What is Forest Bathing?
The Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku (immersing your senses in the atmosphere of the forest) is based on a simple premise: you can greatly influence your health by immersing yourself in the forest, absorbing its sights, sounds and smells, watching for movement and exploring textures. And perhaps, develop a kinship with the natural world. Think guided mindfulness and meditation in nature.
It's simple, easy to learn, and hard to forget.
There are very few quiet places left, and our minds are full. We are often so busy. Forest Bathing is the antidote to that.
Face to face sessions are 3 hours and you don’t move far or fast (that’s why it’s great for those with CFS, ME and Long Covid). Various activities encourage you into a state of deep relaxation to reduce stress, pain and clear the mind. After each one, you have the opportunity to share your experience, so you gently move between solitude and companionship.
Sessions will run in most weather, except high winds, storms
Is Forest Bathing and Nature Connection supported by science?
Yes. Forest bathing is now prescribed on the NHS in Surrey and Scotland, with plans to roll it out further. The scientifically proven benefits are based on 2 hours spent mindfully immersed in nature.
Note: the same results were not seen in people walking the dog, trying to get their 10,000 steps in, or chatting to friends/on the phone. This slowing down can be difficult for some.
You will experience these benefits immediately after your session:
-lowered stress levels
-lowered heart rate
-boosted white blood cell count (immune system)
-feeling energized yet very calm.
Like any wellbeing technique, you get maximum benefits with regular practice.
Do I have to do anything I don't want to do?
No. Absolutely everything is optional.
I am the bridge between you and nature - I guide you gently to a place where you and nature can 'work together'.
Can you go forest bathing alone?
It is possible to do the solo activities by yourself, and I will teach you those techniques. I also sell a card deck to help guide you if you'd appreciate a prompt.
But, when was the last time you felt truly free from all your responsibilities? I will keep you safe, and give you permission to leave ALL THE THINGS behind.
Being guided allows you to experience a more immersive, and therefore beneficial, journey. It’s also a way to prioritise and schedule in your nature time, similar to scheduling your yoga class.
What do I wear/bring?
As we move at such a slow pace, it is always chillier than you think. Please wrap up warm and wear
-Long sleeves and trousers (even in summer)
-Good, sturdy footwear such as walking shoes/boots/wellies
-Big coat, hat, gloves, scarf and double socks in winter
-Sun hat in summer
-A spare layer (2 in winter)
-Waterproofs - consider them your superpower :)
-A drink and a snack if you think you'll need them
-A yoga or waterproof mat (or camping chair if getting to ground level is difficult).
A note about mobile phones:
I invite you to turn your phone to aeroplane mode and leave it in your bag. Even checking the time really does jolt you back into reality and before you know it, you're back to square one.
Is Forest Bathing the same as a nature walk?
No. You won't actually walk far or fast at all. We don't even identify species as a rule. The experience is about slowing down, activating your senses and enjoying some quiet time in woodland. You won't get your 10000 steps in!
Can I bring my dog or the kids?
Children 10+ are welcome on family sessions or privately booked family experiences. Because the event is so slow and quiet, pooches are best left at home.
Does the experience go ahead in all weathers?
If it's forecast to rain heavily and continuously, or to be blowing a gale, the event has to be cancelled. In light rain and wind, we go ahead and actually it's easier to engage the senses when it's like that. Dry, still days are not the best, funnily enough!