would like to get to know our team better, feel cordially invited!

Our Team

Katarzyna Simonienko, MD, PhD


Forest therapy, ecotherapy, psychiatry, science

Katarzyna Grabka, Educator

Organisation and coordination

Forest bathing, forest therapy, nature education

Marzena Żachowska, Therapist


Forest bathing, forest therapy, ecotherapy, kynotherapy, mindfulness,soution-focused therapy

Kamil Simonienko, MD


Medical mushrooms (in immunology, oncology), nature phtography


We are all Polish Forest Bathing Assoiation members

Our Experts

dr habil. Sławomir Murawiec, MD, PhD, PD

Psychiatrist, psychotherapist

Therapeutic ornithology, ecotherapy

Mila Monk (Lithuania)

Ecotherapist, Ecolinuguist

Forest bathing, forest therapy, ecotherapy, story-elling, eco-linguistics


dr Katarzyna Simonienko

Dr. Katarzyna Simonienko is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, PhD, ecotherapist, forest therapy guide, and the Vice President of the Polish Forest Bathing Association. She is also a guide at Białowieża National Park.

Currently, she works at “Mind Health,” a psychiatric therapy center in Białystok, Poland, and leads the Forest Therapy Center. Her scientific interests include anxiety and depressive disorders, insomnia, burnout, PTSD, and eco-psychiatric disorders (climate anxiety, climate depression, activism burnout).

She graduated Medical University of Bialystok, Poland in 2008. Her professional experience includes years of work with patients at S. Deresz Psychiatric Hospital in Choroszcz (2009-2020) and at the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of Białystok (2012-2020). Dr. Simonienko has also taught students and conducted scientific research. She has led classes in criminology at the Faculty of Law at the University of Białystok and in psychiatric phytotherapy at the College of Natural Therapy in Podkowa Lesna.

Dr. Simonienko holds Forest Therapy Guide certification from the Forest Therapy Institute (FTI) since 2019 . She obtained her guide license for Białowieża National Park in 2018. In 2022, she got an ecotherapy certificate under the guidance of Linda Buzzell and Mary-Jayne Rust at Pacifica Graduate Institute, USA. Currently she is a trainee on Jungian Psychology Training.

She has authored several books on the beneficial impact of the forest on health, including “Forest Therapy,” “Nerves in the Forest,” and “Forest Therapy in Research and Practice.” Dr. Simonienko has also contributed to books on psychiatry, ecotherapy, and scientific publications.

Privately, Dr. Simonienko is interested in nature photography and painting and ecological activism.  She is involved with husky dog rescue and has a deep interest in Jungian psychology, the biophilia theory, implementing biophilic solutions in urban environments, human-animal relationships, European ancient cultures, and tribes.

“The forest has always been a significant part of her life, providing a natural environment, a backdrop for adventures, a source of fascination, and a setting for various interests. I see the forest as a vast, wise book from which we can learn many essential things. It is a living organism, a pharmacy, a tangible system of bubble worlds, and a friend. It is a bag of fairy tales, a source of archetypes, fears, and inspirations—a context.”

Currently, she conducts scientific research and collaborates with research institutions nationally and internationally. She is also  dedicated to psychiatric treatment,  forest therapy and ecotherapy practice, and spreading medical knowledge about forest therapy nationally and internationally.

Katarzyna Grabka

Certified forest bathing guide, certified nature-forest educator, forest guide.

Founder and President of the Forest Projects Foundation. Member of the Board of the Polish Forest Bathing Society.

For several years, she has been exploring the therapeutic power of the forest and the impact of nature on health and well-being. She visited the world’s first certified shinrin-yoku center, Akasawa Recreational Forest in Japan, where she experienced the practice of forest bathing at its source. She completed the certified forest bathing guide course at the Forest Therapy Institute and holds certification from the Forest Therapy Hub.

Graduate of the courses “Living Stories” and “Journey to the Enchanted Forest” at the Living Education Workshop.

She is a nature enthusiast, and she shares her passion by leading forest bathing for children and adults, family expeditions, and forest workshops for schools and kindergartens. Before her passion for nature led her to change her professional direction and dedicate herself to work related to forest activities, she worked for 14 years as a project manager in marketing communication, dealing with the preparation, planning, and implementation of promotional campaigns and events. She earned her higher education in political science, specializing in journalism and social communication. She also completed postgraduate studies in Persuasive Communication: Advertising, Public Relations, Political Promotion.

Currently, as a certified forest bathing guide, she helps people find peace and harmony among trees and nature. She is convinced that contact with nature is essential for our health and well-being, and forest bathings are an excellent way to relax and rejuvenate.


Marzena Żachowska

Certified forest bathing guide, special education teacher, sociotherapist, canine therapist, biology and nature teacher, working in a Solution-Focused Brief Therapy approach, and a sexual educator. A mother of teenagers and a friend to two dogs, deeply in love with the forests of the Elbląg Upland and the Vistula Spit.

For over 20 years, a special education teacher and therapist working with children and youth with intellectual and associated disabilities, and their parents or caregivers at the Special School and Educational Center in Elbląg. Also, working with young children at risk of disability at the Coordination-Rehabilitation-Care Center “Elbląski Maluch.”

Driven by a love for nature, she is a certified forest bathing guide, a certified biology and nature teacher, and, as part of her educational activities, she is the author and coordinator of numerous school grant projects promoting ecology, recognized by the Nasza Ziemia Foundation and the Foundation for Environmental Education. A specialist in canine therapy and a friend to a trained therapy dog, registered in the Certified Canine Therapists registry.

