Forest Bathing Experiences are offered at Shevlin Park throughout the year. A public forest bath is 2 hours in length. This would be a great small or large group activity for building connections, please reach out to inquire about your private event which can be adjusted to a longer time frame.
AN INTRODUCTION TO FOREST THERAPY
The Forest Therapy model that we guide is based off of Shinrin Yoku, which translates directly as "Forest Bath". We are certified to lead these walks through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Certification Program. Forest bathing was developed in Japan in the 1980s to promote healthier living among communities. Since its start, numerous studies have been done to show the effects of this practice on our physical and mental well being. The scientific data is incredible and some benefits include lowering heart rate and blood pressure, reducing stress hormones in your body, increasing immune response by increasing NK cells in your body, reducing anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
The goal of forest bathing is simple: fully experience the present moment while immersing your senses in the sights and sounds of a natural setting.
WHY PRACTICE WITH A CERTIFIED GUIDE?
Just like meditation , yoga, and other wellness work, you can practice this on your own, but a trained guide offers an opportunity for a deeper experience and opportunities to grow in your practice. There has been recent date showing that forest bathing participants who practiced with a guide reported deeper levels of connection an an increase in positive emotions when compared to those who practiced on their own. Our guides are trained to be able to offer you guidance by opening the doors for you to find connections with the nature through your unique lens. There is a saying among forest therapy guides "The forest is the therapist and I act as the guide". During a forest therapy session I will provide guidance as you discover what the forest has to offer you in your healing experience.
Forest Bathing Q & A
Where and how did Forest Bathing start?
The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries first developed forest bathing in 1982 as a way of addressing illness in Japanese society. It served a dual purpose to encourage people to protect forests. When one develops an intimate relationship with more than the human world, protecting that resource and that relationship becomes essential.
Is there any actual proof that Forest Bathing will make me healthier? What exactly does it do?
YES! While forest bathing started based on intuition, the research followed and has shown significant positive results! There are 11 research studies that have shown that a 2-hour forest bathing experience decreased stress, anxiety, confusion, and fatigue. Forest bathing helped participants achieve a more positive mental state. In 10 studies forest bathing increased vigor. The benefits were not only psychological, but also physiological. Multiple studies have also shown stabilization of heart rate and blood pressure, increase in natural killer cells boosting our immune response, increase in heart rate variability, and decrease in cortisol levels.
How long is a Forest Bath?
A standard forest bathing session is 2 1/2 hours. The public walks I guide are 2 hours in length. Private sessions can be booked for any time frame from 90 minutes - 4 hours.
No offense, but why can't I do this by myself?
Just as you can practice meditation or yoga on your own, you can practice forest bathing on your own. But practicing with a guide allows you to deepen your experience. A trained guide has knowledge, skills, and experience to provide you with a transformative experience. A forest bath is a unique sensory connection process. It is much more than a walk in the woods!
Can I forest bathe in the winter?
Absolutely! In fact, a forest bath can be a great way to combat seasonal depression. We guide forest baths every Saturday in Shevlin Park, in all seasons. Prepare by dressing warmly and wearing snow boots with a traction device for walking on ice and snow. Every forest bath experience ends with forest tea, which is a great way to warm up!
Is this experience better on my own or with other people?
You can choose either. Personally, I like practicing with friends and loved ones, as well as new friends who I meet on walks. Forest bathing involves a lot of connection. Connection to the forest, to the more than human world, and to the people with whom you practice. There has been some recent research showing that participants who practice with a guide and others have shown increase benefits in connections and increased positive emotions when compared to practicing alone. When I finish a practice, I feel more connected to not only the forest world, but also to the humans – even those who were not participating in the forest bath. In post walk surveys many practitioners say they feel more connected with others around them. This is a great experience for family events, birthdays, weddings, bachelor or bachelorette parties, and kids’ events. This is also a great team building opportunity for businesses and organizations.