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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Experience Forest Bathing Event in Tower Park This Sunday

Courtesy: Jeremy Shannon
Forest bathing does not require soap and water, just an open mind.

The Japanese term for forest bathing translates into “taking in the forest” which may be a more accurate description. And you can experience it all on the trails in Tower Park on Sunday, August 25 between 10:00 and 2:00. Show up, take in the woods, and relax. It’s free and is sponsored by the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy. Meet at the museum for information.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas, located at 90 Alexandria Pike in the Fort Thomas Plaza. 
Forest bathing is a Japanese practice that is taking off throughout the world as more people discover the benefits of the forest. You can discover the enchantment of Tower Park through short self-guided activities/meditations locales on the trails.

Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy’s Trisha Schroeder is leading the event and she says, “This is not a guided hike… Forest bathing is usually done alone or within a small group.  The participant(s) will receive a map showing the locations of the guided meditations, and there will be arrows in the woods to help them navigate. Please note that there are uneven surfaces on the trail, but this is designed to be hiked at your own pace.”   

Schroeder says, “Forest bathing is a general term that is being used for reconnecting with nature and using the woods as a way to ground oneself, heal, unplug or de-stress.  A lot of forest bathing is simply providing a forest for people to go and amble at their own pace through the woods with no agenda.” She adds that there will be “a little more structure and guideposts, signs in the woods, give the participant suggestions on how to reconnect more deeply with nature.  Forest Bathing may also have a ‘forest therapy’ guide that will lead small groups or individuals on silent hikes or guided meditation hikes.”

Courtesy: John Homer
There are some very real benefits to Forest Bathing.

It helps your cardiovascular system, reduces stroke and heart attack possibilities, lowers inflammation, and helps lower high cholesterol and diabetes. Doctors in other countries are actually prescribing that a patient take a walk in the park or nearby woods to address some ailments.  Schroeder says, “Not only has forest bathing been shown to reduce cortisol levels and blood pressure, but new studies are discovering depression and ADHD both have strong correlations with amount of time spent indoors.  Therefore, not surprisingly, it has been discovered that both depression and ADHD symptoms ease when an individual has daily immersions into nature.

 Being in the woods forces you to slow down. It lowers your blood pressure, lowers stress, and can help fight autoimmune diseases. It can even help you lose that mental fatigue that plagues us as the work week progresses. Schroeder says that “The idea is to slow down and experience nature on a deeper level.  That means taking time to hear the sounds of nature, smell the air before a rain or see the different hues presented in nature.”  We can experience a sense of awe just by examining a small piece of nature like a garden or a tree canopy or bird songs or the gurgling stream.

As you slow down you become more self-aware. We live stressful lives in the city and our woodland DNA needs to be satisfied. It’s part and parcel of being human. National Park visits are at record highs. We are becoming more aware of the value of trees to our health. There is even an enzyme in dirt that transmits through our skin with a positive healing effect.

These benefits can improve even more with a guide. So make the time to visit the forests in Fort Thomas.

Forest Bathing Event in Tower Park
Sunday, August 25
any time between 10:00 and 2:00
Meet at the Native Garden near the museum

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