FAQs

FAQs2023-12-06T16:59:46+00:00
Will I interact with other participants?2023-12-06T16:27:53+00:00

Throughout each Forest Therapy session, there will be circles of sharing where your FTP will allow you to share your experience – only if you choose. There is no requirement. As one steps into the moment and feels that deep connection to the natural world, many participants find it meaningful to share their journey to gain a sense of peace and balance.

Why is Forest Bathing good for me?2023-12-06T16:16:27+00:00

There are many health benefits backed by scientific studies associated with Forest Therapy. Some of the biological properties of the plants around you and the mindfulness aspect of Forest Therapy all combine to bring physical and psychological benefits.

Where does the term Shinrin-Yoku come from?2023-12-06T16:15:33+00:00

Shinrin-Yoku started in Japan in the early 1980’s. Over the years, it has been scientifically proven that connecting to the natural world is good for us. The Japanese forestry commission, who coined the term for forest bathing, also noted that we are gradually losing that connection as we grow into adult routines. In response, Shinrin-Yoku developed as the purposeful act of stepping back and appreciating time in the forest to see, hear, and feel the nature around us.

What to Wear?2023-12-06T16:59:03+00:00

It’s all about the layers. 

We can Learn a Lesson from the Swedes. As the saying goes in Sweden, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes!”. So what are the fundamentals of good clothes? In order to best enjoy Forest Bathing it is important to follow a few basic layering techniques.  By avoiding cotton and wearing lots of layers, all of our special moments outdoors become that much more comfortable, and enjoyable for everyone.  Here are our best tips to keep warm and dry and in all types of weather.

It’s all about the layers.

We can Learn a Lesson from the Swedes. As the saying goes in Sweden, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes!”. So what are the fundamentals of good clothes? In order to best enjoy Forest Bathing it is important to follow a few basic layering techniques.  By avoiding cotton and wearing lots of layers, all of our special moments outdoors become that much more comfortable, and enjoyable for everyone.  Here are our best tips to keep warm and dry and in all types of weather.

Closest to the Skin – Start with a Base Layer

Start with a soft base layer to keep little bodies warm and dry. We like merino wool with fine fibers that do not itch. Cotton can become heavy and cold when it gets wet.

– Undershirt
– Thermal underwear or long johns
– Thin socks

The Middle layer

The middle layer doesn’t touch the skin and serves the purposes of insulating the body. Traditionally, a sweater or a vest is worn as a middle later. Today there are plenty of good alternatives that are thin and flexible in merino wool, down and other warm fabrics.

– Sweaters
– Lined pants
– Heavier wool socks
– Scarf

The Outer Layer – Protect from Wind and Water

To fend off wind, rain, or snow, we recommend an outer layer that is both wind and waterproof. Thinner wind jackets can also be supplemented with a traditional raincoat or one of the thin ponchos we provide to our Explorers, when needed.  Opt for hats and gloves that fit comfortably and can be easy taken on and off independently.

– Waterproof winter coat
– Snow pants
– Waterproof gloves
– Warm hat

Footwear

Jumping in puddles and mud can be fun… and unavoidable with sometimes. We therefore recommend you have good, solid, footwear so that they can thoroughly enjoy the program.  Winter boots or waterproof rubber boots are great option and offer protection from mud and other elements.  You may feel more comfortable in a pair of more traditional hiking shoes or  “wellingtons”.

Start with a soft base layer to keep little bodies warm and dry. We like merino wool with fine fibers that do not itch. Cotton can become heavy and cold when it gets wet.

– Undershirt
– Thermal underwear or long johns
– Thin socks

What to Expect What’s involved in a Forest Therapy experience?2023-12-06T16:25:10+00:00

During our guided Forest Therapy sessions, you will be taken on a seemingly simple journey which can have a surprisingly powerful effect. Your FTP will lead you on a gentle walk through the forest and offer activities that heighten your sensory awareness. There is no right or wrong way to experience a Forest Therapy session.

What is the difference between Shinrin-Yoku, Forest Bathing, and Forest Therapy?2023-12-06T16:13:18+00:00

Forest Bathing is the English translation of Shinrin-Yoku. You may also hear the practice referred to as Forest Therapy, which is how we also refer to it. Forest Bathing, while inspired by Shinrin-Yoku, is a unique adaptation of the practice for the western world which adds elements of other teachings. Forest Bathing is becoming increasingly popular outside Japan as we acknowledge the benefits of being in and reconnecting with nature.

What if it rains?2023-12-06T16:55:49+00:00

Our programs are rain or shine. Rain often enhances sensory experience and makes for some of our most memorable walks. Please be sure to dress properly by reading about What to Wear.

What if it is cold or extreme weather?2023-12-06T16:55:55+00:00

If weather conditions are hazardous, would pose a serious risk to participants, or if temperatures are below  30 °F/-1 °C., we will cancel.

What if I need to leave early?2023-12-06T16:54:10+00:00

If you are planning on leaving class early, we ask that you please tell your FTP ahead of time.

What if I am running late?2023-12-06T16:54:18+00:00

FTPs will wait at the meeting point for up to 10 minutes. If you find yourself delayed, we ask you contact the FTP for your session.

What if I am hungry?2023-12-06T16:54:26+00:00

We recommend you bring whatever you might need on a typical walk of the duration you register for, including water. After our session, we will have a closing circle of sharing with tea made from foraged plants and a light homemade snack for participants who wish to partake.

What about social media?2023-12-06T16:53:55+00:00

Once your program begins, we do not permit posting to social media. We have a strict policy to protect the privacy of our participants. We strive to provide a safe place during our programs so participants can experience their own journey without judgment. We reserve the right to bar anyone who violates this policy from future sessions.

