In case you’ve never heard of forest bathing, it’s a popular Japanese practice (shinrin-yoku) aimed at reducing stress and improving health. It involves completely immersing yourself in nature, but unless you’re regularly out in your local wilderness, you might not know where exactly to start. To help aspiring forest bathers on their journey, Forest Bathing Finder is launching a new website designed to connect hikers with trained guides from all over the world. The site allows forest bathing guides to create profile pages, list their qualifications, propose routes and venues, schedule walks, and accept payment.
Alexis Abramson, the site’s CEO and founder, said, “Forest bathing is what yoga was about 40 years ago — there’s that level of excitement. We’re so happy to offer this website as a place where forest bathers and guides can safely connect and interact. Forest bathing walks are powerful for both our physical and mental well-being. These slow-paced walks have been proven to reduce stress, boost feelings of happiness and free up creativity; as well as lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve the immune system and accelerate recovery from illness. Science has finally proven what we have known all along — nature is a healer!”
Prospective forest bathers can use the site to sign up, connect with guides, and explore the best, most convenient places to walk in nature.
As a walker, the price will depend upon your guide and the nature of your hike. As a guide, it costs $19.95 per month to set up a profile, with the first three months being free.
If you’re not entirely convinced by the idea that a quiet walk in the woods can achieve great results on your physical and mental health, check out Matador Network’s Supervising Producer Kati Hetrick and filmmaker Mike Dewey as they try it out in Japan.