Frequently asked questions
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You can, but the biggest benefit of having a guide is to really slow - you - down. Many natures therapy walk participants, even avid nature explorers, recommend having a guide for that reason. Your guide is trained in opening your senses so you can turn down the volume of the thinking head and set aside your to-do list temporarily. You won’t have to worry about the time and can completely immerse in the moment. The practice of circle sharing is a key component too, to help establish and strengthen connections.
You do what you are comfortable with. In a nature therapy walk, we call our activities “invitations”. This means that they are all voluntary and there is no right or wrong way in doing them. It is not about trying to be “the best” or “perfect” walker. Feel free to talk to your guide before the walk if you have any concerns. Generally speaking, the trails chosen are safe for walks with no grave, life-threatening dangers. Your guide will inform you of anything you should be aware of in the introductions.
No. The guide not a medical professional and will not diagnose or prescribe treatment in any way. At the ANFT we have a saying: "The forest is the therapist; the guide opens the doors." Our sole task will be to gently help you to connect the nature to your senses - there is no prescribed outcome for what you should experience during your walk. Forest bathing is best seen as a practice similar to any other that supports your overall wellness. Engaging in this practice regularly can greatly support your wellbeing, but participating in walks should by no means be seen as an alternative to professional medical care.
Again, every activity during the walk, including circle sharing, is an invitation. You can express yourself in any way you want that feels right for you in that moment. Perhaps you would surprise yourself and have much to say. Perhaps you would like to sing, dance, or hug someone. Silence is an expression too so if it feels right, you can totally remain silent. If you would rather walk on your own with a guide, a private walk is an option too.