5 tips on how to forest bathe


Simply being in the forest is restorative and healing for humans. Shinrin-Yoku is the Japanese term for “forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere.” This popular Japanese therapy represents a new form of nature-based healing. Shinrin-Yoku was developed in Japan in the 1980s and has become a building block of preventive healthcare and healing in Japanese medicine.

The original purpose was to offer an antidote to the tech-boom burnout that was taking place in Japan and to inspire residents to reconnect with and protect Japan’s forests. The physiological benefits of forest bathing have been researched for decades, providing the science to support what we innately know: time spent immersed in nature is good for us.



Without realizing it, we are over-stimulated in modern and urban settings, which makes our bodies more susceptible to disease. Forest bathing can have preventive health benefits. Mental-health and stress-related diseases have become a problem on a global scale—getting out and experiencing nature improves your mental and physical wellbeing.



Forest bathing is an important and much-loved activity for guests on retreat at Dimensions Algonquin Highlands. The practice can be as simple as walking in nature and consciously connecting with what’s around you. Here are five tips to help you experience the joy and wellness benefits of forest bathing:

    1. Let nature calm your body and mind through all five senses. Notice the colours, shapes, and movement of the trees, as you walk or sit in the forest. Look closely at the details of the leaves and the bark. Gaze through the forest canopy at the sky and clouds.
    2. Take in all the smells of nature around you: the earth thawing and waking up in spring; the leaves decomposing and mushrooms sprouting in the fall; the pure fresh air of a crisp day in winter; or the aroma of fresh berries on a warm afternoon in late summer.
    3. Listen to the sounds of the forest: the birds, the breeze through the trees, the rustle of fallen leaves. The more you tune into these sounds, the more you will become aware of the harmony in nature.
    4. Touch the trees with all their textures, paying special attention to the crevices of the bark, where the Druids believed the wisdom of trees is stored. Feel the warm spongy qualities of moss against your skin. Hug a tree.
    5. Taste foraged foods you know it is safe to consume in the forest: a handful of blackberries, spring water from a clean source, or fresh young dandelion leaves. Follow the basic rules of foraging to ensure the health and abundance of any forest food sources.
28 Jul, 2023