Forest Therapy Walk: A Chance To Free the Mind

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Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a walk outside.

That’s just what these visitors did as they connected with nature in the woods of The Morton Arboretum. Though this may look like just a casual stroll, this forest therapy walk has greater purpose. Inspired by the Japanese practice of forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku, the slow paced walk is set to lower stress, free the mind, and help you connect with your five senses.

“It’s so hard for us in our day-to-day lives. We’re always multi-tasking. Moving quickly in traffic, listening to the news. But when you’re on your walk it’s time for you. And I think people really enjoy having the chance to just slow down and take some time just for themselves to connect with nature,” said Brenda Spitzer, certified forest therapy guide at The Morton Arboretum.

Participants immersed themselves into nature for an hour and 45 minutes and got the chance to smell the fresh clean air, hear the sounds of the forest and get a closer look at the simpler things.

“I was pleasantly surprised at how calm it made me feel,” said therapy walker Jennifer Kfoury.

And the therapy experience drew not only locals, but also visitors from Urbana, looking to bring a breath of fresh air down south.

“Our hope is that we could have this experience,” said Tim Bartlett, executive director at Urbana Park District. “Learn a little more about forest therapy and take it back to our region in central Illinois so we can offer it in our woodlands our prairies and wetlands.”

The forest therapy walk is open all year round for ages 16 and up though there is talk of expanding it to kids.

Naperville News 17’s Antonia Acuna reports.