This gently-structured practice fuses spending slow time in woodland areas, nature exploration, and elements of mindfulness to promote presence, calm, well-being and innate natural healing.
“Between every two pine trees is a doorway leading to a new way of life.”
~ John Muir
What is it about, and how can it help?
Based on established precepts of Shinrin-Yoku (literally: “forest bathing”), with long history and high repute in Japan, forest therapy has gained mainstream popularity in the West as people acknowledge the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of being in nature.
And science is increasingly quantifying those benefits in tangible outcomes which include: reduction in cortisol (stress hormone) levels, increase in immune function, reduced mood disorder severity, a deeper sense of mental relaxation, and increased feelings of calmness, gratitude, selflessness and wonder.
What does it look like?
A guided forest therapy walk is a gently-structured experience offering open-ended exercises (in forest therapy called “invitations” to highlight that you may interpret and carry them out as you wish) to help open your senses and your soul, to engage with the forest in meaningful ways.
Forest therapy experiences are not hikes; they are immersive, move slowly, encourage personal presence and exploration. They begin with an orientation, make a gradual transition to trying out several different “invitations” to interact with the forest, and include time for relfection, integration and sharing. Forest bathing walks usually conclude with an outdoor tea.
Additional details can be found in experience descriptions.
Who provides it?
Your forest therapy guide, Neil Baldwin, has an appreciation of the natural world gained from direct personal experience and completing the Ontario Master Naturalist program. He combines this with a M.Ed. in Counselling and over 25 years professional experience with clients of all ages and life stages to create a unique perspective on the role of nature in human development. Read full bio.
How is it accessed?
Forest therapy can be booked as a custom private session for an individual, couple or small group. Occasionally there are also public events you can join.