Do I need to bring a swimsuit, is one of the first questions I get asked when I folks question me about a Forest Bathing Walk! Well, it just depends upon what time of year you’re having the walk, and maybe if there’s a river or lake, it might be fun to take a dip in the water. But in all actuality, it might be best if you wore long pants, comfortable walking shoes, and maybe a top with long sleeves, even in the summer, oh and don’t forget bug spray and sunscreen…and maybe a hat! That may sound like a lot of work, just for a slow wander through the woods, but being prepared for your walk helps the journey to unfold, and the magic of the forest to weave its sensuous spell of being on “Forest Time!”
Even though it’s called Forest Therapy/Bathing Guided Walks, the guided walk doesn’t necessarily need to be in a forest, it can be in a park, meadow, river, beach, in your own back yard, balcony, looking out of a window, or sitting by a plant in your house. The most important thing is to take this time and space for yourself, with no interruptions, including those electronic interruptions! I’ll touch on virtual forest bathing later!
The history of Forest Bathing, or Shinrin-yoku was developed in Japan by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in the 1982 in response the health crisis that was caused by mass urbanization and extreme stress. The word Shinrin means “forest” and yoku means “bath.” The practice of Shinrin-yoku also inspired a clinical version called Shinrin Ryoho (Forest Therapy) where licensed Doctors and Nurses, known as “Forest Therapists” design programs that promote health and healing for folks with various diseases including - mental health cancer, folks with disabilities, and lifestyle diseases. This type of practice is being well documented and supported by a numerous collections of global ongoing scientific and medical data. Outside of Japan, Shinrin yoku has been adapted to fit with various environments around the world. To find out more scientific information visit https://www.natureandforesttherapy.earth/about/the-practice-of-forest-therapy and also visit my page Vitamin - Nature
It's also important to acknowledge “Nomenclature” and honor the terms “Forest Therapy” and “Forest Therapist” as registered trademarks in Japan. In Israel the registered trademarks are “Nature Therapy” and “Nature Therapist.” Therefore, guides trained by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy use the term “Forest Therapy Guide” to identify themselves. To find out more information on the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy please visit
Would you like more information on a guided walk, solo, couples, group, corporate, non profits, etc click on the link below to send me a message with your details, and type of guided walk your looking for.
Like most people during the pandemic, my life changed, and my notion of normality was a distant memory, which like most is measured pre and post covid. During those first two years, I experienced - stepping away from teaching adult yoga and meditation, family, and friends’ death’s, selling my parents’ house in the UK, and one of my sweet animal companions being diagnosed with cancer May 2021. During that time, I grappled trying to find my oxygen mask – you know, the one they tell you to put on first when you’re on a plane before you can help anyone else! I was also dealing with the guilt around “what sort of yoga teacher do you call yourself if you can’t handle all this and teach!” Guilt aside, I hung up my yoga teacher hat for a while, and began again!
I’m a firm believer that many paths lead to the same tree in the forest, metaphorically and literally! As I was scrolling through my emails at the beginning of March 2021, I came across a newsletter from Kripalu advertising one of their online courses…Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide Level 1! I was intrigued by the description of the course, and then I saw that I had every book except one on the list of required texts. It felt like the course had been personally written for me and I signed up! I love yoga and meditation, but being outdoors in a nature mindful practice was the trifecta for me. Immersing myself in a daily outdoor meditation practice, my reciprocity with the more than human world, listening to the different bird songs, reading about the overstory and understory, learning about the historical value of watersheds, the importance of land acknowledgment, amongst a myriad of other things…I had finally found my oxygen mask!
I graduated from my level 1 in May 2021, and in September 2021 I signed up for the 6-month program with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy to become a certified ANFT guide. And in May 2022 after a four-day immersion in the forests of BC, Canada, I became a certified guide! Even though I had my nature oxygen mask on, I was still going through what seemed to be a never-ending saga of grief! Saying goodbye to one of my dogs in March 2022 and realizing I would be doing the same within months for his sister was heartbreaking beyond words. But sitting in the more than human world, and opening my senses to everything around me, allowed me to be held in the palm of this existence, help me grieve, and slowly start to heal from so many losses. In fact, little did I know that in June, I would meander along another path towards that same tree in the forest and become an Animal Chaplain…you can read more of that story here.