You won’t walk fast or get in your 10,000 steps if you go Forest Bathing in Berkshire with Adore Your Outdoors.
The sessions are instead a chance to slow down, activate your senses and get some headspace.
Daily walks have become part of most of our routines during the pandemic. At first, an escape from the house for a breath of fresh air when the government allowed and then for many, a coping mechanism, stress relief and exercise to boost mood as we returned, in part, to normal life.
We’ve come to realise the importance of being amongst mother nature and some say the great outdoors even has a healing power with green spaces thought to be essential to our wellbeing.
What is forest bathing?
In Japan, this act of immersing oneself in nature is called shinrin-yoku which translates literally as ‘forest bathing’ – and refers to a process of bathing our senses, rather than our bodies (there’s no swimming involved), in the forest’s atmosphere.
Forest bathing is now being used by a number of therapists across the UK to help those with mental health conditions. One such session is being hosted by Adore Your Outdoors, run by Sonya Dibbin, at venues across Berkshire and Hampshire.
Sonya says: “Forest therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic practice that connects people to natural environments through gentle sensory-based guided mindfulness exercises. It’s not the same as taking the dog out or identifying species, it’s about connecting to nature and moving into feeling compassion for the natural world.”
What are the benefits of forest bathing?
Some of the health benefits of forest bathing include reducing stress, boosting the immune system, improved mood, and reduced depression and anxiety. It has also been found to improve emotional wellbeing and boost energy. Sonya reports people say they are “raring to go” after a session.There are lots of other benefits too, including enhanced sleep, focus, more feelings of gratitude and emotional resilience and a heightened ability to feel trust, empathy and kindness towards others.
Sonya says: “From a personal perspective, the practice has fundamentally changed who I am. And to help others activate their senses, tune in and connect to nature and process through blocked emotions or difficult memories is an incredible gift.
“There is so much in nature that brings a deep joy and delight and I feel so grateful to have found this now.”