March 13, 2020
Forest Bathing in the Columbia Valley
What is Forest Bathing or Forest Therapy?
The Japanese have known for years that spending mindful time in the woods is beneficial for body and soul. Forest bathing, translated from the Japanese term shinrin-yoku, (also known as forest therapy) is taking hold in the Columbia Valley.
How do you Forest Bathe?
Forest bathing is an opportunity for people to take time out, slow down and connect with nature. In case you’re wondering, no clothes are removed for forest bathing. You’ll need to start by disconnecting, leave your phone and camera behind and connect to the natural world by opening all your senses to the forest. Forest therapy techniques will help you find calm and connect to the elements of nature, to be present in the moment and leave all cares and worries behind.
You can do forest bathing on your own, in a group, or as part of a guided tour but don’t mistake it for hiking. The focus is on the journey, not the destination, and the pace is much, much slower. Hearken back to your childhood when you spent an hour following a caterpillar across the grass or simply watched the play of sunlight on the leaves as it filtered through the canopy.
While surrounded by nature, take deep, calming breathes and open your senses. What can you smell? What do you see? Not just the trees, but take in individual leaves, the texture of each tree trunk, the small flowers and mushrooms on the forest floor. Feel free to find a comfortable spot to sit and take it all in. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the forest, the birds and insects, the wind rustling the leaves. Use all of your senses and run your fingers over trees and along the forest floor. Stay as long as you can (up to 2hrs) to get the full benefits of a forest bathing experience.
Where Can You forest bathe in the Columbia Valley?
Any natural area can be used for forest bathing, but some of our favourites are Sinclair Creek Trail, Old Coach Trail, and Lower Bugaboo Falls. Be sure to respect trail boundaries and stay away from cliff edges.
For a guided excursion, consider a Forest Therapy tour with guide Pat Bavin at Radius Retreat in Radium Hot Springs, Pat has been working as a practitioner of forest therapy for several years, offering guided workshops throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
Forest bathing in the Columbia Valley, join us in disconnecting from the digital and connecting with nature. You’ll love it!