Slow down and take a forest bathing walk in NYC
Have you noticed how fast we walk, how much we talk, how quickly we eat or get things done? We even forget to breathe except at the yoga class maybe, thank god it’s scheduled regularly…Leaving in New York City can quickly become asphyxiating and cause serious damage to your health. That’s what Oskar, founder of Treebath, realized a couple of years ago, as he moved to New York City with his wife and kids. We are glad we found him and are delighted to introduce the wonderful concept he came up with and that will do us all a whole lot of good.
Tell us more about the Signature Forest Therapy Programs and why they’re great for New Yorkers?
We can all agree that New Yorkers are pretty stressed out. We all spend most of our days in front of screens or glued to our devices, mainly indoors. Our goal is to bring New Yorkers back outside and help them rediscover their own nature connections. Our forest bathing walks provide a slow therapeutic experience through public green spaces designed to encourage people to really slow down and reconnect with their senses. Guided forest therapy is not only calming, in general, but has a myriad of scientifically backed benefits including boosting the immune system, speeding up recovery from illness and surgery, and lowering blood pressure. There is even research that shows forest therapy boosts immune system functioning, increases the body’s “cancer fighting” NK cells, and reduces stress levels (amount of cortisol in your blood). Studies have even shown that forest therapy is incredibly effective for children with ADHD by increasing their ability to focus.
Does Treebath somehow intend to influence people to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle? Is that part of the programs?
By spending more time in nature and natural environments we see a growing respect for the world we are living in. Our mission is simply to bring people back outdoors and help them reconnect with nature. That being said, we find the more we take people outside, the more conscious they become of their natural surroundings, and the more compassionate and driven they become to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. Oftentimes the reaction of people following a walk is a sense of astonishment that in their busy bustling lives, they forgot about what it’s like to experience nature. They leave with a newfound desire to slow down, be kinder to the earth, and to stop and smell the roses – literally. When they do, they want to take care of those roses and make sure they’re around for future generations. While its not our primary goal, the natural by-product of the practice of forest therapy cultivates people who care about bettering our earth and the environment.
What is unique about a Treebath experience?
I think what’s unique about Treebath is that we make forest therapy accessible with a complete branded experience in the last place in the world anyone would think you could find calm and serenity. Forest therapy right now is just on the edge of becoming something much bigger. While the practice is still developing, there is a very close-knit community of certified guides that we are a part of. There are about 300 certified guides globally, and 150 in the United States. At the moment, there are only three certified guides in New York City – and we are two of them. As the practice grows all our peers are developing their own unique styles of how to guide. Our style is evolving to a much deeper level by guiding walks in New York City, as we have to craft our sessions in a way that allows people to tap into their senses by overcoming other distractions like people, background noises, and traffic. We actually just did a wonderful earth day walk in the Hudson River Park where we created a mental image comparing the west-side highway to a raging river with ebbs and flows. It worked magically in guiding people away from being distracted, but instead allowing the sounds to flow naturally.
We always think about wellness for adults, but you actually offer a kids’ program. Can you introduce that program and how children benefit from it?
Sure. We actually developed the children’s program first last year. There is a Swedish program I attended as a child that pretty much all Swedes do, that has been around for sixty years. More than two-million have gone through the program. I was very involved when I was younger, and my mother was a teacher for the program as well. We were feeling that our two boys were not getting outside enough living in New York City, and I wanted them to have a similar experience that I had spending time outdoors. Young children really benefit from being outdoors. It fosters creativity and independence. We were shocked there were no other after-school outdoor programs in our neighborhood. At the moment we are the first and only entirely outdoor after-school program in downtown New York City.
We developed a very unique curriculum for our kids’ outdoor program that combines elements of the Swedish program, with forest therapy and mindfulness elements. Our program helps enhance gross and fine motor skills with an emphasis on active play. Then we incorporate early education learning tools and lessons all in a natural outdoor environment. The list of benefits for these kids is endless. Its better if you hear it from the kids though. Sign them up and let them tell you. The feedback we get is so fulfilling hearing how much these little explorers absolutely love our program.
Any exciting project you are working on?
We just finished a children’s’ book that is currently being circulated to various publishers. It is essentially a guide to forest bathing for kids that incorporates actually sensory elements – scratch and sniff, touch pages, sounds. There are a number of books on forest bathing for adults that just came out recently, but none really touch on the subject for children.
We are also working on fine-tuning the children’s curriculum in the hopes of expanding to reach more children across the country and maybe even globally. We want to give children the outlet to be able to spend more time outdoors with all the benefits that come with that. You didn’t hear it from us, but bringing Treebath to Brooklyn might be next.
Mothers’ day is around the corner, find inspiration and give the gift of a Keenobby experience to the most important woman of your life. From a forest walk to a cooking class to beauty workshops, we have the experience your loved one will enjoy.
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Written by Keenobby