Shinrin-yoku literally translates as forest-bathing, the Japanese art of taking in the forest atmosphere. It is not psychotherapy but is an opportunity to build your connection to nature, increasing a sense of empathy, and in turn reducing stress and anxiety.
In our busy, modern lives, we can become ‘stuck in our heads’, distracted and disconnected with social media, email, technology, binge-viewing, gaming, work, shopping etc. Forest Bathing helps you take some time to slow down – to really slow down – to enhance your senses and use them to feel nature in a deeper way. This is harder for some people than others to achieve, but in general, everyone benefits from taking this time.
The bathe is a gentle walk through nature, around one mile over 2-3 hours. It is not exercise, or a hike. You don’t need any special equipment, just clothing that helps you stay comfortable in our variable climate. Please bear in mind that you may spend some time staying still, sitting or laying down.
Nature is the expert here; I just act as a guide to help you acquire some ideas and ways in which to practice. You can of course forest bathe without a guide, and in time I would encourage you to do so, but if you need somewhere to start, then this maybe for you.
Initial walks take place in Beckenham Place Park, not exactly a forest, but you’ll be surprised at how much space and time you can find for yourself, even in an urban park. Bathes also take place in Sparrow Woods, Orpington, and from spring 2021 in the forests around Canterbury.
I offer these bathes free to members of the public, in groups of up to ten. Just drop me an email and I’ll let you know dates and joining instructions. There is a charge to arrange forest bathing for organisational teams which can be tailored to your requirements.