Evidence shows that forest bathing decreases the stress hormone cortisol, provides benefits to the central nervous system, and contributes to relaxation.

What is forest bathing?

Shinrin-yoku, popularly known as forest bathing, is a contemporary mindfulness practice originating in Japan. Though forms of ecotherapy have existed for centuries, Shinrin Yoku has grown in popularity due to its accessibility and research-based impact.

Nature is a teacher and Shinrin-yoku opens us to its lessons. Forest bathing brings the practitioner into greater self-awareness, increased interconnectivity with our ecological setting, and a sense of peace in our experience. By disconnecting from the businesses of our industrialized life, we can reconnect with our source of being.

The practice

Shinrin-yoku can be as simple as taking a slow walk through the forest. If you are beginning the practice for the first time, here a couple of pointers:

  1. Connect Intentionally – Disconnect from your phone, reconnect with nature.
  2. Move Slowly – Paying attention to your walking, using this time to leave behind the rush of daily life.
  3. Breath Fully –  There is a reason breathing is important to so many mindful practices! As you walk, come into awareness of your breath. If you feel your mind wandering, this can be a great way of reengaging the experience.
  4. Notice Curiously – The forest is full of oddities, surprises, and lessons. Using all of your senses, notice the world around you. What do you smell, see, feel?
  5. Reflect Openly – After your walk it is helpful to reflect on your experience. Simply asking, “what did I see?” can meaningfully reengage your experience. Many forest bathers keep a journal, but this can be as casual as you wish.


WFU Campus Police: 336.758.5911

USDA Forest Safety and Ethics


Forest bathing opportunities are regularly offered in conjunction with the Reynolda House Museum of Art. Click here for more information.

Looking to schedule a personal consultation or guided forest bathing experience? The Office of the Chaplain can help curate an experience that speaks to your needs.