Forest Bathing or Forest Therapy has been around for a few years now, and still it causes confusion amongst some. It doesn’t have anything to do with climbing into a bath, or water, or swim suits…no, it’s more about trees, and slowing down. Noticing things. Maybe the following is useful for those still unclear about it:
1. What is forest bathing?
Forest Bathing is spending time with trees, without an agenda or time pressure. It is like meditation, taking some time out, without distractions. Slowing down our busy minds, and letting Nature help us relax. It’s the antidote to doom scrolling, and desk/computer work. Forest Bathing is sitting, lying or standing with trees, and checking in with yourself – how you are feeling, what might be going on right now for you, noticing your breathing, and then taking the attention outside of you and noticing things around you – smells, tastes, various sensations you might be experiencing, and noticing what impact the slowing down with nature has on you.
2. What are the benefits of forest bathing?
There are various benefits to Forest Bathing. Nature and trees are great healers, soothers and remind us of what is really important: not our To Do list in the first place, but our wellbeing. Forest Bathing helps lower your heart rate and blood pressure, it slows down your breathing as a result of feeling more relaxed. It grounds you, it makes you feel happy. It lowers the production of the stress hormone. It might make you feel more creative, boost your immune system and if you are unwell, you will heal quicker if you take time out to be surrounded by trees.
3. How to find the best place for forest bathing?
A big lush forest is what many have in mind, but don’t let it be a barrier, if you don’t have that near where you are! A local park with trees will do, look around you – might there be a cluster of trees in the local golf course? In a local park? Even just one tree can be enough to connect and slow down your busy mind.
4. Forest bathing tips for beginners?
1. Find a suitable location that feels good and safe to you.
2. Let someone know where you are, so you can feel relaxed enough to turn your phone off or on flight mode, as you don’t want to be disturbed during your Forest Bathing time.
3. Sit or stand with your back to a tree, and feel supported by it.
4. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so.
5. Breathe deeply to connect with your body and this moment.
6. Notice sensations. For example – the breeze, wind, sunlight on your skin. Do you feel warm/cold? What noises can you hear? What can you smell? Simply check in with yourself. Notice how your breathing might slow down and what your overall wellbeing is like.
5. How long should you forest bathe for?
You can forestbathe as long as you like. Sometimes you can feel relaxed and re-centred after 5-10 minutes, sometimes it’s wonderful to be able to give yourself a bit longer – 30-60mins.
6. How often should you forest bathe?
There are no should’s with Forest Bathing. It’s a tool to calm, destress, refocus and re-centre you. If it works for you, enjoy it as often as you like. Pausing, deep breathing, taking a break from screens and being with nature is always beneficial.