With its focus on appreciating the intricacies of the natural world, “forest bathing” allows us to take a step back from our increasingly wired lifestyles.
While you can literally experience forest bathing in your own backyard (providing you have one, that is), the world is full of scenic forests where wellness-minded travelers can go solo or join guided sessions. The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs has an online database of guides in North America and Europe, while Japan’s Forest Therapy Society has identified 62 forest areas across the country as ideal places for shinrin-yoku.
In Australia, Sydney’s Centennial Parklands and Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria offer seasonal sessions, as does occupational therapist Bronwyn Paynter and her fellow guides at Nature & Wellbeing Australia, which conducts walks in and around Adelaide as well as parts of New South Wales and Tasmania.
Closer to home in Singapore, shinrin-yoku practitioner Youmin Yap leads forest-therapy walks in parks such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Fort Canning Park through her fledgling ecotherapy venture Xiu Nature Connections. Amanda Yik, the founder of Shinrin Yoku Hong Kong, does the same for stressed out Hong Kongers, with two- to three-hour visits to places like Lung Fu Shan Country Park.
This article originally appeared in the October/November 2019 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Touch Wood”).