Joanna Bristow Watkins


  • Training to be a Forest Bathing+ Guide - and be at one with nature, Guest Blog by Philippa Bassett

    Forest Bathing photo 2

    This year, Philippa Bassett trained to become a Forest Bathing+ Guide like Joanna. Her blog outlines the approach and appeal of Forest Bathing+ and her motivation for taking it up. Reproduced with her permission, here is her take on the delights of Shinrin-Yoku.

    This time last year, if you had asked me what my plans were for future courses, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have mentioned training to become a Forest Bathing+ Guide!

    However, after a year working with The Forest Bathing Institute (TFBI), I have learned so much about the science behind the benefits of practising Shinrin-Yoku (the Japanese term) for Forest Bathing+, that I am now on my journey to becoming a fully-fledged TFBI Forest Bathing+ Guide myself!

    Forest Bathing+ is essentially spending time relaxing under the canopy of trees, the health giving benefits of which have been scientifically evidenced over the last 40 years, particularly in Japan. Here, forest bathing is regularly prescribed by their NHS system as a preventative healthcare measure for mental health and general physical well-being.

    Forest Bathing is also prevalent in South Korea, where overnight retreats and specific ‘trails of healing’ help stressed out executives’ re-charge from their daily life under the health-giving canopy of an accredited woodland environment.

    Forest Bathing Bluebell WoodsBut this is not new to me. At some level, I feel that I am returning to my roots with Forest Bathing+. Having grown up by the sea in a rural part of South Wales, I spent a lot of time in the woods at the back of my grandparents’ house, where we used to walk under the woodland canopy to the local beaches. Climbing and playing in trees formed a large part of my childhood, and this connection has been re-kindled by attending Forest Bathing+ events. The feeling of calmness and relaxation following several hours of mindfulness in the forest is a great benefit to one’s general health and well-being.

    The catalyst for deciding to become a Forest Bathing+ Guide was attending the Mindfulness and Meditation Training which took place in mid-March, just before the Covid 19 lockdown. Due to the self-isolation restrictions, the theory behind Forest Bathing+ was conducted online, which gave me more time to focus on the benefits. During the course, I was really surprised to learn so many interesting facts about the science of ancient forests, their chemical structure, the wood wide web and many more fascinating nuggets of information.

    I am very interested in natural healing and healthcare having worked in this area for over 6 years. Learning about the natural healing ability of the forests and woodland reinforced my passion and I now feel committed to attracting more people, of all ages, to experience the wonders of immersive nature therapy and spend quality, mindful time in the beautiful woodlands and ancient forests that are such an integral part of the UK’s natural landscape.

    I would thoroughly recommend the Forest Bathing training to anyone who also has a passion for nature, the environment and general health and well-being.

    Photo credits: Forest Bathing images showing a track through a Surrey woodland and bluebell woods, taken by Philippa Bassett.


    As many of our Blog readers will know, Joanna Bristow-Watkins from Harmony Healing trained as a Forest Bathing+ Guide with TFBI in 2019. Joanna will be writing a future Blog about Forest Bathing, but when her colleague Philippa published this Blog, she sought permision to use it as her first Guest Blog.

    Forest Bathing Sessions bring harmony and balance into your life. Joanna and other qualified TFBI guides are now tentatively offering small group Forest Bathing+ Sessions at Newlands Corner (near Guildford) with additional social distancing and other protocols to minimise COVID risks. 

    Harmony Healing utilises the philosophies of the Ancient Egyptians to bring balance and harmony.  It was a key part of ancient Egyptian life to be connected with nature and all of the Deities represented manifestations of nature.  Even our own word 'nature' is likely to be derived from their word 'Neter' generally translated as God.

    A number of virtual courses are starting again this month, including Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Egyptian Alchemy Healing Level 1which is now fully available as interactive training modules, details on Harmony Healing Virtual Events

    Currently, due to Coronavirus, most events will be virtual hence distant readings and healings are proving popular. We don't recommend giving a reading or healing to another person, without first checking whether it would be welcomed.If you are looking for spiritually enlightening activities during lockdown, Joanna offers distant intuitive readings (past life and/or aura readings) and distant 1-2-1 healings and virtual healing circles. We also have meditations available.

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