Need to relieve stress? It can be as simple as taking a walk through the woods thanks to the Japanese practice known as Shinrin-yoku, or simply, forest bathing. The theory is that trees produce organic compounds that, when released into the air, offer restorative health benefits by lowering stress levels and boosting immunity. Here are five places where you can soothe your mind, body and spirit by immersing yourself in the forest.
1. The Lodge at Woodloch, Pennsylvania
At The Lodge at Woodloch in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, a certified forest bathing team encourages guests to connect with nature and let the trees be their therapists. A weekly two-hour class takes guests on slow, guided walks through the 500 wooded acres at The Lodge, providing opportunities for deep reflection and contemplation in nature. Guest can further the experience with a walk around the meditation labyrinth and a detoxifying deep forest body treatment, which incorporates local plants and herbs, like dandelion and birchwood sticks. At the end of a stay, The Lodge at Woodloch provides guests with instructions to help them reflect and interact with nature, as well as express gratitude in a natural setting, closer to their homes.
Meditation labyrinth at The Lodge at Woodloch in Pennsylvania
Relax and meditate in a labyrinth at the Lodge at Woodloch in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
Photo by: The Lodge at Woodloch
The Lodge at Woodloch
2. Stowe Mountain Lodge, Vermont
Check your iPhone at the door when you arrive for the weekly 45-minute forest bathing session at Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont’s Green Mountains. Set amid lush greenery, guides lead guests deep into the woods, far from the distractions of life, to enable them to relax and reflect in a natural setting. Breathing exercises help guests look more deeply within themselves while the wooded setting allows for a greater closeness to the earth. Guides even encourage guests to take off their shoes to become more grounded and connected with nature. Pair this class with mountain yoga or mindful meditation, even a body treatment like the sacred earth massage, for a more complete nature experience.
Bare feet in nature at Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont
Guests can enjoy a digital detox in nature at Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont.
Photo by: Stowe Mountain Lodge
Stowe Mountain Lodge
3. Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa, Connecticut
Gilmore Girls fans may recognize Washington, Connecticut and the Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa in Connecticut as the inspiration for Stars Hollow, but today this Relais & Chateaux property is better known for its world-class spa, which includes a two-hour forest bathing experience. The on-property forest bathing session encourages participants to utilize all their senses as they traverse the 58-acre country retreat. Guides work with guests to help them engage with the healing effects only nature can offer in order to become more present in daily life. The Grace Mayflower also offers guided classes on meditation and breathing techniques, which can further enhance the forest bathing experience.
Forest bathing at Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa in Connecticut
Get back to nature through forest bathing at Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa in Connecticut.
Photo by: Grace Hotels
4. Primland, Virginia
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Primland sits on 12,000 acres, perfect for exploration and inner reflection as part of their new forest bathing experience. Through a meditative forest walk, guests can tap into healing properties that only a deeper, more personal connection with nature can provide. Following the guided walk, guests spend one hour on Primland’s yoga deck, further engaging their bodies with nature, far from electronic devices and the buzz of everyday life. Complement the forest bathing experience with a 90-minute farm-to-spa body treatment, which incorporates locally grown lavender, or a signature massage designed to heal the body and restore a connection with nature through the use of local plants and stones.
Forest bathing at Primland in Virginia
Enjoy meditative therapy in nature at Primland in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Photo by: Primland
5. L’Auberge de Sedona, Arizona
Immerse yourself in the healing qualities of nature as part of a private 60- or 90-minute Connecting with Nature session at L’Auberge de Sedona in Arizona. Each session is customized for the individual, couple or family interested in slowing their pace and stimulating all of their senses in nature. Certified leaders guide participants through the sycamore trees along the banks of Oak Creek, encouraging them along the way to find a good “sit spot,” a place that inspires serenity and inner calm. To help further the relationship with nature once guests leave the resort, L’Auberge de Sedona provides journals to document at-home forest bathing experiences.
Forest bathing at L'Auberge de Sedona
Immerse yourself in nature as part of a forest bathing experience at L’Auberge de Sedona in Arizona.
Photo by: L’Auberge de Sedona
L’Auberge de Sedona