Forest Bathing Melds Nature With Mindfulness To Improve Health : Shots

Clare Kelley practices “forest bathing” along the edge of an urban forest on Washington D.C.’s Roosevelt Island, in the middle of the Potomac River. In contrast to hiking, forest bathing is less directed, melding mindfulness and nature immersion to improve health.

Allison Aubrey/NPR


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Allison Aubrey/NPR

Clare Kelley practices “forest bathing” along the edge of an urban forest on Washington D.C.’s Roosevelt Island, in the middle of the Potomac River. In contrast to hiking, forest bathing is less directed, melding mindfulness and nature immersion to improve health.

Allison Aubrey/NPR

When my editors asked me to report on forest bathing, I packed a swimsuit. I assumed it must involve a dip in the water.

It turns out, my interpretation was too literal.

I met certified Forest Therapy guide Melanie Choukas-Bradley and several other women who’d come along for the adventure at the footbridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island, a dense jungle of an urban forest along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.

Here, I began to get it. Forest bathing isn’t a bath. We sat on the banks of the river, but we did not get in the water.

It’s not a hike either. We did walk the forest trails, but we meandered with no particular destination in mind.

Melanie Chouckas-Bradley leads a group of five women in a forest bathing excursion. She is certified as a forest therapy guide through the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy.

Allison Aubrey/NPR

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