Healing Canopies: Stories from the Forest

Per­son­al Reflec­tions and Insights on For­est Ther­a­py Walks

Feel the puls­ing heart­beat of the earth and the whis­per of leaves as Bren­da Mar­tin, a for­est ther­a­py guide, leads us on a quest for tran­quil­li­ty amid the forests’ embrace. Her insights promise more than just a walk among trees; they offer a door­way to the soul’s unspo­ken dia­logue with nature. In today’s episode, we tra­verse the ten­der prac­tice of for­est bathing, a jour­ney that requires no spe­cial fit­ness lev­el, just an open heart. Bren­da peels back the lay­ers of our every­day hus­tle to reveal a world where every breath and step can heal, still­ness speaks, and the more-than-human world cra­dles us in its ver­dant arms.

As we mean­der, the forest’s sym­pho­ny ser­e­nades our sens­es, with Bren­da orches­trat­ing an expe­ri­ence of pro­found con­nec­tions and shared human­i­ty. Each par­tic­i­pan­t’s nar­ra­tive weaves into the forest’s tapes­try, reveal­ing insights into our exis­tence and the com­mu­nal spir­it that flour­ish­es in these shared spaces. Bren­da’s trans­for­ma­tion into a cer­ti­fied guide illu­mi­nates the path for us, show­ing how trust in the forest’s guid­ance can lead to star­tling self-dis­cov­ery. So tune in and let the wis­dom of the woods wash over you as we uncov­er the heal­ing rhythms of for­est ther­a­py walks with the guid­ance of a soul who has lis­tened and learned from the most ancient teachers—the Earth itself.


1:41 Intro­duc­tion to For­est Bathing
John and Bren­da Mar­tin dive into for­est bathing, dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing it from hik­ing by focus­ing on immer­sive expe­ri­ences that fos­ter a deep con­nec­tion with nature, empha­siz­ing mind­ful­ness and sen­so­ry engage­ment.

3:01 Explain­ing For­est Bathing
Bren­da shares her intro­duc­tion to for­est bathing and its roots in Japan­ese Shin­rin-Yoku, stress­ing the prac­tice’s focus on the expe­ri­en­tial aspect of being in nature rather than the phys­i­cal ben­e­fits alone.

5:34 Cus­tomiz­ing the Expe­ri­ence
Dis­cussing the paths for for­est ther­a­py walks, Bren­da high­lights the adapt­abil­i­ty of the expe­ri­ence to indi­vid­ual phys­i­cal abil­i­ties and the dynam­ic nature of the for­est, ensur­ing acces­si­bil­i­ty for all.

7:26 Prepa­ra­tions for the Walk
The con­ver­sa­tion turns to prac­ti­cal prepa­ra­tions for a for­est ther­a­py walk, cov­er­ing suit­able cloth­ing, safe­ty pre­cau­tions, and the impor­tance of being phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly pre­pared for a gen­tle, immer­sive expe­ri­ence.

9:15 Begin­ner-Friend­ly Prac­tices
Bren­da empha­sizes that no pri­or prepa­ra­tion is need­ed from par­tic­i­pants, under­lin­ing the per­son­al and adapt­able nature of for­est ther­a­py walks facil­i­tat­ed by the guide’s invi­ta­tions to engage with the envi­ron­ment.

13:24 The Role of the For­est Ther­a­py Guide
The guide’s role is pri­mar­i­ly to hold space for par­tic­i­pants to engage with nature on their terms, allow­ing the for­est to direct the expe­ri­ence and fos­ter indi­vid­ual con­nec­tions.

25:36 Becom­ing a For­est Ther­a­py Guide
Bren­da out­lines the path to becom­ing a cer­ti­fied for­est ther­a­py guide and the trans­for­ma­tive impact of the train­ing, high­light­ing the impor­tance of devel­op­ing a deep, per­son­al rela­tion­ship with nature.

Guest Bio

Bren­da Mar­tin, a cer­ti­fied guide with the Asso­ci­a­tion of Nature and For­est Ther­a­py, spe­cial­izes in lead­ing trans­for­ma­tive for­est bathing expe­ri­ences. Her work, root­ed in the Japan­ese prac­tice of Shin­rin-Yoku, focus­es on deep­en­ing con­nec­tions between indi­vid­u­als and the nat­ur­al world. Based in South­ern Ontario, Bren­da’s guid­ed walks empha­size mind­ful­ness, sen­so­ry engage­ment, and acces­si­bil­i­ty, invit­ing par­tic­i­pants to find heal­ing and reju­ve­na­tion through immer­sive encoun­ters with nature. She is pas­sion­ate about facil­i­tat­ing per­son­al and com­mu­nal con­nec­tions to the envi­ron­ment. View Bren­da’s web­site here.

Thanks to our intre­pid for­est bather- Pat Kemp, for shar­ing her expe­ri­ences.🌳

Links to addi­tion­al resources

Asso­ci­a­tion Nature For­est Ther­a­py

Foun­da­tion for Shaman­ic Stud­ies: Link to Foun­da­tion
“The Way of the Shaman” book by Michael Harn­er
Light Through Shad­ows: Our month­ly newslet­ter, Sub­scribe here.

Explore Soul­ful Sor­rows, our grief-tend­ing web­site, and join a month­ly grief cir­cle


Show intro­duc­tion: One Drum: Sto­ries and Cer­e­monies for a Plan­et by Richard Wagamese
Intro: Remem­ber Back When — Josef Falken­skold, www.epidemicsound.com
Out­ro: Yel­low taxi-Del­i­cate Beats, www.premiumbeat.com