Forest therapy is a practice that invites you to slow down and experience the natural world through your five senses without any other goal or focus. This Japanese art form and reflective practice, shinrin-yoku, loosely translates to "taking in the forest through our senses." Through nature connection experiences we can experience mental and physical aspects of wellbeing.
Take an audio guided forest bathing walk
These audio-guided forest bathing sessions were created by Joni Shaw, a Doctor of Nursing Practice student with Kristen Mastel in 2023. Prior to each session, make sure you check the weather and dress accordingly. It also is good practice to bring water and tell someone where you are going for safety.
Please listen with one earbud plugged in, so you can also enjoy the sounds of nature around you.
- 30-minute audio forest bathing session
- 45-minute audio forest bathing session
- 30-minute audio winter forest bathing session
Suggested local locations for forest bathing:
- Olson, E. R. T., Hansen, M. M., & Vermeesch, A. (2020). Mindfulness and Shinrin-Yoku: Potential for Physiological and Psychological Interventions during Uncertain Times. IJERPH, 17(24), 1-13.
- Bielinis, E., Janeczko, E., Takayama, N., Zawadzka, A., Słupska, A., Piętka, S., Lipponen, M., & Bielinis, L. (2021). The effects of viewing a winter forest landscape with the ground and trees covered in snow on the psychological relaxation of young Finnish adults: A pilot study. PloS one, 16(1), e0244799. https://doi-org.ezp2.lib.umn.edu/10.1371/journal.pone.0244799
- Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State Student Affairs. (2022). 2021 Annual report. https://ccmh.psu.edu/annual-reports.
- Chou, W. Y., & Hung, S. H. (2021). Cumulative Frequency of Nature Dose: How Continuous and Regular Forest Walking Improves Nature Relatedness, Restorativeness, and Learning Engagement in College Students. Sustainability, 13(20), 11370. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011370.
- Kotera, Y., Richardson, M., & Sheffield, D. (2020). Effects of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) and nature therapy on mental health: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469020-00363-4.
- Meredith, G. R., Rakow, D. A., Eldermire, E. R., Madsen, C. G., Shelley, S. P., & Sachs, N. A. (2020). Minimum time dose in nature to positively impact the mental health of college-aged students, and how to measure it: A scoping review. Frontiers in psychology, 2942.
Want an in-person session?
Kristen Mastel, Librarian at the Andersen Horticultural Library, is a forest therapy guide trained through Forest Therapy Hub.
You can e-mail her to request an in-person session on the Twin Cities campus or zoom session at meye0539 AT umn.edu.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum also offers forest bathing experiences.