The art of forest bathing is a common therapy in Japan – and now it’s coming to the UK
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Published: 6 August 2017
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
First there was yoga, then there was sushi: just two of many trends inherited from the East that are now considered mainstream. Now another big Eastern trend is set to take Britain by storm: the art of forest bathing.
Forest Holidays will introduce forest bathing at its Hampshire and Norfolk locations from September 2017, with more locations across the UK to follow.
Its forest rangers have undergone extensive training with The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programmes, and they’re all set to impart their wisdom to those in need of a de-stressing boost in the woods.
Mental and physical benefits
The premise is simple and profound: by spending time actively engaging with Nature, we reconnect to the natural world and can gain both mental and physical rejuvenation.
Leave all devices behind. Go to a forest. Walk slowly. Breathe. Open all your senses. This is the healing way as it is known in Japan.
Forest bathing – the medicine of simply being in the forest – has become a cornerstone of preventative healthcare in Japan, where millions spent on research and a quarter of the population regularly visit one of 48 officially designated Forest Therapy bases.
Forest bathing in the UK
Now there is no need to fly across continents to experience it. From your base in the luxury and comfort of your forest cabin or treehouse you can choose to sample this ancient art of re-connecting with Nature, well-known in Japan but completely unknown in Britain.
For £30 for a full three hours, you can expect to experience a relaxing forest trail with your forest therapy guide where you will immerse yourself in the art of forest bathing.
The finale to this special experience is a tea ceremony with your guide and other guests, where everyone may reflect upon how bathing in the forest has helped them to de-stress and become mindful, pensive and relaxed again. The tea used in this traditional Japanese ceremony is naturally made from foraged plants from the forest.
Non-participating friends or partners can take it easy by chilling in their woodland cabin’s private hot tub, go for a spot of bike riding or take a guided forest ranger activity such as Forest Survival or Night Vision.
Forest Bathing sessions will start in September 2017 and are bookable online. A weekend break in September starts at £545 for a two-bedroom cabin (for up to four) in Thorpe Forest, Norfolk. A cosy Hideaway cabin for two people costs from £795 in November in Blackwood Forest, Hampshire.