Forest Therapy, also known as Forest Bathing or Shinrin-Yoku, are all a little different but have the same intention which is to create a deeper relationship between us and nature and support the well-being of both. This is an opportunity to slow down, unplug, and spend intentional time with nature.
Forest Therapy evolved from the practice of Shinrin-Yoku in Japan, which literally translates to “Forest Bathing”. Instead of actual bathing in nature though, we are spending our time immersing ourselves in the forest in a slow, mindful way. This is different than other outdoor activities like hiking. In forest therapy there is no end goal, no pace to set.
If you're on my website, it's likely that you are familiar with Biophilic Design theory. Deep nature connection is the piece that many of us are missing. The Forest Therapy practice asks us to connect to nature, to be in a reciprocal relationship with it. If we don't understand this at a deep level, it can be hard to apply biophilic design in practice.
WHAT IS FOREST THERAPY?
JOIN ME TO EXPERIENCE FOREST THERAPY!
I am a biophilic design expert and a certified Nature & Forest Therapy Guide through the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy. ANFT is the most widely used framework for Forest Therapy in the world, who as of February 2021 has trained about 2000 guides in 66 countries.
I am Wilderness First Aid & CPR certified. I am not a therapist, forest therapy is truly about the forest as the therapist, I just guide you through the process. I found my way to Forest Therapy to help others more deeply connect to nature in the way that has helped me navigate life’s challenges.
As a young professional, I worked in retail and fast-food restaurant design. Growing enamored with the psychology of design, I began graduate school where I focused on environment and behavior and sort of created my own path to my Master’s of Fine Art thesis on Biophilic Design. As I began studying, I realized that for years I had been feeling and attempting to photograph the concepts discussed in biophilic design theory in both the built and natural world. What I was doing was experiencing nature and feeling a deep connection, and then trying to understand why I felt so deeply connected to some built spaces and not others. What I came to understand is that the we feel the most connected to designed environments that are rooted in the way humans have adapted to nature.
While I love to guide everyone, I find Forest Therapy such an incredible practice for those that design spaces for people to live, work, heal, learn and commute in and can help your firm or company apply these concepts to your project. I find this practice of forest bathing is a way to reconnect people and help them remember their relationship to our natural world. Can drawing a relational awareness to the world around us foster a shifting mindset in the way we see our human impact? I believe so. If we don’t have a love for something, a deep love, do we work as hard to see it safe? To see it succeed? Forest therapy is one way that we can introduce this love.
Please contact me for information on running Forest Therapy & Biophilic Design architectural workshops!
"The forest is the therapist, the guide opens the doors"
WHY SHOULD I TRY THIS OUT?
We live in a beautiful, but often challenging world. We live in a world that is constantly changing, where we are always connected and rarely take time to just be present. However, humans have existed intertwined with nature since our beginning, and we have adapted to it in very deep ways. Our disconnection from nature has real and measurable impact on us. Spending time on a Forest Therapy walk can lower concentrations of cortisol (indication of stress), increase Natural Killer Cell count (enhanced immune response), lower pulse rate and blood pressure, increase parasympathetic nerve activity (rest and digest) and decrease sympathetic nerve activity (fight-or-flight responses).
In a more esoteric sense though, Forest Therapy offers us space. Space to be present is something we so rarely give ourselves the gift of. Something happens when you spend time exploring your senses in these spaces, we remember that deep down we are nature.
For a deeper dive on the research, please take a look at the rest of my website!
WHAT WILL A FOREST THERAPY SESSION
A forest therapy session is a slow and gentle 2-3 hour on an easy trail in a forested green space. The walks are up to 1 mile, but often less. There will be a series of guided invitations, with an opportunity for group sharing and solo time. If you have any specific concerns, please reach out to me ahead of time as this is something we can navigate together.
No two guides or two walks are the same. Repeat experiences are always welcome and encouraged!
GREAT! HOW DO I SIGN UP?
Awesome, how do I sign up!?
I am working on developing regular walks. For now though, please contact me with interest through my contact form below.
Individual walk: Designed for someone who would like a solo walk
Couples walk: Designed for couples who want to have an experience together, but not in a group setting
Group walk: Designed for private walks: work events, bachelor/bachelorette/wedding party groups, friend groups, or anything other group you can think of!
Architectural charettes or workshops