At this particular moment in history, our lives have never been more dominated by technology. You work on a screen, socialize on a screen, entertain yourself with a screen, travel the world on a screen. Therefore, it is easy to forget the importance of connecting with nature physically. We are, after all, animals that came from the earth, despite how many concrete floors we’ve laid, or skyscrapers we’ve built. 

What is Forest Bathing?

This is where ‘Forest Bathing’ comes in. Coined in Japan in the 1980s as shinrin-yoku, a country with an almost unparalleled technology boom, it has become an essential form of spiritual healing. It may sound mysterious, but it is in fact pretty simple. You know how to sunbathe right? Well, forest bathing is pretty much the same concept, except that instead of finding a sunny spot, you make your way to the leafiest, lushest nature spot you can manage, and simply… be. 

Simply being is an essential part of Forest Bathing. It’s not hiking, or foraging, or anything with an active goal (though these are great pursuits too!). The aim is simply to connect with nature, to immerse oneself in the therapeutic powers of the forest and to harness the balm of the natural. 

In this article we will explore how the nourishing effects of forest bathing pair perfectly with the profound insights and avenues of connection that the psychedelic experience provides. There are many crossovers between the two practices, and by following our practical guidance you can do this both safely and enjoyably. 

Why is Forest Bathing Good For You?

Scientific research supports the positive impact of spending time in nature, and there have even been Forest Bathing-specific studies carried out that highlight its considerable benefits. It can reduce stress hormone levels, improve mood and overall happiness, as well as boosting the immune system. A stark contrast to the grind of modern life, Forest Bathing offers an antidote by helping us to engage all 5 of our senses, in a calming, refreshing, and rejuvenating environment. The benefits of Forest Bathing include:

  • Improved Mental Health: spending time in nature has a proven positive impact on our mental health. It can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, which contributes to overall mental health and wellbeing. 
  • Reduces Stress: the tranquil environment in Forest bathing encourages relaxation and reduces cortisol (the stress hormone), thus significantly lowering stress levels. 
  • Boosts Energy Levels: people tend to report feeling energized after Forest Bathing. This boost is likely to be due to fresh air, and the increased physical activity and curiosity that comes from spending time in a nature area. 
  • Enhances Sleep Quality: frequent exposure to nature can help to stabilize sleep patterns. This is due to the calming effect of natural environments such as forests. 
  • Strengthens Immune System: time spent Forest Bathing can boost the function of the immune system. Specifically, phytoncides, the natural compounds emitted by trees, have been shown to increase the activity of natural killer cells. These funkily-named cells help fight off diseases and infection. 
  • Enhances Mindfulness: Forest Bathing encourages being present in the moment, and engaging in the here-and-now due to its immersive nature. This can lead to deeper clarity and contentment. 
Engaging the 5 Senses

By letting nature in through our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, fingers, and toes we improve our health and wellbeing. The sound of water, of wind, of animals, the cocoon of soothing greenery and its fertile scent, not to mention the air purified by the swaying trees, act as a healing salve to our frazzled senses.

With Forest Bathing we are encouraged to be in the here-and-now, and see what is actually before us, rather than a far away place, on a smudgy pocket-sized screen. As wellness practices like mindfulness, meditation, and even psychedelic microdosing have become more mainstream, concepts like Forest Bathing have begun to be taken seriously as a way of enhancing our lives. 

Magic mushrooms and truffles come from the earth. This is why they fall in the bracket of natural psychedelics, or entheogens. This means that their ability to bring us back to nature is especially strong. There is a bounty of research that indicates that psychedelics increase our feeling of connection with nature, which in turn, enhances our general wellbeing. A study by Imperial College London found that the sense of connection with nature that psychedelics bring can last far longer than the experience itself, positively evolving our relationship with the natural world.  

By altering our consciousness, or even dissolving our egos, psychedelics can help to remind us of our connection to the larger ecosystem and the universe itself. Additionally, the more empathetic and emotionally engaged we feel towards nature the more likely we are to respect and treat it well — a crucial issue facing the planet today. 

How These Experiences Work Together

Combining Forest Bathing with psychedelics facilitates a synergistic experience that deepens and expands our connection with nature. By immersing ourselves within both the psychedelic experience, with all its messages and wisdom — and shinrin-yoku, with all its healing properties, we are able to transcend, and explore further, both ourselves and the psychic universe. 

While there are few things more magical than a psychedelic forest bath, there are of course, important things to consider before you go full steam ahead. Firstly, psilocybin should always be taken responsibly, based on your prior experience and familiarity with your environment. While with Forest Bathing, exploration is the name of the game, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a plan in place. Even if you are going Forest Bathing without psychedelics, it’s good to cover all bases. So check out these tips of how to plan your Forest Bathing trip!

Tips for Forest Bathing Trips

  1. Get to know your environment. Choose a nature spot you know well, or have been to before. Familiarity with the area allows you to relax, and reduces the risk of getting lost. 
  2. Ask a friend to be your tripsitter. It is essential to have a sober-but-psychedelically-sympathetic person accompanying you if you are taking psychedelics during your Forest Bathing trip. They can also enjoy the benefits of Forest Bathing while keeping an eye on you, and helping out if any issues come up. (If you are Forest Bathing sober a tripsitter may not be necessary.)
  3. Check the weather. Look up the weather forecast in the lead up to your trip so you can be prepared for any eventuality. Additionally, even if it says it’s staying dry, bringing along an umbrella or raincoat can’t hurt! 
  4. Gather the essentials. Make a complete kit of water, snacks, a charged phone, sunscreen, and a first aid kit. 
  5. Be sensible, be safe. Steer clear of areas with a potential for danger. Rivers with a strong current, or steep cliffs are best avoided. Tell someone where you are going, and how long you will be. Ideally, don’t go alone. 
  6. Be smart with your dosage. If you are new to psychedelics we recommend experimenting with low doses at home before you even try to leave the house. You can Forest Bathe another day! If you are more experienced with psychedelics it’s still better to start low, and be cautious. The outside world can be an unknown quantity when it comes to predicting your experience. It’s better to have a milder but fun time, than one where you are so immersed you can’t even engage with your environment. Check out our Dosage Chart here. 

Forest Bathing with Magic Mushrooms: The Takeaway

Forest Bathing is a form of ecotherapy that is proven to improve our health and wellbeing. Similarly, psilocybin, from magic mushrooms, is also known to improve feelings of wellbeing, while expanding our consciousness. When these two experiences are combined, with careful consideration and while following safety precautions, we can expect a transcendental respite from the stresses of modern life, with long-lasting positive effects on both our wellbeing, and our relationship to nature.