The Practice of Forest Therapy

Forest Therapy. Shinrin-yoku. Forest Bathing.
Many names for the medicine of being in the forest.

Forest Therapy, also known as “Shinrin-yoku,” refers to the practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness. The practice follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest. The Japanese words translate into English as “Forest Bathing.” Although we are inspired by the Japanese practice, our use of the terms Forest Therapy and  Shinrin-yoku do not mean a specifically Japanese practice. We mean spending time in nature in a way that invites healing interactions. There is a long tradition of this in cultures throughout the world. It’s not just about healing people; it includes healing for the forest, river, desert, or whatever environment you are in.

There are an infinite number of healing activities that can be incorporated into a walk in a forest or any other natural area. An activity is likely to be healing when it makes room for listening, for quiet and accepting presence, and for inquiry through all eight of the sensory modes we possess.

The ANFT Way of Forest Therapy

ANFT has developed a specific approach to forest therapy that is widely emulated around the world. As of the end of 2019, we have trained over 800 guides who are working in 48 different countries on six continents. In every cultural context, the ANFT framework for forest therapy is providing the right combination of foundational structure and open-ended creativity for the practice to take root.

Guides learn the ANFT framework and the theory, philosophy, and skills to teach the practice effectively. Just as importantly, they learn a core set of principles and values. A few of these are:


Besides being a deeply healing practice, Forest Therapy is also an emerging community of friends and activists who are making a global impact. As we learn to love the forests, we become more engaged in working for their well-being. Join us!

Forest Therapy Videos

Forest Therapy Press & Research

Books by Forest Therapy Guides

These are books written by Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides. The books are not linked, but all of them are available with the popular online booksellers and some are available at local bookstores or nature centers that offer forest therapy.