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Joanna Bristow Watkins

Why Go Forest Bathing When I Already Go Out in Nature?

WhatsApp Image 2021 07 24 at 10.41.45 7Guest Blog by Katie Robinson, Co-Founder of Harmony in Nature, September 2021

‘I walk my dog every day.’

‘I meet my friends weekly for a walk.’

‘I go for a run three times a week; does that count?’

‘I get great benefit from doing my 10,000 steps most days.’

Of course we can continue these positive activities. And, we can enhance our experience when we add something new into our lifestyle.

For example, if our usual supermarket doesn’t stock something new we want to try, do we not even look elsewhere? Of course not; we’ll find out where we can find it. Forest bathing is simply a different way to be out in nature and woodland, with different benefits from these other activities. It’s not an ‘either/or’ scenario.

To answer the title question with another question: Where is your mind when you do these activities?

Is it noticing the details of what is immediately around? Or the mind and body sensations? Personally, my mind would be clocking up the steps, or the landmarks indicating I’m half way, or wondering how far away until my stop at the coffee shop as a reward, or chatting with my friend, or checking the dog hasn’t disappeared. Dogs are very mindful, but owners checking on them cannot be. This is why our walks currently do not include children and dogs. This is total ‘me’ time.

Our minds are wonderful things; always busy and looking for problems to solve to keep active. However, years of this often leads to it being stuck on ‘doing’ and ‘fixing’. With forest bathing, we can leave this behind for a while.

I notice the texture of the many tree barks; I stop to smell the variety of new growth or layers of the soil, noticing how clean it smells and how uplifting that feels; or I allow my attention to be drawn to the many patterns in the tree canopy above. I can use my senses in a directed way that brings out the wonderment in nature I felt as a child; I breathe deeply and appreciate the power and healing we get from a high-oxygen environment; I notice the tiny things.

Forest bathing adds another way to be in nature and has enhanced our lives immeasurably. Giving ourselves 2-3 hours to meander around in woodland is a great act of self care, and a common realisation by participants is that the permission to do this is so valuable.

They realise how little we notice normally, and get great joy and excitement from re-discovering small elements they hadn’t paid attention to in a long time, if ever. Immersing ourselves in all the forest has to offer (hence the ‘bathing’) is eye opening for many. The sights, sounds, smells and feel of the forest, as we each experience it, brings us into the present moment, away from the upset of the past and worry about the future that hasn’t yet happened. We simply ‘are’ and the forest accompanies us, being its beautiful self, just waiting to be noticed, to calm and reset us, and never judging us for the failures we perceive in ourselves.


Forest bathing, and in particular Forest Bathing+, which we embrace at Harmony In Nature and through our training at The Forest Bathing Institute, could be considered an amalgam of nature therapy, mindfulness and meditation, as well as its own thing. As such, there are decades of scientific research into what happens when we experience nature, do things mindfully, breathe consciously or follow a guided meditation. The (mainly) Japanese research into forest bathing has shown that we may potentially experience any or several of the following:

  • reduced stress and cortisol levels
  • improved heart and circulatory system
  • improved digestive and respiratory issues
  • reduced anxiety, depression and rumination
  • improved decision-making, motivation, creativity
  • increase in sense of connection with nature, self and others
  • balanced blood sugar
  • boosted immune function through increased production of 'Natural Killer'-NK-cells and anti-cancer proteins, lasting 2-4 weeks

Fundamentally, it brings our nervous system back into balance, which regulates our hormones and our nervous system, and resets our mind and body functions. Some participants express experiencing emotions they hadn’t allowed themselves to feel recently, and this felt safe, and it passed. Some say how energised they felt, others how sleepy.

In its simplest form, forest bathing combines the physiological benefits of nature’s presence with the meditative aspects of closely observing without judgement. What we feel as a result is ultimately influenced by what we each need at that point- sleep, energy, creativity, a sense of peace, wonderment. Our minds and bodies will give us what we need, when we allow them space to do so. That’s why we go forest bathing.

forest bathing Forest Bathing+ Sessions with Joanna & Katie

 See our current sessions listed and/or book atHarmony Healing Shop










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Forthcoming Events and Workshops


New Moon New Vision - £177
Lunar Cycle Alignment
Group Mentoring Programme
Starts 29th January 2025
Held remotely on Zoom
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Full Moon Guided meditation - £20
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Saturday 24th February
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Tuesday 23rd April (Supermoon)
Thursday 23rd May
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Violet Flame of Amenti - £88
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Level 1 including attunement

30th Nov, 6th &19th Dec
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Recordings of each Zoom session available
Late registrations accepted

Worth 1 unit towards the RSE Level 1
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Mindful Chakra Alignment- £66
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And reconnect with the Earth & Sky

Tuesday 30th April Revision
(1 day - repeaters only) 
7.30pm-9.45pm (UK time)
Full course (when offered):
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Recordings of each Zoom session available
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Introduction to Khemitology - £88
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Thursday 2nd May Revision
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Planetary & Elemental Essene Angels
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4½ hour course - £66

Thurs 19th Oct & 9th Nov
4½ hrs, 2 x 7.30pm-9.45pm (UK time)
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Held remotely on Zoom

Forest Bathing Events
For dates, costs and locations of our
Forest Bathing Events, see
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New Meditations Since 2020:

555 Spiritual Expansion Meditation
MP3 555 Numerology written for 2021
Created for 5th, 14th & 21st May

Chakra Balancing & Global Healing
MP3 Meditation Recording @ £9.99
or £4.44 to Harmony Healing subscribers

Unity Consciousness plus Axiatonal Alignment
MP3 Meditation Recording @ £9.99
or £4.44 to Harmony Healing subscribers

RSE 2 available as modular units
cost is £330

The following are on hold since lockdown:

Reyad Sekh Em (RSE)
Level 1 - Introduction

Next 2-day Course: TBA
A modular version is available (£266)
as separate units taught virtually 

Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) - £500
1 & 2 Practitioner Intensive

Next 3-day Course: TBA
Withdrawn during Covid restrictions
But a modular version of RSE 1 is 
available as units taught virtually


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