A Forest Bathing (Shinrin-yoku) guided walk is an opportunity to slow down, open your senses and your heart, and connect with nature in a way that is, most likely, much deeper than any other nature experience you’ve had before.  A trained guide knows how to help you quiet your mind and engage in the natural world in such a way that moves you towards receiving the greatest benefits (the “medicine”) of the forest.  We are not therapists… Nature is the therapist in this case! But a certified guide, such as myself, will assist you, through a series of well-crafted invitations, towards a greater sense of wellness and openness.  

To help you understand a bit more, I’ve created a list of what Forest Bathing IS and is NOT:

Forest Bathing IS NOT:
  • a hike or strenuous exercise
  • a long walk
  • energy-depleting, draining
  • goal-oriented
  • an educational or naturalist walk
  • a competition
  • analytical
  • weird and out-there
  • totally serious

Forest Bathing IS:
  • relaxed, slow-paced, with opportunities to pause, sit, rest
  • typically a short distance, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 mile total
  • energy-enhancing, mood enhancing
  • present-centered with no goal other than to be in the moment, and be open
  • primarily a silent activity, with several opportunities to come together and share observations with others
  • a collaborative experience with nature
  • getting yourself out of your thinking mind, and instead opening up to your senses, your body, and even your heart
  • a way of re-connecting with nature, of “remembering” how humans used to be, and are meant to be within the natural world.
  • enjoyable, awakening, stirring, and sometimes even humorous!


Depending on the season, the day, the weather, the place… these can all vary and more specific instructions will be given based on the event.  But generally, there are some things you need to do or bring to make sure your experience is enjoyable:

  • Wear comfortable shoes or sturdy sandals.  Full walks can last for 2-3 hours, and we’re rarely on paved trails.  While we’re not hiking, it’s still good to be comfortable because you will be on your feet and walking on uneven surfaces.
  • Bring a filled, reusable water bottle.  It’s good to stay hydrated, especially on hot days.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.  Wear proper hat, clothing, and sunscreen.  We are outside for several hours, and even if we’re in some shade, there’s still a chance for sunburn.
  • Protect yourself from insects, especially mosquitoes and woodticks.  While I try to stay on trails that are mowed or groomed, there still can be woodticks.  And mosquitoes are a given in Minnesota in the summer!  Bring bug spray or an essential oil that can be used as bug repellant.  Wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and boots sprayed with insect repellant can significantly reduce your chances of picking up hitchhikers.
  • Bring a snack for yourself (or to share if you want!)  We usually have time together at the end to have a snack and visit.
  • Bring layers of clothing.  Temperatures can swing.  The sun can come out or go behind a cloud.  It might rain.  Be more prepared than you think you need to be - especially when the weather is cool or cold.  (Winter walks are gorgeous, but usually require more layers of clothing than you think you need.  Remember… you are outside for an extended period of time, and not moving enough to really warm you up.)
  • Give yourself permission to enjoy several hours of uninterrupted time - to not worry and to not think. You deserve it!  Keeping your schedule a little loose after a Forest Bathing Walk is helpful so you don’t undo everything you just did.  The goal is to have time to release stress from your life!
  • Turn OFF your cellphone, or leave it at home.  Simply putting it on vibrate still can be disruptive, not just to you, but to everyone.  This is a time to DISCONNECT.
  • Leave your camera at home.  Sorry… no photos or selfies until the end!


The forms to the right are standard documents you will be filling out prior to the Walk: a Release Form and a basic Health Questionnaire.
These can be printed and filled out ahead of time, if you want to. You will also be invited to fill out a Walk Evaluation form after the Walk (optional).  I will also have all forms with me if you don't have access to a printer or time to do this before the walk.
Agreement and Release Form
Health Questionnaire
Walk Evaluation Form
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Bircheart Shinrin-Yoku
Joan Vorderbruggen,
Certified Nature and Forest
Therapy Guide
Battle Lake, Minnesota

[email protected]