What is Forest Therapy?
Forest Therapy is a practice that supports health and wellness through guided immersion in forests and other environments to promote the well-being of both people and the land. It is inspired by Shinrin-yoku, the Japanese practice of “Forest Bathing.” In Forest Bathing, people spend time in forested areas to enhance health, wellness, and happiness.
What happens in a Forest Therapy walk?
In Forest Therapy, people are guided through a clearly defined sequence of invitations to slow down, allow the senses to open, and experience the environment to deepen the reciprocal relationship between participants and the forest or nature. This supports the wholeness and well-being of both. These Slow Walks in the Forest are typically a half to one mile long and fit for all ages and physical conditions.
Invitations are open-ended. There is no expectation for what participants should experience or receive. Rather, participants spend time in silence, listening and feeling with a quiet and accepting presence. In a Forest Therapy walk, the point is not to get anywhere. The invitation is to open and experience deeply the present moment. Participants become reconnected with their senses and their innate creative potential is tapped, which allows the imagination to awaken.
Why Forest Therapy?
Forest Therapy promotes:
The improvement of human health. People are more stressed, anxious, and depressed and have more chronic health conditions. Forest Therapy provides a pathway for people to remember how to immerse themselves in nature to rest from all that consumes them in their daily lives.
A greater sense of connectedness. Jacques Cousteau once said, “People protect what they love.” A heartfelt, embodied relationship with nature naturally leads to a love of nature and recognition that we are nature.
A greater sense of compassion. Somatic work with the Earth and our bodies provides participants the opportunity to remember the nature of relationship and the way we are all connected. The sense of connectedness leads toward compassion and away from apathy, greed, and selfishness. This deeper compassion supports the kind of relational values that will support new solutions for the health of people and the planet.
What Distinguishes the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy?
Christina is a certified forest therapy guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT). With more than 800 trained guides, 15 trainers and 30 mentors in over 55 countries, the ANFT envisions mobilizing the world’s largest referral network to medical and healthcare systems along with alternative and complementary healing modalities. A robust body of research demonstrates what we have always intuitively known: time in nature is good for us. The ANFT’s role is to develop a solidly grounded practice that supports the well-being of people and, by connecting them with nature, inspire people to become advocates for healing our relationships with the More Than Human World.
Association of Nature and Forest Therapy
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