Forest Therapy is a relational practice that brings people into deeper intimacy with natural places. And one of those natural places is our natural self; it’s a practice that holds the possibility of meeting again the kernel of who we are, and what we are born to be and how we are intended to be of service in the world. It’s also important to recognize how the practice supports every aspect of our well-being. There are many wonderful health benefits attributed to forest therapy including boosted immune function, improved cardiovascular and respiratory health, attention restoration and a reduction in stress and depression.
But these effects are really the collateral impacts of a repaired relationship between people and places. Especially for those dealing with ecological grief, the restoration of relationship to place is the beginning of the healing process.
We invite you to join our network of forest therapy guides, now in 60 countries.
Forest Therapy is a research-based framework for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments. Forest Therapy is inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, which translates to “forest bathing.” Studies have demonstrated a wide array of health benefits, especially in the cardiovascular and immune systems, and for stabilizing and improving mood and cognition. We build on those benefits and look beyond, to what happens when people remember that we are a part of nature, not separate from it, and are related to all other beings in fundamental ways.
Forest Therapy is a practice. It is open-ended; there is no prescription for what a person "should" experience, or what benefits they "should" receive. Instead, it is a practice of developing a deepening relationship of reciprocity, in which the forest and the practitioner find a way to work together that supports the wholeness and wellness of each. In Forest Therapy, there is a clearly defined sequence of guided events that provides structure to the experience, while embracing the many opportunities for creativity and serendipity offered by the forest and the individual inspiration of each guide. This practice, developed under the leadership of M. Amos Clifford, the Association's founder, and with contributions from many other guides, has become the most-widely used framework for Forest Therapy in the world; we have trained over 2000 guides who are guiding this practice in 60 countries.