Looking for new ways to improve wellness and promote relaxation this winter? Try forest therapy! Inspired by the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, forest therapy involves taking in the atmosphere of the forest.
Translated as "forest bath," shinrin-yoku does not refer to actual bathing. Instead of submerging in water, forest bathers soak up the atmosphere of the forest.
Forest therapy focuses on immersing your senses in the natural environment. It incorporates elements of mindfulness and creates opportunities to slow down, observe and appreciate the beauty and complexity of the natural world around you.
In his book “Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness,” one of the world’s foremost experts in forest medicine, Dr. Qing Li, writes, “Indoors, we tend to use only two senses, our eyes and our ears. Outside is where we can smell the flowers, taste the fresh air, look at the changing colors of the trees, hear the birds singing and feel the breeze on our skin. And when we open up our senses, we begin to connect to the natural world.”
“As we walk slowly through the forest … we bring our rhythms into step with nature. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges a gap between us and the natural world. And when we are in harmony with the natural world we can begin to heal," writes Li.
"Our nervous system can reset itself, our bodies and minds can go back to how they ought to be. No longer out of kilter with nature but once again in tune with it, we are refreshed and restored. We may not travel very far on our forest walk but, in connecting us with nature, shinrin-yoku takes us all the way home to our true selves,” he writes.
Deepen your connection with nature, and discover the health benefits of forest therapy by signing up for one of our programs offered below. A certified forest therapy guide will lead you on a relaxed and slow-paced outing through a forest preserve.