What in the world is “Forest Therapy”? Forest Therapy is the practice of learning to connect with Nature in a deep way and feeling better for it. It assumes that Nature itself is the “therapist.”
Why does everyone need Forest Therapy? This practice combines the well-researched benefits of mindfulness with the evidence-based benefits of spending time in Nature. (See link below for resources to learn more about the research behind these practices.) All of us feel better with these positive effects.
- Boosts immune function
- Improves sleep habits
- Lowers stress & resulting physical & emotional illnesses
- Enhances mood, clarity of thinking, and creativity
- Has no known harmful side effects
How does Forest Therapy work? In today’s culture, most of us lead stress-filled, often overwhelmed lives of disconnection. Forest Therapy helps us rebuild healthy connections with self, with others, and with the world around us. Guides work in partnership with the forest to assist us in immersing ourselves and all of our senses in Nature. This facilitates being fully present and responsive to what we are experiencing. As described above, learning to deeply connect with Nature is beneficial to all aspects of life. (Read some examples of how to start this practice on your own HERE)
Why does anyone need a “guide”? We can certainly spend time in Nature on our own. A guide helps us slow down so we can make a deeper, more effective connection with the therapeutic benefits of Nature. Guides are skilled in how to do this in a facilitated, structured and safe way. Like any type of therapy, with consistent practice under the guidance of a trained mentor, we will eventually be able to apply the principles on our own for personal benefit. Of course, even the guides themselves find it refreshing to occasionally relax and allow another guide to facilitate their connection with the forest-world.
Who are you and what is your experience with Forest Therapy? I find great pleasure in spending time outdoors. In times of crisis or chaos, I use Nature as a place to find rest and healing. Most of the “Big Epic” adventures in my life have involved connections with other people or with the natural world. Recently, I discovered the discipline of Forest Therapy. I have been accepted into the training program with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs to become a certified guide, trained to lead others in how to effectively connect with Nature for improved wellness. (You can read about my “Inspiration to become a Forest Therapy Guide” HERE. There are more stories about my personal experiences with the healing power of Nature in previous blog posts HERE and HERE.)
So where do I find more information about Forest Therapy? Check out my “Resources” page HERE