lodge-based Forest bathing in BCFarewell Harbour Lodge is one of the first lodges in Canada to feature fully certified, professional Forest Therapy guides in support of our Forest Bathing program. We believe Forest Bathing can be a powerful balm to our over-stretched, overly digital lives and we offer it as an option on all of our package programs.
What is Forest Bathing?
When I ask some of our guests at the lodge if they want to try Forest Bathing I can almost see their brain at work trying to imagine what it is they are about to experience. Let's face it, some are no doubt imagining a bathtub or some kind of clothing optional experience! Erase those images from your mind! Nothing could be further from reality.
At its simplest, Forest Bathing is about immersing yourself in the forest environment and slowing down long enough to activate all of your senses and take in (bathe in) all of the experiences that the forest can offer you. When we slow down in the natural world, a whole host of sensations become available to us. Our eyes, ears, nose and sense of touch all become much more highly acute and become open to the rejuvenative forces of the trees and forest around us. The rejuvenative forces of trees are now seeing high level, rigourous academic study around the world with indisputable therapeutic benefits for humans. So aside from the simple sensorial pleasures that the forest can offer, humans can experience well-documented health effects.
Forest Bathing comes to us from Japan where it is called Shinrin-yoku. The term is not easily translated into English but it alludes to the sensations that surround you when you experience a connectedness to the forest environment. In North America, the pre-eminent certifying body for Forest Bathing is the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT). ANFT, and its founder, Amos Clifford, have really put forest bathing on the map here in North America and around the world. ANFT, in fact, prefers the term Forest Therapy. Again, for some, the word 'Therapy' can conjure up misleading images. However, Forest Therapy begins with the assumption that simply being in the forest with mindfulness and and open senses can be healing and restorative. If we don't want to get too hung up on definitions we can consider forest bathing, forest therapy and Shinrin-yoku to be essentially the same thing: immersing yourself in the forest surrounded by trees and nature with an open, relaxed mind and fully activated senses.
What does a Forest Bathing Guide do?If Forest Bathing is about simply being in the forest, why do you need a guide? This question reminds me of my nephew Josh many years ago who, as a very young boy, responded to me when I asked him if he wanted to go rock climbing. He responded with a quizzical look saying that he rock climbs all the time on the rocks outside his home. Of course you don't need a guide for forest bathing. The benefits of the natural world are available to anyone who can convey themselves into a forest and slow themselves down.
However, our professionally trained and certified Forest Bathing guides have dedicated 6 months of their lives to the certification process learning how to facilitate the forest bathing experience in a very powerful way. The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy has developed a very sophisticated and profound framework of theory, philosophy and skills that train guides how to help participants move through a forest landscape with intention, with mindfulness and with activated senses. We also offer our Forest Bathing experiences in the very special ancient coastal rainforests of British Columbia including right here on Berry Island, the 300 acre protected and presently uninhabited island on which the lodge is located (although we humbly acknowledge that Berry Island does have a long and rich Indigenous history of use and habitation by the Mamalilikulla First Nation). Our Forest Bathing sessions typically last 2-3 hours, involve no strenuous exertion and integrate a series of experiential invitations (activities) to heighten and activate all of your senses to the forest environment around you. Guests, even those who initially felt somewhat skeptical, always come back refreshed and recharged!
If you'd like to learn more about the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy check out their website. If you'd like to learn more about the growing scientific body of therapeutic benefits there are ample web resources including this one. If you'd like to learn more about Forest Bathing at Farewell Harbour Lodge, give Kelli a call. She is our resident (and certified) Forest Bathing expert!
-- By Tim McGrady
Past Blog Posts
Jul 25, 2022
Staff Highlight: Andrew JenningsOne of our long time guides, AJ, has been part of the Farewell Family since the beginning. Find out more about his diverse background and incredible stories.
Jun 13, 2022
Forest FungiForest Fungi are an important part in any forest ecosystem. Read more about how they reproduce, recycle nutrients, and work in symbiosis with others!
