Forest bathing is a research-based framework for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments.
Shinrin-yoku, as it is called in Japan, began there in the 1980s as the Japanese government's response to a noticeable decline in health (increased heart attacks, high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, depression, and more) during the tech boom. Researchers used 22 national sites for the purpose of forest bathing, and found dramatic improvement in blood pressure, variable heart rate, and cortisol levels (the stress hormone) after a 2-hour walk.
Studies continue to demonstrate a wide array of health benefits, especially in the cardiovascular and immune systems, mood, and cognitive function. ANFT Certified Guides build on those benefits and look beyond, to what happens when people remember that we are a part of nature and related to all other beings in fundamental ways.
A forest bathing walk is not a hike or a workout; we move slowly and, for the most part, in silence. A series of guided activities, called invitations, are offered along the way to assist you in finding your own authentic way of interacting with the land. The walk follows the standard sequence of ANFT and the experience ends with a tea ceremony, where you'll enjoy tea made from local plants, along with some healthy snacks.
Meet Sue Smith
Founder of Roots in Nature
Sue Smith is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide with the ANFT and believes in the healing power of nature. She founded Roots in Nature as an addition to her health counseling practice, Prime Health Style. Over the past 7 years, Sue has worked with individuals and groups to promote better nutrition and a happier, healthier lifestyle. She has lived in Japan, where shinrin-yoku started, and is a frequent traveler and outdoor enthusiast wherever she goes.
Sue’s background includes work in the fields of culinary arts and design, evident in the special touches she brings to the walks. She is a docent at the Asia Society, NYC and a volunteer at PAWS, an animal shelter in Norwalk, CT. Sue is committed to the precious land on which we walk, and donates a portion of all fees to the organizations involved in their care and preservation.