Out of love for people, she is a sociotherapist, practicing in the field of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, and a member of the Polish Association of Solution-Focused Therapists. A sexual educator supporting children, youth with disabilities, their parents, and teachers in coping with puberty-related issues.

For health, she follows the beautiful training path and embraces Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Since 2012, appointed by the Director General of State Forests, she has been a secretary in the Scientific and Social Council of the Forest Promotional Complex “Lasy Elbląsko-Żuławskie.” Since 2021, she is also a member of the Council of the Landscape Park of the Elbląg Upland. The founder of the company Forest Immersion. Personally, a mother of a teenager and a student, a friend to her husband, a Samoyed, and a Japanese Chin. A woman in development, on the way, buried in books, finding solace in autumn leaves, only truly stopping in the forest. Marzena Żachowska’s experience in education and work in health and well-being is vast.


Kamil Simonienko

dr habil. Sławomir Murawiec

Psychiatrist, psychotherapist, scientist, author of the acclaimed book “Therapeutic Ornithology,” co-creator of the concept of “therapeutic ornithology” in global scientific literature, columnist for the magazine “Sens,” and a pioneer in the field of ecopsychiatry in Poland.

As our Expert describes himself:

“I am a specialist psychiatrist and psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience.

For over 15 years, I worked at the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw. Currently, for several years, I have been working in private practice.

I am the author of many scientific and popular science works, based on the latest findings and knowledge, combining the biological and psychological dimensions of treating mental disorders.

I have also published numerous chapters in psychiatry and psychotherapy books and textbooks.

I am a co-author of several books, including “From Neurobiology to Psychotherapy,” “Depression 2016” and “Depression 2017,” as well as “Pharmacotherapy in Ambulatory Psychiatry.”

As an expert and the Press Spokesperson for the Polish Psychiatric Society, I speak in the media on topics related to mental health issues and their treatment.

I am the Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal “Psychiatria” and a member of the Executive Board of the Polish Psychiatric Society. I am also the recipient of the “Golden Synapse” award presented in 2018 in the category of “Meritorious for Psychiatry.”


Mila Monk

Certified forest bathing guide, certified ecotherapist, translator, linguist, ecolinguist, and storyteller.

As our Expert describes herself:

“I am a certified guide for forest bathing and forest therapy. I believe that the forest not only heals difficult emotions but also allows the body to self-heal. I fell in love with this therapy for many reasons: it helped me overcome burnout and understand the importance of the forest for the emotional and physical health of a city dweller. This journey began when many trees were cut down one morning outside my house. The empty and lifeless windows of the house started to overwhelm me. Searching for ways to lift my spirits, I intuitively began to spend more time in nature, and when I discovered the Japanese technique of shinrin-yoku – forest bathing – and tried it in practice, I quickly felt relief. Calmness and joy of life returned. Trying to find out if nature (or its absence) really affects human well-being, I came across a series of studies confirming this, including those conducted by the author of the famous book, Japanese scientist Dr. Qing Li. ‘The roots of modern human problems lie in alienation from nature, the environment in which humanity evolved for millions of years, which is ingrained in our genetics. Closed in offices and homes, moving most of our lives, even communication, to virtual space, we not only fall more often into physical and mental illnesses but also become increasingly overworked and no longer notice the natural environment essential for our survival.’ – says the author. In the fall of 2019, I completed training at the Forest Therapy Institute and became the first certified forest bathing and therapy guide in Lithuania. I conduct forest bathing practices in Vilnius and other Lithuanian forests. Forest therapy – a peaceful, mindful stay in the forest, experiencing it with all five senses – prevents many diseases, calms, and provides a sense of joy and happiness. It is a scientifically based methodology of prevention and, at the same time, the art of ‘letting the forest in’ to your body, feeling fully alive, establishing a connection with the environment, others, and oneself. A healthy, rested person usually does not want to destroy something with which they have a positive connection. The forest heals and creates a bond with everything that lives around us. For three years, I have been conducting forest therapy sessions, and interest in this therapy is growing. This interest has been further fueled worldwide by the pandemic of recent years, during which the only escape was to nature. Incidentally, more and more studies are emerging examining the impact of forests and green areas on the incidence of COVID-19. Research results boldly state that a person who sees greenery every day is more resistant not only physically but also emotionally. People yearning for nature seek ways to be there continually, and forest therapy is a way to be aware and mindful in nature. When we consciously spend time in the forest, we become more attentive, observant, and establish a connection with the surroundings. A healthy and rested person usually does not want to destroy something with which they have a positive connection. Therefore, forest therapy acts not only as a preventive measure for diseases, promoting well-being and creativity but also develops compassion and responsibility, a desire to care for the environment and its protection. My goal is to inspire people to spend more time in nature, feeling that they are not its owners but a part of it, drawing health, well-being, and inspiration from it.

Source and more information: https://shinrinyoku.lt/

In 2023, Mila completed training in ecotherapy at the Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of Linda Buzzell (author of “Ecotherapy”) and Mary-Jayne Rust (author of “Ecopsychotherapy”).

She also has a scientific interest in the narrative concerning nature, its resources, and conservation, known as ecolinguistics.

Mila has translated not only Dr. Qing Li’s book “Shinrin-yoku” but also many stories, histories, and poetry, including Ukrainian, which, due to her background and roots, is her second language. Currently, Mila is working on translating Amos Clifford’s book “Forest Bathing” from English to Lithuanian.

At the Forest Therapy Center, she co-facilitates workshops for women, gives lectures during workshops and scientific meetings, and conducts forest baths for the youngest.