Most people hike with a destination or fitness goal in mind. But tell me, when was the last time you wandered around in the woods without an agenda? Were you truly present in the moment? Or were you thinking about your ‘To Do List’ or getting your heart rate up?
Nature has incredible healing benefits. I think most of us inherently know that nature is good for us, but there’s an abundance of scientific research proving that spending time in nature is good for our body and mind.
For example, trees produce organic compounds called phytoncides, a natural defense against disease and parasites. We reap the rewards when we inhale these compounds which boost our natural killer (NK) cells, helping to prevent and fight illness and disease. Simply going into the woods and spending 30 minutes breathing in the forest air will help boost your immune system!
As a certified nature and forest therapy guide, I help people make the most of their time outside. Although nature and forest therapy is inspired by Shinrin-Yoku, the Japanese art of "forest bathing," my practice refers to spending time in nature in a way that invites healing for both us, our fraught ecosystems and our community.
Let me be clear: The forest is the therapist. As a forest therapy guide, I simply open the door, providing opportunities for you to wander into wellness. The practice of nature and forest therapy emphasizes the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in a forest or natural environment. And indeed, it is a practice. Much like yoga or meditation, the more often you do it, the deeper your practice will become.
It's amazing what nature reveals when we give ourselves permission to slow down, quiet our minds and awaken our senses.
About the Author
Kelly Bruce is a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide/Trail Consultant and the founder of Natural Wanders. She leads forest bathing and nature therapy walks in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. Subscribe to her e-newsletter for more inspiration from nature and to learn about upcoming walks, workshops and retreats. Each Wednesday, she’ll provide inspiration to help you wander into wellness, naturally. In the meantime, follow along on Instagram and Facebook. Photography by @zailaffitte.
Welcome! I'm Kelly Bruce, a certified nature and forest therapy guide. Read on for inspiration to help you improve your overall wellbeing, naturally!