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Forest Therapy / Forest Bathing  

The Japanese art of Shinrin-Yoku

Picture yourself immersed in the sounds of the forest, the scent of the trees, mosses and damp soil, the dapple sunlight playing through the leaves, the fresh, clean air... We all know how good nature can make us feel, we crave for it when we are stressed, sad, overwhelmed or simply need to rebalance and restore ourselves. As humans we have evolved in natural environments 99.9% of our history in this beautiful Earth. According to the Biophilia hypothesis, we are "hardwired" to love nature, it is embedded in our DNA  to feel at home in the forest, out in the land. But in modern times the technological boom, urbanization, indoor lifestyle and rapid pace of life have had a toll in our physical, emotional and mental health, as well as a sensation of separation and alienation from nature. 

 

Forest Therapy, also known as Forest Bathing (the literal translation of Japanese Shinrin-Yoku) is an immersion experience in nature that aims to restore our relationship and reciprocity with the natural world.

 

It consists of a safe, slow and relaxed walk of about 2.5 hours, covering a short distance (usually no more than half a mile), where the guide facilitates a series of sensory invitations to slow down the rhythm of the mind and body, awaken the senses , be present and explore our kinship within the web of life.

​Forest therapy is a very inclusive and culturally neutral practice, no previous experience or specific knowledge is required. There is extensive scientific research that demonstrates the multiple benefits for physical, mental and emotional health of being immersed in nature. ​

 

             "And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul".  John Muir

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Health benefits ​

 

By slowing down, relaxing and being present, we offer our body, mind and heart a well-deserved break from the stress, hustle and bustle of everyday life. Multiple scientific studies show that being in nature helps regulate the nervous system and blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, reduces cortisol levels (stress hormone) and increases our attention span, memory and creativity. ​

 

With constant practice, Forest Therapy helps reduce the main cause of many diseases: stress. Chronic stress is related to depression, anxiety, migraines, diabetes, allergies, obesity, etc. This is why many health professionals recommend Forest Therapy as a form of preventive and restorative medicine. 

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Forest Therapy is not an extractive process where we treat the forest as a "resource" for human well-being. It is rather a practice in which we cultivate a relationship of love, reciprocity and deep connection with nature and all its beings. It is in that relationship/interaction that healing occurs, realizing that we are not separate, but that we are also the tree, the river, the stone, the wind, the butterfly...

Origin: Shinrin-Yoku

Forest Therapy is inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, which literally translates to "forest bathing." In the 1980s, Japan had a booming economy based on a technological boom and massive migration from the countryside to the cities. The population, increasingly separated from natural environments and spending more time in offices, in front of screens, with artificial light, in long and stressful working hours, began to suffer an increase in autoimmune diseases, cancer and heart problems. ​ The Japanese government initiated several projects to stimulate visits to the forests as preventive medicine and in multiple studies they found a great number of benefits for the physical, mental and emotional health of people. Today, there are more than 60 certified Shinrin-Yoku practice trails in Japan and millions practice it annually. ​ ​​ ​

"The Forest is the therapist, the guide opens the doors"

                                               Amos Clifford

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What we'll be doing

We will be sharing for about 2.5 hrs in a beautiful forest trail, covering a short, accesible distance. Forest bathing is not about exercising, hiking or jogging. As your guide, I will be offering sensory invitations to support your experience of being present, slowing down body and mind, and attuning to the natural rhythm of the forest. 

What is needed?

Some basic things to be comfortable in the forest: suitable clothes according to the weather, water & snacks, hat or sunscreen, etc.

No special physical skills, knowledge or previous experience in similar practices are required.

The most important thing is the intention to fully live the experience and having an open heart to share with the forest and the beings that accompany us.

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