We recently made a trip up the North Shore to golf at Lake Superior National at Lutsen. It's always a beautiful ride along the North Shore Scenic Highway. I noticed on the side of the road on the way up a sign that said "Yoga & Forest Bathing" with a number. It was a quick glance and I didn't catch all the details. Did that really say forest bathing? What the heck is that?
On the return trip, I caught the sign again and started doing some research. It indeed did say they offered forest bathing. Apparently, this is a growing practice to reduce stress and reconnect with nature. I started having questions. Are you taking a bath in the woods? Is this like skinny dipping in a pond? Do you rub branches and leaves on you and stuff?
No. It's a lot more simple. It's just wandering around the woods with no goal, except to slow down and notice nature. It's not about exercise or a destination. It's about slowing down and noticing everything about nature. It was developed in Japan as a response to a health crisis due to mass industrialization and urbanization in the 1980s. The Japanese government actually sanctioned it as a health remedy. Now it's catching on in the United States and right here on the North Shore.
The business is Yurts Of Lake Superior. They are located in Beaver Bay.
Your certified forest bathing guide is Theresa Hershey. According to their website, a guide's job is to open the door to the forest and let the forest be your therapist. A 3-hour Forest Bathing session is $45. It's open to adults and children 12 and older. They have several sessions on their calendar, and some will be during the fall colors. Yurts Of Lake Superior also offers Yoga classes as well.
KARE 11 recently did a story on the practice of forest bathing. They interviewed several business owners who claim that science backs up the practice, even claiming a 20-minute walk in the woods can reduce your blood pressure by 20%.
I think Forest Bathing could be a good experience for a lot of people. I know that when I spend time in the woods it's typically a peaceful, stress-reducing experience. Many people in urban areas never get to experience nature and don't know what they are missing out on. With the world being as stressful as it is now, why not try a natural remedy to find some relief?