It’s not what you think. At least, not entirely. Forest bathing may sound like you’re about to jump into a creek like a puppy in the summertime, but trust us — there’s no getting naked, and this Japanese tradition is set to be your new favorite self-care ritual. Shinrin-yoku began in Japan back in the 1980s, and in the intervening decades it’s found its way from South Korea to Europe and is now sweeping the US spa community.
We’ve been fans of the trend for awhile, but to explain the ritual in a nutshell, forest bathing is the practice of taking a slow, meditative, guided walk through the woods to ease anxiety, calm nerves, and improve mood. It’s like an intense therapy sesh with mother nature. It’s restorative, gentle, and balancing — which feels particularly necessary considering today’s political climate, right? If you’re looking to get back to nature in trend-right fashion, we’ve rounded up six of the most refreshing forest bathing spas so you can start planning your next girls’ weekend stat.
1. Blackberry Farm, Tennessee: For those looking to get their om on with a side of circuit training, we suggest checking out Blackberry Farm’s “deep healing woods” spa packages. Instead of the traditional tame trek through the woods, you can choose an endurance hike or forest run at the luxury Tennessee resort. Each activity concludes with a guided meditation for a well-rounded nature experience.
2. Mohonk Mountain House, New York: If the crystal-clear lake, stunning vistas, and majestic castle don’t sink you into a state of deep relaxation the minute you arrive at this Hudson Valley resort, then maybe the “mindfulness in motion” forest bath will help. Mohonk house takes forest bathing so seriously, they’ve got a certified mindfulness PhD on hand to take your nature walk to the next level.
3. Lodge at Woodloch, Pennsylvania: Tucked away in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains, this luxe resort makes for a perfect weekend trip for almost anyone living in the northeast metro area. Their brand of forest bathing involves “slow, contemplative, and deliberate [walks] and will focus on keeping the body and mind in the present while teaching techniques for deep breathing and mind-body awareness, as well as taking note of the little miracles of the forest.” They also encourage group forest bathing for family reunions or corporate retreats (just make sure you fully prep your boss before pitching team bathing!).
4. L’Auberge de Sedona, Arizona: Sure, you might think that a forest bath in the middle of the desert would mean the threat of tumbleweeds you-know-where, but this insanely gorgeous Arizona spa boasts acres of greenery (and even a creek!) to explore. As a guest, you can indulge in a complimentary forest bath, led by a certified “forest bathing facilitator” where you’ll be invited to “commune with nature.” Expect dipping your toes in the creek, a traditional tea ceremony, and a complimentary journal to record your experience.
5. Primland, Virginia: At this western Virginia spa, you’ll get a guided forest bath “to help open the senses, hone intuition, and experience the forest in a deep, personal way,” that includes activities, meditations, and even some yoga. Afterward, we suggest indulging in the lavender float facial, where you’re left in a private float tank to soak after a 90-minute lavender treatment.
6. Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa, Connecticut: With only 30 rooms and a 20,000-square-foot spa, this Vermont boutique hotel seriously cares about relaxation. They offer solo, couple, and group forest baths so you can get your wellness on in whatever way speaks to you most.
Have you ever had a forest bath? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know what you thought of the experience — we’re so curious!