International Forest Bathing Day - 12 September, 2020

Join people around the world on 12 September, 2020 to enjoy a forest bathing walk led by ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Guides or ANFT Forest Therapy Guides-in-Practicum. Celebrate your connection to nature and all sentient beings while you increase your well being as you bathe in the atmosphere of the forest. Allow stress to wash away with every breath and invite your senses to open as you feel your feet connect with the supporting earth below.

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What is Forest Therapy?

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 or river, or 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 Forest Therapy Guide

A Forest Therapy Guide facilitates a connection to the forest environment through a series of invitations that cultivate mindfulness, calm, and wellbeing. Invitations are offered to encourage presence, connect participants to their sensory experiences, and awaken joy and wonder. Guides open the doorways for participants to experience the therapeutic power of the forest.

On Forest Bathing walks, people have a wide range of experiences, some of which they feel are significant, even profound. Guides are trained in the skills and perspectives needed to be supportive witnesses of these experiences.

Forest Bathing Benefits

  • Reduced blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reduced cortisol levels which can
            •  lower stress
           •  reduce risk for heart disease
            •  reduce anxiety, depression, and weight problems
  • improve memory and concentration
  • Improved immune system, including increased Natural Killer (NK) cells
  • Improved parasympathetic nerve activity leading to better sleep
  • Reduced sympathetic nerve activity
  • Reduced impacts of stressful events
  • Improved sense of wellbeing
  • Improved attention and focus

Resource: https://tinyurl.com/ycs65yel

Forest Therapy is not an extractive process, where we treat forests as a "resource" from which we extract wellbeing for humans. Instead, it is a deeply relational practice, characterized by a sense of loving and tender connection. This connection leads naturally to an ethic of tenderness and reciprocity. Forest therapy is about creating relationships between humans and nature, in which the relationship itself becomes a field of healing and a source of joyful wellbeing.

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 wellbeing. Join us!