“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity,” wrote John Muir, known as the Father of our National Parks, over 100 years ago.
His idea was simple: if a person explores nature and walks in a relaxed way there are rewards for health.
In the 1980s, this concept lead to the development of Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing” in Japan, finding scientific evidence for the practice to achieve calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits.
“It combines leisurely walks on gentle paths under forest canopy with guided activities to help you open your senses, hone your intuition, and experience the forest as you never have before,” said Nadine Mazzola, founder and director of New England Nature and Forest Therapy Consulting, who will lead a Forest Bathing workshop for Greenbelt at the Julia Bird Reservation in Ipswich.
The workshop was postponed due to weather conditions on May 14, and will be rescheduled for a future date.
The scientifically-proven benefits of forest bathing include reduced stress, boosting one’s immune system, lower blood pressure and an improved mood.
“Unlike a hike, there is no set destination, and as we made our way through the foliage, Mazzola invited us to really investigate the forest: to examine a tree, and to observe the stream the trail paralleled,” wrote Boston Magazine Wellness Editor Tessa Yannone, after a workshop. “It forced me to slow way down and look around, something I rarely do on my daily commute.”
As a cancer survivor, Mazzola says she has “come to know the healing and support that nature can offer us through her own personal wellness journey.”
Greenbelt is grateful to several professional and staff photographers whose work is featured prominently within our website.
Thank you Jerry Monkman / ecophotography.com, Lynne Holton, Kindra Clineff, Adrian Scholes and John Raleigh.