Written by: Justin Legge
The soundscape, and being able to get away from human noise is huge. Nature Therapy, specifically Forest Bathing is a great way to do that.In Japan where the study first began, it is referred to as Shinrin-Yoku.
Humboldt County now has a certified Forest Therapy Guide, through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy.
In Forest Bathing you go through a specific standard sequence in which you are enabled to have a therapeutic experience using the power of nature.
Our guide likes to think of it like computer coding, a very specific set of codes, to change the human mind into a specific wavelength. In this way one refreshes the mind and body. The science behind this is known as Attention Restoration Theory.
In a world full of hi-ways and skyscrapers, air and noise pollution, a break from the city is less of a want and becoming more of a need for people.
Something amazing happens when you are surrounded by nature. Our bodies are innately drawn to sources in nature that produce un-seeable nutrients. Trees producing oxygen and clean carbon dioxide is commonly known, but there are many other benefits nature provides us.
In Humboldt County we have thousand-year-old trees and an ecosystem that is older than human history.
Just 200 miles north of San Francisco, the last old-growth Redwood forests hold their place and their power. Even when viewed in passing and with distraction, they are compelling and breathtaking. How much more when one is guided to find the pace of the forest, to open one’s senses and mind to the vast communication that rains down from these forests?
That’s what Forest Bathing is all about. Forests like these resonate with the ancient parts of our being - the ones for whom a place like this meant food, security, connection, and joy. Forest Bathing helps you find a way to quiet your thoughts, and open your senses to the immensity of life that surrounds us all of the time.
This program offers you the opportunity to do a deep dive into that world of support and connection in the most powerful way possible. These are the oldest trees on the planet, and they hold an inestimable measure of wisdom and memory.
In the same way that an animal suffers when removed from the habitat to which it has evolved, humans need nature, and, in particular, forests. Forest therapy is not the same as just walking in the woods. It is a guided experience that includes activities that are specifically designed to help participants perceive and interact with the natural world in a way that very few in western societies do. There is an ever-growing body of worldwide scientific studies that reveal not just the mental, but physical benefits of Nature Therapy and, in many countries nature therapy is becoming an integral part of health care.
Spending mindful time in a forest has been shown to be extremely beneficial for everything from depression and anxiety to immune system disorders.
During Nature Therapy Walks will move at a very slow pace and are suitable for anyone who can walk slowly for an hour or two. These aren’t nature walks in the traditional sense, although we will be happy to answer questions about such things after our walks. These are about finding your intuitive connection to the family of life in the forest, exploring that, and taking the effortless comfort that comes from moving at our natural pace in our natural habitat.
Redwood Adventures at the Elk Meadow Cabins, provides a variety of Forest Therapy programs such as Shinrin-Yoku "Forest Bathing" Walks. They also provide consulting for organizations to utilize Forest Therapy as a health and wellness tool to reduce stress and offer tools for your staff to connect more deeply to where they work.