The Logistics How does it work when I get there?2023-12-06T16:54:45+00:00

Once you register for a session, you will receive an email with details on the session, contact information for your Guide and the meeting point location. When you arrive at the meeting point, you will check in with your FTP and be given a standard waiver to sign to participate.

My friends and I want to take our first Forest Bathing session together. Do we need to register separately to sign up?2023-12-06T16:53:26+00:00

No, each new participant will be asked to fill out a waiver before their session.

Isn’t Forest Bathing just going for a walk in the woods?2023-12-06T16:20:37+00:00

It is so much more. A walk in the woods is something we wholeheartedly recommend; it’s undoubtedly good for you. However, Forest Therapy takes you to a different level of sensory awareness. It uses mindfulness and meditation techniques to allow you to open your senses to the natural world. The experience can be mentally transformative.

And it’s so much less, too. There is no agenda. It’s not a nature lesson or a physical challenge. You are not learning the names of plants or counting your steps. Just simply being in the moment is enough to receive the mental health benefits.

How old do you need to be to participate in adult programs?2023-12-06T16:55:37+00:00

Our adult programs are aimed at individuals aged 13 and up. Those under the age of 18 need to be accompanied by an adult. There is no upper age limit.

How often should I do Forest Bathing?2023-12-06T16:19:48+00:00

Any time you spend in the forest, whether it’s on a guided experience or simply going for a walk, is time well spent.

How many people are in one class?2023-12-06T16:26:42+00:00

Class sizes are typically between 5 and 15, with a maximum of 20 participants per class.

How is Forest Bathing Michigan, Nature Therapy Michiana, different from other Forest Therapy programs?2023-12-06T16:23:23+00:00

Our Forest Therapy sessions are conducted by an ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Guide, which ensures the highest industry standard. Our Forest Therapy sessions have been uniquely adapted to be accessible to a broad range of participants in both urban and rural locations. Our experiences combine elements from other mindfulness practices and concepts used by eco-therapists and equine therapists.

How far will I walk?2023-12-06T16:55:43+00:00

Our walks are typically on marked trails and range from ¼ mile to 1.5 miles depending on the chosen program. While some parts of the sessions are on naturally uneven terrain, your Guide takes into consideration the abilities of all participants.

How does Forest Therapy help my physical health?2023-12-06T16:17:12+00:00

Apart from the benefits of light physical exercise, Forest Therapy can boost your immune system, speed up recovery from illness and surgery, and lower your blood pressure.

How does Forest Therapy help my mental wellbeing?2023-12-06T16:17:57+00:00

Forest Therapy combines mindfulness techniques with the therapeutic powers of the natural environment. This has a positive effect on your mood, reduces stress, improves concentration, and frees up creativity. It has also been shown to help relieve depression and anxiety.

Even if it’s not just a walk in the woods, can’t I do it alone? Why do I need a Guide?2023-12-06T16:21:33+00:00

Good question. We can do yoga, meditation or pilates in the comfort of our homes with the help of a mobile device, yet millions of people still venture to the studio. Why? Because participating in a practice with others creates a sense of community. Our Forest Therapy programs rely not only upon the healing properties of being in nature, but also on the shared experience as a group.

Do I need to register?2023-12-06T16:53:34+00:00

Yes. It’s important for us to know who’s with us during our Forest Therapy sessions and to have your contact information in case of emergencies.

Do I need to be physically fit?2023-12-06T16:55:21+00:00

Forest Therapy sessions are not strenuous and they are intended for people of all fitness levels.

Do I need any special clothing or equipment?2023-12-06T16:55:30+00:00

You should come dressed weather appropriately for the class and ready to get dirty! We recommend either waterproof boots or comfortable walking shoes, as well as long pants and socks.

Covid Safety2023-12-06T16:56:10+00:00

In this new era, we remain committed to our core mission of guiding people outside.  During the time we were asked to stay at home, our minds and bodies were craving the outdoors. Nature therapy is more essential now than ever.  Science confirms not only is nature good for our physiological health, but also for our mental health and well-being.

We continue to monitor health conditions and work with our community, staff and Forest Therapy colleagues to safely run programs, while protecting the public health of those we care most about.

Can’t anyone guide a Forest Bathing session?2023-12-06T16:22:31+00:00

No, only professionals who are Certified Forest Therapy Guides (FTG) lead these sessions. Our FTG’s are trained in methodology to ensure that you enjoy the maximum health benefits of Forest Therapy.

Can I talk about my experience?2023-12-06T16:53:46+00:00

Of course! We welcome our participants to spread the word about our programs. However, we ask that you limit what you share to your individual experience. We reserve the right to bar anyone who violates this policy from future sessions.

Can I participate if I am pregnant or otherwise disabled?2023-12-06T16:54:36+00:00

Yes. Pregnant women can join right up until their due date, but we recommend you check with your doctor. We welcome individuals with any special needs. When you register you are asked to fill out a basic health questionnaire so that we can plan our walks accordingly to accommodate any special needs.

Can I bring my phone?2023-12-06T16:54:02+00:00

Out of respect for other participants we ask that you please turn off your phone or place it in airplane mode for the duration of your session.

Are your Guides first aid certified?2023-12-06T16:52:35+00:00

Yes. ANFT Certified Guides are Red Cross First Aid trained and Wilderness First Aid Trained.

Are you insured?2023-12-06T16:52:14+00:00

Yes.

Are there other scientifically proven benefits of Forest Therapy?2023-12-06T16:18:57+00:00

Yes. In addition to the above Forest Therapy also list the following benefits:

Boosted immune system functioning.

Reduced stress levels.

Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD.

Increased energy levels.

Improved sleep.

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