With spring in full swing, consider forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku, a research-based method of forest therapy that was developed in Japan in the 1980s to support healing and wellness. Striving to become one with nature is nothing new. But as a healing modality, forest bathing — which simply entails spending time and walking in a relaxed way in a living forest — has been found, according to several research studies, to reduce blood pressure, ease stress, improve mood and sleep, and increase focus.
Closer to home, forest therapy guides certified by the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides & Programs, like Jeffrey R. Wyant of Stamford, lead participants on meditative guided walks in nature featuring such sensory-immersion experiences as a tea ceremony with tea from edible plants gathered along the trail. Wyant’s favorite county locations to forest bathe include Lasdon Park & Arboretum (Katonah); Rockefeller State Park & Preserve (Pleasantville); Cranberry Lake Preserve (North White Plains); and the Bronx River Parkway Reservation’s 13 miles of paved trails ending at Kensico Dam (Valhalla). More info: www.natureandforesttherapy.org