Forest Bathing (“Shinrin Yoku”) is a delightful form of contemplative walking in a wooded area, gently connecting us to the natural world through actively engaging our senses. Sound, sight, smell, taste and touch can heighten our awareness of the intricacy of the life all around us. Intentionally paying attention-while walking slowly,and pausing often- can help us notice so much more than walking to ‘get somewhere’.
The health benefits of forest bathing are numerous: Moving our muscles increases the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids, which helps decrease blood sugar and blood pressure. Our lymph system is primarily moved as muscles contract, and that helps rid us of waste products more quickly. Trees emit phytoncides, which are their way of fending off germs and insects…and, happily these aromatic oils stimulate our “natural killer cells”- which are lymphocytes able to bind to bacterial and virus-infected cells and tumor cells, and kill them! NK cells are unique: they have the ability to recognize stressed cells in the absence of antibodies, which allows for a much faster immune reaction.
“Now, as we’re confined indoors by the coronavirus pandemic, often spending hours in front of inanimate screens, the urge to be outside is ever more acute. One way to satisfy these urges while improving our health and well-being is forest therapy, a practice growing in popularity around the world.” Read more . . .
– Susan Abookire, BSEE, MD, MPH, FACP
Forest Bathing Walks with Ellen
Explore the paths and trails around Port Townsend and the Olympic National Forest with your guide Ellen, who will share nature poetry and a guided meditation along the way. Please leave your cell phones and furry companions behind. This is a time to be quiet, to sink into the natural silence of the woods with less of the usual distractions. Thank you in advance.
Upcoming Walks: Forest Bathing by Reservation:
Limited to 5 participants.
Following state guidelines for gathering during the Jefferson County Covid 19 Phase ll restrictions. This limit will change in accordance with state guidelines. For now, longer hikes in the Olympic State and national Parks are postponed until spring.
Fort Worden State Park
A socially distanced, guided walk for up to 4 persons, by reservation only. Please contact us to set up your personal forest bath. This can be a sweet way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or the passing of a loved one…or to simply make time to nourish your spirit.
We will meet and greet with masks on, at a pre-planned part of the Fort; and as we enter the “cathedral” of the park spaces we can walk comfortably and safely far apart without masks, or as you choose. (Many park guests don masks when passing close by, as do I, as a courtesy.)
Our walk follows paths linking the woods and meadows in the park. Several times we will pause, listen to a nature poem, or sit in silence with a bit of mindfulness meditation practice, led by Ellen Falconer, mindfulness teacher.
(Cash Donations are accepted before the walk or by the PayPal button below.)
If you wish to express your gratitude you can donate via PayPal.
Ellen recites “When I am Among the Trees” by Mary Oliver
Forest Bathing along the Upper Upper Dungeness River