SANDS POINT, New York -- Feeling the bark of a tree, listening to the sound of the wind, and finding a space to calm your thoughts are a few of the occurrences that happen during forest bathing.
Originating back in Japan during the 1980s, forest bathing is a form of nature therapy. In Japanese, "shinrin" means forest, and "yoku" means bath or immersing oneself in the forest and soaking in the atmosphere through the senses.
Linda Lombardo, Long Island's first forest therapy guide started in 2017, when not too many people knew what forest therapy was.
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"Most of us will go out in nature and walk from here to there," said Lombardo. "We are in it or walking through it, we're not really with it. Through a series of what we call invitations, a participant is going to get closer to noticing their own breath, noticing the air, noticing the tress what's above them what's below them."
Through her website, Lombardo offers public forest bathing walks, private sessions, and she also life coaches.
"The forest is the therapy," said Lombardo. "The guide opens the doors. I know that every single person who comes on this walk is going to get exactly what they need from the forest."
The therapy starts with a socially distant gathering of the group an explanation of what forest therapy is. Lombardo then leads the group onto a 2-hour experience where participants walkthrough and focus on what the forest has to offer.
Lombardo instructs the group to connect with their breath and slow down their minds with the sounds, smells, and gifts that nature has to offer. Periodically Lombardo will ask participants of the group to share what they are noticing around them or even show a piece of nature that they may have connected with.
"I can never predict what the outcome is going to be for someone," said Lombardo. "I think everyone needs to give it a try, especially after we spent so much time being outdoors now, is to try something a little bit different, maybe offer some gratitude back.
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