Forest bathing, also known as “Shinrin-yoku”, is the act of “taking in the forest atmosphere”. Forest bathing has been part of holistic preventive healthcare in Japan for many years, having been scientifically proven that spending time in a forest has a significant positive effect on the human immune system and relieves symptoms of stress and burnout. Researchers have found what most of us already know, spending time in nature is good for us!
How to Go Forest Bathing
Take a guide. To find the most peaceful spots to get grounded in nature, ask a local! There are many local hiking guides who will be happy to show you around with a gentle and peaceful spin on the usual hiking trails.
Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes that match the terrain you will be visiting. Wear loose and comfortable clothes and bring layers so you can match the weather.
Leave electronics in your backpack. Minimize distractions and allow yourself to be fully immersed in the forest environment.
Engage your senses. Touch the trees and leaves, listen to the sounds of the forests and waters, smell the forest air, feel the ground at your feet and wind on your skin.
Go slow. Forest bathing is all about mindfully exploring. Walk slow and stop often. Find a nice place to stop, sit, and be still.
Bring a map of the park. You’ll find it easy to actually get lost when getting lost in your senses.
The Best Places to Go Forest Bathing Near Vancouver
Whey-ah-Wichen/ Cates Park
Whey-ah-Wichen/ Cates Park is better visited in off-seasons when less busy for forest bathing but the views of the water are incredibly peaceful. However, the area has great meaning and history with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation which you can feel while exploring.
Lighthouse Park has some of the oldest old-growth trees in the region. We recommend finding a spot away from the Lighthouse, the busiest part of the park, in the trees but close enough to the water to hear it crashing on the shoreline.