Forest Bathing/Shinrin Yoku
Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by nature. Whether it was planting my first tree ( a eucalyptus) or hanging out in the mango trees in my childhood home in El Salvador, I receive a deep sense of peace and refuge from nature. As an adult, I found my hiking practice provided a way to destress, to connect with others, and to bask in my solitude and quiet my mind. This has never failed me and I wondered if it was just me or did this happen with other people too? I sought to integrate psychotherapy with my love of the outdoors somehow to be able to share the benefits with similarly inclined clients. In researching I came across Shinrin Yoku or Forest Bathing. I had never heard of it and was very curious about it. Studying and practicing Forest Bathing validated a lot of my childhood experience in nature: of course I found peace in nature, the forest is full of naturally immune boosting, stress relieving chemicals. Japanese scientist have done the research to show the how and why and more and more western countries are adopting nature therapies to improve public health.
The first time I practiced Forest Bathing I immediately noticed that it was unlike anything I had ever done before. I walked for two hours and only covered a short distance, but time seemed to have stood still: my senses seemed more receptive and I felt a sense that my connection with nature was not a one way connection.
What is Forest Bathing?
Forest Bathing is the practice of "bathing" in the atmosphere of the forest. This practice became popular in Japan in the 1950's and in the 1980's became the focus of research that identified it's many benefits.
What to Expect?
A typical sessions lasts for 2 hours during which I will help you to formulate intentions for the walk, I will guide you to tune in to your senses and the forest through the use of invitations and experiential exercises.
Sessions end with a tea ceremony and time for self reflection. Note that the typical session is a guide I am client centered in approach and tailor the experience to fit what you need.
Bring with you: something to sit on if you are not comfortable sitting on the bare ground, sanitizer, bug repellent and anything that will help you to be present. I encourage silencing your cell phone during the session to avoid distractions. The goal is to "drop into" a deep sense of relaxation and take in the healing properties of the plants and animals around us.
Do you Need a Guide?
No. Simply stated you are capable of Forest Bathing on your own. Can a guide help to shape your practice and/or be helpful for your trying it for the first time? Absolutely. Do you have specific issues that you want to address and want to Forest Bathe with a guide on a regular basis? Of course.
Individual session- $99
BOOKING: Contact me directly for bookings (516) 974-8808 or Ruth.Pertew@gmail.com
Looking to gift a session to a loved one? purchase a gift certificate HERE
Why Nature Therapy and Forest--bathing?
Why Forest Bathing?
The average sleep time of participants after a two hour forest walk increased by 15% or fifty-four minutes
Lowers Blood Pressure
Reduces the systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and improves the autonomic nervous system such as a decrease in pulse rate.
Lowers the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline.
Boosts the Immune System
Increases the count of the body's Natural Killer (NK) cells. Increases anticancer production.
Although walking anywhere reduces the scores for anxiety, depression anger and confusion, it is only walking in forest environments that has a positive effect on vigor and fatigue.
Decreases Anxiety, Depression and Anger
Alleviates stressful conditions such as tension and elevates mood.
"Forest Bathing is not the same thing as hiking. The destination in forest bathing is "here", not "there". The pace is slow. The focus is on connection and relationship. Sometimes when I tell others about forest bathing they will say, " I have done that my whole life". Maybe–but probably not. Most of us have never learned the art of stillness in nature." M. Amos Clifford.
"Ruth naturally has a gentle inviting approach that allows one to feel completely comfortable in her presence.
My senses were heightened. At one point during the guided session, I had opened my eyes and saw the colors of the forest more vividly than before. Another time, with my eyes closed, I was breathing in the forest air and could smell onion grass but when I opened my eyes I could not see it in front of me - Ruth pointed out that it was about 5 feet behind me. It was magical.
From the beginning, she was flexible even while trying to find a time that worked best for both of us - which ended up being on a Sunday morning. Additionally, when providing feedback at the end of the session, I felt she was very much in tune with me emotionally, psychologically, and even spiritually. It was a transformative experience.
Truthfully, the experience exceeded my expectations. I wish I could provide some constructive criticism but the guided session was unlike any meditation, therapy session, or nature walk I have ever experienced. It was truly wonderful.
I have recommended Shinrin Yoku to family, friends, coworkers, and others. " JK