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Image by Darci Parsley

What is Forest Bathing? 森林浴

"Forest bathing" is the English phrasing of the Japanese term shinrin-yoku (森林浴) which translates as "forest bath". This practice evolved in Japan in the 1990s - a time when high-stress office work, technological advances and increasingly indoor lifestyles were leading to greater mental and physical ill-health.

 

Scientific research revealed that walking and "bathing" in forest atmospheres (a habit which was also endemic to Japan's indigenous spirituality)lead to improved wellbeing outcomes (including lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety, decreased depressive symptoms and more).  Forest bathing is now a health intervention in Japan wherein doctors prescribe certain approved trails and walks for their patients.  

Inspired by the forest bathing movement, the U.S.-based Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides & Programs devised its own training accreditation for guides to host non-clinical, more flexible offers for folks around the world.  

For more on forest bathing, nature therapy and the advantages of guided walks please check out my Library.

What is Natural Kinship?

In addition to forest bathing I'm honored to guide a few other practices which together I call "natural kinship" work. Language like "nature connection" or even "nature reconnection" suggests that we humans are separated from nature and we know this isn't true. However, we do something benefit from exploring more intentional relations with the more-than-human world and I call this natural kinship. We are inherently a part of nature but the embers of our connection may sometimes need to be rekindled. 

This is especially true for young people and teenagers many of whom are growing up in an increasingly sedentary and screen-focused world. For several years I've been guiding remote natural kinship sessions for young people (14-25) and although it is online it is a space that allows participants to engage with, explore and share the more-than-human things that catch their attention and passion. 

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