About Forest Therapy
What is Forest Therapy?
Forest Therapy starts with Shinrin-yoku, a practice developed by Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982 to promote the act of getting out in nature to receive the beneficial aspects of the forest. Shinrin-yoku’s literal translation is “forest bathing” which means to take in the atmosphere of the forest. Since the dawn the time humans have been practicing forest bathing, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that scientists began studying the actual effects of the chemical components found in trees, plants, fungi, and other earth materials and their effects in human health. Researchers discovered that when humans breathe in defense chemicals such as phytoncides emitted by trees and plants, it caused positive effects in humans like lowered blood pressure, increase in NK (Natural Killer) Cells, lower cortisol levels, and had positive impacts on mental wellbeing overall.
A few decades later in the USA, “forest therapy” was conceived and evolved into much more than just breathing in tree compounds for better health. Forest therapy today focuses on people developing a deep practice or habit that fosters a deep relationship with nature, for better body health and mental wellness.
Confused on the terms?
*Forest bathing and forest therapy are often used interchangeably.
About Our Walks
Our forest therapy walks use the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku as a foundation and branch out into a deeper experience. We venture out into the woods or natural area, delving into embodiment, inviting any restoring our bodies and minds may desire, and establish a relationship with the More Than Human World.
Guided walks are roughly 2-3 hours long, and are comprised of very gentle activities that help us awaken our senses and sink into liminality, which enables us to connect with nature in a deep and profound way.
Our sessions are trauma informed, and a good fit for all people. Whether you are an extrovert or introvert – you will feel comfortable and in your own skin during our group walks!
Why We Need Forest Therapy
The fact is, that most of us live in a very tamed, and often gray world. We need the “green” to wash away the gray data-driven technological cloak that has covered our individual worlds. We live in a world where data is constantly being forced in front of us to inhale and digest, whether we are conscious of it or not. We’re busier and more stressed than ever, and as a result, many of us have a huge nature deficit. To fully thrive and be well, we need to regularly step out of the concrete jungle.
A few hours of forest therapy provides physical and mental wellness boosts in an easy and very accessible way. By breathing in phytoncides and other chemicals from trees, we boost our physical health – we’re boosting our immune system, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels. The immediate felt benefit is the boost to our mental health – lower anxiety, attention restoration, decrease stress, boost in creativity, and other deeper somatic well-being positive effects.
Nature has a multitude of gifts waiting for us.
Here are just a few of the gifts you may receive:
Mind | Soul
- attention restoration
- calm the busy mind, decrease racing thoughts
- decreased general anxiety & depression
- find embodiment and wholeness
- boosted levels of creativity
- avoid burnout
- reduced mental fatigue
- lowered blood pressure
- reduced cortisol levels
- increased serotonin levels & energy
- improved sleep
- reduced inflammation
- better digestion
- boosted immune functioning
Our Forest Bathing Walks
I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — an endless prospect of magic and wonder.Ansel Adams
- Go slow – this isn’t exercise nor a hike. In fact, try to spend 1-2 hours within a 1/4 of a mile.
- Turn off your phone.
- Give yourself permission to just BE.
- Touch all the NATURE THINGS but know and avoid what’s poison ivy, oak, etc.
- Find a good sit spot and just observe your surroundings for 20 minutes.
- Notice how you feel in body and mind.
- Pay attention to all of your senses.
- Have a bit of tea or water toward the end.