Nature therapy, forest therapy, and Shinrin-yoku (Japanese for “forest bathing”) are all practices of spending time in nature and forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness. There is a specific intention to connect with nature for healing by mindfully moving through the landscape in ways that cultivate presence, open all the senses, and create opportunities for nature communication.
The focus is on the journey, not the destination with walks of typically a mile or less, ranging in duration from two to four hours. Mindfulness is encouraged through an evolving series of suggested invitations. Each invitation is crafted to help participants slow down and open their senses.
Nature therapy and Shinrin-yoku are not one-time events. Developing a meaningful relationship with nature occurs over time, and is deepened by returning again and again throughout the natural cycles of the seasons. Like yoga, meditation, prayer, working out, and many other worthy endeavors, Shinrin-yoku is a practice. And because it is a practice, it is best to learn it from a qualified guide.
The Resiliency Institute Certified Forest Therapy guides, trained by the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, offer publicly available guided Shinrin-yoku walks in collaboration with area forest preserves, park districts, counties, and arboretums. Visit our Classes page to see dates, times and locations of scheduled walks and sign up!
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The Resiliency Institute offers customized private Shinrin-yoku wellness walks for forest preserves, park districts, cities, counties, nonprofit organizations, and businesses.
Walks are typically two to four hours in length with a group size of 8-15 people. We will work with you to choose an appropriate location for the Shinrin-yoku walks within your community. You, your members, employees, volunteers, guests, and clients will all feel rejuvenated, happier and healthier after their Shinrin-yoku experience.
Scientific studies are proving something we inherently know as human beings - “Nature is good for us.” Where do people commonly retreat for recreation, rejuvenation, and relaxation? The forest. Science has been able to identify specific physiological benefits that are generated from engaging in nature therapy, forest therapy and Shinrin-yoku.
- Reduced blood pressure and heart rate
- Reduced cortisol levels meaning lower stress, and risks for heart disease, anxiety, depression, weight problems, impairment in memory and concentration.
- Improved immune system, including increased NK cells
- Improved parasympathetic nerve activity leading to better sleep
- Reduced sympathetic nerve activity
- Reduced impacts of stressful events
- Improved sense of wellbeing
- Improved engagement and accessibility in physical activity
- Improved attention and focus
- Reduced anger and hostility