February 16, 2022 3 min read 1 Comment

You carry a forest inside you. It is a mirror within of the great forests of the world. ~ M. Amos Clifford

Humans are not separate from nature.

It is because we belong among the forests, the lakes, the rivers, and streams that emotional healing happens faster and the effects last longer when we can “plug in” to this amazing network.

We might describe this network as trees, ferns, grasses, dirt, moss, and even fungi.  It’s among this place that we can both give love and receive love in a simple, innocent exchange and it offers a perfect opportunity to heal the broken relationship between humans and the natural world.

In this exchange we ask for nothing from the forest, and the forest asks for nothing from us – yet the exchange is profound when it comes from a place of love. The simple exchange of us breathing among the trees is reciprocity in its purest form. We breath out and the forest breaths in what we exhale. We were meant to be together.

Forest bathing can be an occasional practice, but it’s when we make it a regular practice that it can have a profound effect on our lives. While we may not have access to the forest on a regular basis, most of us can find ways to benefit from the practice regularly and find ways to deeply connect to the natural world around us. Aromatherapy can bridge the gap when we are busy or just can't get into the woods.

So - what is Forest Bathing?

When we think of the word bathing, we generally think of water.  With forest bathing I invite you to think of the air as though it were water washing over you. It moves and flows around you, has currents and carries sound like the whispering of the leaves, and also carries with it the aromatic aerosols of the forest itself. Yes … Aromatherapy!

When we Forest Bathe, we let these currents of air flow all around us touching our skin, enlivening our senses while we breath in these aromatic molecules.

The forest aerosols are rich in a category of chemical constituents call terpenes. The very scent of the forest itself. As an aromatherapist, I have a deep love of the essential oils that fall under the category of forest oils as well as few that are distilled from bark, berries leaves, twigs, and resin.

Not all of us have access to the forest on any given day, but it is easy to diffuse these essential oils and reap many of the benefits of Forest Bathing anytime of the day or night.

Juniper Berry– is beneficial for sore muscles, deep tissue massage and is wonderful for increasing circulation. It is calming without being sedative and extremely grounding. I love this oil for my yoga practice or meditation.

Citrus Essential Oils– such as grapefruit, bergamot, orange, and lime, come with concentration of limonene and pinene as high as 95%! These oils are energizing and have cognitive and stimulating effects. In small amounts in skincare, these oils can keep the skin plump, soft, and clean. (Be extremely careful though, as these can also be skin sensitizing in the sun)

Fir | Spruce | Pine –The aromatic profile of these oils is unmistakable and smell just like the trees themselves! Any of these are amazing at clearing your home of stagnant energy, uplifting your spirit, and generally elevating your sense of wellbeing. They are also amazing clearing the respiratory system, as well as being wonderfully antibacterial.

Ho Wood – Although not a mainstream oil, it is one of my favorites! Incredibly high in a chemical profile called linalool, Ho Wood has an extremely calming and sedative effect. The scent is slightly earthy with just a touch of richness. This is one of my favorites for anxiety and a worried mind. It makes a good choice for a unisex oil because the smell is a nice balance making it very appealing to all. 

I always think of Forest Bathing in relation to one of my favorite movies - Avatar. In this wonderfully animated movie, the Indigenous people of the forest can plug into the Great Mother whenever they want and all that is required is honor and respect. We have this inside of us too!

Just remember … Forest Bathing is not a hike, nor even a walk as that would imply a destination. Forest Bathing has no destination, nor does it have a goal. It is an opportunity to be among the trees while rooting us to the present moment. This is where the magic happens.


1 Response

Maria
Maria

March 26, 2022

This meditation helps put me to sleep at night. Barb’s voice is so soothing and I felt like I was in a a beautiful forest on a summer day!

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