What is Forest Bathing?

Forest Bathing, also called Forest Therapy, offers specific techniques for you to experience nature’s healing power. Do you find yourself wanting to slow down, reduce your stress and anxiety, or re-connect with your sense of life purpose?

Time in nature provides an answer. Charlson Meadows encourages you to explore this answer. Forest Bathing is a welcomed addition to the foundation’s long-standing commitment to sharing its property with individuals and organizations. Guests tell us of the profound contribution it has on their restoration and renewal. 

Research into Forest Bathing began in Japan in the 1980s. Concerned about the rise of depression in their population, the Japanese government noticed something interesting. While depression was on the rise, the use of Japan’s public forests was on the decline.  Was there a relationship between these two factors?

The government established research stations at the entrance to some of their public forests. Visitors answered questionnaires before entering the forests and then filled out evaluations at their visits’ conclusion. The results were startling. Depression, anxiety, and stress were reduced substantially just by spending time in the forest. Thus, Shinrin-yoku, literally translated as ‘bathing or soaking in the forest’, was born.

Why should I sign up for a Forest Bathing experience?

First and foremost, sign up because Forest Bathing offers you a life reset button.

In addition to reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, Forest Bathing re-connects you with life’s riches—creativity, happiness, awe, belonging, a sense of purpose, and contentment. Its techniques declare ‘time out’ from your daily routines.

Here are a few comments from our previous Forest Bathing guests:

  • I noticed I was happy just to be and not focus or think about my “to do” list.
  • Sitting still gave me peace and released the tensions caused by stress.  
  • To be together in nature yet experience the incredible space and “non-doing” was quite surprising for me.
  • I realized that Forest Bathing was a way for me to connect to myself through connecting with nature.
  • I had flashes of insight to questions I had written down for myself. Many ”aha!” moments.
  • Usually I am uncomfortable with groups, but with this group of strangers  rejuvenation happened faster than I imagined it would or could.      

Forest Bathing techniques are simple. Once you experience them you can use them again over and over. Introducing them to your family, friends, and colleagues is fun. And, you do not have to be in a forest. Use them at the sea shore, across meadows, or exploring the desert. City parks, flower gardens, small strips of land, and your own backyard also invite their use.

Forest Bathing is now sweeping our country. Articles appear in national newspapers, magazines, television shows, and cable specials. New books abound. Courses are popping up in academic settings. According to New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation website, forest bathing is a “prescription with no negative side effects”. Local hospitals and clinics are forming partnerships with regional park departments to offer programs for all ages. 

Budding interest in nature prescriptions, encouraged Dr. Robert Zarr, a Washington, DC pediatrician, and other colleagues to launch the Park Rx America website. Healthcare professionals are encouraged to sign up for free and the site provides information on nature prescriptions.

Yes. Because research studies suggest that time in nature can be as effective as drugs, eventually, if not yet, your physician or mental health professional can prescribe time in nature for your enhanced health and wellbeing. But, you don’t have to wait until then.

Join us. Learn Forest Bathing techniques. Enjoy time alone in nature, enriching conversations, and nourishing beauty outdoors and inside. Charlson Meadows is offering 3 nature soaking weekends. The first is Friday, July 12 at 4 pm (dinner at 6 pm) to Sunday, July 14 at noon. Registration at $125/person includes 5 meals and beautiful accommodations. People often invite friends or family members to join them so their experience is shared.

The weekends are facilitated by Sharon Franquemont, a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, and also offer Charlson Meadows’ unique nature-based Life Journey program. 

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