Forest Therapy Guide Debbie Tuttle shares how connecting with the rest of nature restores humans, even improving health.
As an animal communicator, I’m so excited about this! When I connect with nature, I connect better with my own animals. It strengthens my intuitive channels. Truly, Forest Therapy can do the same for you!
Here’s a condensed version of Debbie’s interview. Since my blog doesn’t include the meditation, be sure to listen to the interview. That’s where Debbie does a guided Forest Therapy meditation for us.
Oh, and we talk about plant medicine as well, and it’s an eye opener!
Forest Therapy developed from the idea of shinrin-yoku, which is the Japanese practice that translate as forest bathing. It doesn’t mean you take a bath in the woods, though that’s nice too. Instead, you immerse yourself in the natural setting.
Why forest bathing?
In the 1980’s, more Japanese people were in industrial situations Simultaneously, doctors were finding more autoimmune diseases, more stress, more mental issues and more cancer in the population.
The Japanese government did studies to find out what could counter that. They found that being outdoors connected with the natural world counteracted the negative effects of industrial settings.
Forest Therapy Guides
The idea of Forest Therapy Guides came from an American, Amos Clifford. Debbie was trained through his organization, the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides.
Guides take people outside when possible and let them connect to nature, using all their senses. This includes the imagination. To get ready for the walk, guides scope it out ahead of time. This allows them to take precautions to ensure that their people are safe. That way, folks can relax.
By the way, it’s not a nature walk. The guide doesn’t point out plants and animals. Instead, they believe that people get what they need directly from the natural world.
Forest Therapy Guides invite
Guides invite people to take certain actions to settle into nature. They don’t give projects or commands. When people can do what feels best for them, they get what they need from nature.
The most challenging part of the walk is slowing down enough to notice and interact with the world around them. A walk may take two and a half to three hours. But people have only travelled a quarter mile.
The walk itself’s not challenging. But it takes time for our minds to slow down enough to pay attention to what’s around them and experience it deeply. By slowing down, people experience profound emotional, mental, and even spiritual effects.
Debbie shared, “I want to experience the world as deeply as I can. Because I know I won’t be here forever.” She hopes to inspire others with this outlook.
Forest Therapy with your dog
Author Nadine Massola in her book, Forest Bathing with your Dog, shows how you and your dog can enjoy the benefits of forest bathing together.
You let your dog help you experience the world through their noses, because for them scents are Disneyland, right? You safely follow them into nature.
The author shared about following her dog into a huge bed of ferns. She would’ve never thought to go there, but her dog found something. And it was like being in a sea of green, it was profound.
Don’t forget the kids!
Children are very open to Forest Therapy. They find things that adults won’t notice. Debbie’s little granddaughter walks with Debbie. She asks,
“Can we hug this tree now?”
“Sure, let’s hug that tree.”
“Let’s hug this tree now.”
“Okay, we’ll hug this tree now.”
Studies support forest therapy
Studies have been done which find an increase in natural killer cells. These cells take care of the mutations that cause cancer. About every day, people get those mutations; killer cells help get rid of them. Studies also found lower stress levels, and fewer immune diseases.
Debbie’s invitation – be your own guide
Spend 20 minutes with no agenda or no real purpose outdoors. That allows the natural world to go back to its normal activity, Do that at least a couple of times a week, daily if possible. You’ll notice a difference in your energy or your calmness.
Read my blog based on Debbie’s book, Wealthy in the Woods.
Debbie Tuttle, author of “Wealthy in the Woods,” is a big-picture kind of gal who loves gathering and sharing resources to help people connect with the natural world, with Spirit, with themselves, and with each other. Her degree in nursing, study of herbalism, experience as a wellness educator and forest therapy guide, spiritual practices and personal journey allow her to integrate approaches to natural wellness.
Debbie uses the network marketing culture and products in her A.S.P.E.N. Living business to unite, bless, build, and prosper people. Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the U.S. with husband Tom and various grown children/ grandchildren/ cats (depending on the year), she enjoys cycling, travel, music of all sorts, star-gazing, finding healthy chocolate sources, and being outside. Contact Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you had a special or sacred experience while walking in nature? Please share it with us!