Follow one of the region’s forest therapy guides on a custom walking plan that incorporates plant observation and pacing as you immerse yourself in the natural world. To achieve the greatest benefit, leave your cell phone in the car.
Melanie Choukas-Bradley is the region’s foremost authority on forest bathing, and she leads multiple walks each year at different woodland parks. A certified nature and forest therapy guide, she is also the author of The Joy of Forest Bathing: Reconnect with Wild Places & Rejuvenate Your Life. To accompany her in an exploration of Woodend Sanctuary, Theodore Roosevelt Island, Rock Creek Park and other forested parks, check her website. // prices vary
Join certified expert Denise Burdette of Fertile Run on a guided walk around Lake Fairfax or Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to learn the healing practice of forest bathing. Her guided experiences focus on positive psychology and resilience (otherwise known as “the science of happiness”) through immersion in nature. For her winter walks, check her website for dates and locations of her upcoming programs. // prices vary
Follow one of the U.S. National Arboretum’s certified guides through the forests of the country’s treasured landmark. The two-hour program explores the benefits of shinrin-yoku while engaging body and mind in this outdoor museum filled with specimen plantings, shrubs and trees. // 3501 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC; $35
Guide Kim Strader leads forest bathing programs for the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, including planned treks through Morven Park, Rust Sanctuary and the JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary. Some sessions combine wandering and resting in a slow-paced walk covering approximately 3 miles, but check the website for details and dates. // prices vary
Regular forest bathers can enhance their practice in a two-day basic forest therapy guide training with Earth Walkways. Led by spiritual life coach Darlene Rollins, the lessons focus on sensory presence and the reduction of stress. The training involves 14 hours of classroom instruction at a semiprivate retreat outside of Fredericksburg and includes meals, gear and tent camping. // programs range from $15-$295