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Blog What Is Forest Bathing... and Why Everyone Should Try it
Alex Silgalis | 07/20/2021Forest Bathing, Nature, Waterfalls, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Yoga/Mediation/Boot Camp |   

I’ll admit when I first heard “forest bathing”, I rolled my eyes. My entire life I’ve spent pushing towards goals. In work or play, activities have ALWAYS focused on becoming better in some form or fashion. Even nature has NEVER been a place to unwind but an outdoor playground to accomplish things. Mountain biking and hiking in the summer. Backcountry skiing in the winter. But I pushed those preconceived notions out of my head and agreed to the experience. And something happened… my view of the world changed all because of a two-hour Forest Bathing immersion with Mindful Café. And I couldn’t be happier.

The History of Forest Bathing

Giant Sequoia Pine Cone at Nelder GroveGiant Sequoia PineconeJust like any activity I dive into, I like to research it beforehand. Although the term emerged in Japan in the 1980’s, the concept has ancient roots in Asia and Japan. Called “shinrin-yoku”, it loosely translates to forest bathing or taking in the forest atmosphere.

Why Did the Japanese Start Forest Bathing?

As some might remember, Japan was the epicenter of a major tech-boom in the 80's. Many workers were experiencing high levels of burn out from the high workload and stress. Instead of prescribing medications, companies would give employees “park prescriptions.” Forest therapy has worked so well it’s integrated with national healthcare practices in Asia and recognized as a stress reduction method. It's a bonafide way to combat chronic illness.

What Is It?

It’s not what it sounds like. You aren’t jumping into a frozen lake. Or taking a shower under a waterfall. Rather, it’s a mental exercise of stepping into a natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you. It isn’t just a hike in the woods. It’s so much more than that.

Sounds Like a Bunch of Malarkey, Right?

I thought so too… until I took a leap and joined Susan from Mindful Café. During our two-hour ecotherapy excursion, we worked on taking in EVERYTHING the forest provided using our six senses. The sixth sense being your sense of self in the forest. As the session concluded and we strolled out of the woods, the forest I entered now looked different. Did I change or did the forest suddenly become something else?

What Happened Afterwards

Lupine in the Sierra FoothillsArriving back home, I felt as though I was seeing my cabin and its surroundings for the very first time. There were flowers in the meadow that I’d never seen before. I realized that certain birds chirp at specific times of day. And most of all, I was just enjoying the moment instead of rushing to the next goal. I was at peace for the first time in a long time.

Who is it For

If you’re feeling a bit wound tight. Maybe a bit irritable. See the world from a negative perspective or perhaps just like new experiences, I highly recommend embarking on a Forest Bathing session with Susan. Instead of rushing to the queue to get into Yosemite, maybe deposit some time to re-energizing your soul. Let’s just say you won’t regret it.


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Alex Silgalis

Alex founded localfreshies.com® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

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