Apr 23, 2022
Staff Highlight: Daryl DancerFind out more about one of our most experienced guides, Daryl Dancer, from her love of sailing to her passion for Grizzly bears, she's got it all.
Mar 25, 2022
Sea Otter Success StoryDiscover more about the turbulent history of sea otters in British Columbian waters.
Mar 10, 2022
Wild Pacific Salmon EcologyFind out more about Pacific wild salmon. This post covers their diverse, intriguing ecology and why they're so important for our ecosystem!
Feb 20, 2022
How Hammerhead Got a NameFind out how the humpback whale, Hammerhead, got named! This is one of our favourite stories to tell at Farewell Harbour Lodge.
Feb 1, 2022
Tomato Basil SoupCheck out Chef Dylan's recipe for his delicious homemade tomato basil soup!
Jan 14, 2022
Rainforest EcologyJoin us on an imaginary journey into the Great Bear Rainforest, and maybe along the way you'll learn some ecology!
Jan 3, 2022
Reflecting on 2021Winter is the time of year when we reflect on the past before looking ahead.
Dec 13, 2021
Winter at Farewell Harbour LodgeMeet Cecil and Marisa, our winter caretakers, and get a glimpse into their winter life at Farewell Harbour Lodge.
May 1, 2021
Wildlife Guide - BearsWe put together a quick, easy guide to help you better understand what to expect when you go bear viewing with Farewell Harbour Lodge!
Apr 24, 2021
Farewell Kitchen - Paul's CioppinoWe uncovered a recipe from the past and had to share it with you! Enjoy with a crisp white wine in the sunshine!
Apr 19, 2021
Top Tips for Photography at Farewell HarbourWe are lucky to have some very talented friends, who also happen to be professional photographers! We asked them for some of their top tips!
Apr 10, 2021
Wildlife Guide - WhalesFind out more about whale watching in the Broughton Archipelago, from what you should bring with you to the best time of year to visit!
Mar 24, 2021
The Rest of the StoryThere are many stories that came together for Farewell Harbour Lodge to be where it is now. Ryne Brockway, co-owner and friend, tells us his.
Mar 11, 2021
Sweet Potato CookiesChef Robyn's easy and delicious sweet potato cookie recipe! Perfect for a boost of energy when out on the trails or just need a little pick me up.
Mar 2, 2021
Staying Jung on Berry IslandHave you ever taken a personality test? We talk about how MBTI is used to create better working relationships and strong connections.
Feb 25, 2021
Engage all your sensesThere are many ways in which we find escape. We look at how engaging all of your senses can help to switch off the outside pressures in a more mindful way.
Feb 11, 2021
A Love StoryTim tells us a Valentines Day story of how he and Kelli met and fell in love on this wild west coast.
Feb 2, 2021
The Forest Floor with MarlieOur rainforests are home to so much life! One of our guides, Marlie, helps us to notice the smaller things that are vital to its survival.
Jan 27, 2021
Going, going, SCONE!One of our guests' all time favourites! We get asked for this recipe more than any other, so here it is to enjoy from home.
Jan 17, 2021
A different perspectiveA wonderful way to see more of the vast landscape is by air! Read about one morning we took to the skies and experienced everything from mountain tops to sandy beaches.
Dec 21, 2020
Sea Kayaking with BeccaOne of our kayak guides, Becca, tells us why this is her favourite way to get even closer to nature and experience the Broughton Archipelago at its best.
Dec 18, 2020
Sointula - Place of Harmony on Malcolm IslandThings to do in Sointula! Full day excursions to Sointula and Malcolm Island. Pioneer history, whale rubbing beaches, historic lighthouse and more!
Nov 1, 2020
Differences between black bears and grizzliesA few things to look out for when bear viewing with our guides at Farewell Harbour. We look at some of the main differences between black bears and grizzlies.