Forest Bathing
Heart in the wood
where nature provides the healing

Catherine your guide

My name is Catherine and I will be your guide. I have had a love and respect for the natural world as long as I can remember spending time outdoors whenever possible. Nature calms my mind, eases my body and nourishes my spirit. My devotion to nature was gifted to me by my parents both of whom brought the outdoors in and the indoors out.
For over 20 years I have been teaching mindfulness. to groups and individuals experiencing stress, anxiety, depression and other challenges often as a consequence of living in a fast-paced world where they are more accustomed to watching life through a screen than through a scene - in nature.
I now want to bring some of my work outside by guiding participants in green spaces and allowing nature to provide the therapeutic support. 
Having completed a training in Forest Bathing  I now encourage people to explore the benefits of spending time in the rich and ever- changing natural spaces that are often surprisingly close by. This offers an opportunity to simply be  with no agenda but presence.

 Nature your therapist

I can guide you through a woodland, the local park or any green space and offer prompts to encourage you to engage with what is in and around you, but I am not the therapist. In the work of forest bathing nature has that job. Many of you will have experienced wonderous things in nature: a starry sky, the full moon on a cloudless night, the delightful scent of a rose, the beauty of a flower, the delicacy of a spiders web or a sunrise. These encounters with the natural world have an effect on the mood in an efforeless way. They bring joy, wonder, awe and much more. Forest bathing enables you to extract more from what you might normally overlook in the rush and busyness of your day. The time you spend in natural spaces can have a surprising benefit emotionally, physically and mentally. Some supports and prompts to start the exploration are helpful as is trusting the support of nature around you.

Outcome your experience

The outcome of a guided walk is different for each person because each participant is unique and every walk is a new investigation into what is present on any particular day. No two walks are the same. The weather is unpredictable, the group is made up of people on a wide spectrum of life experience. There is always an element of surprise.
You can read on to see some of the potential value to your participation.


Welcome to this website. It is yours to explore and investigate what is possible when you participate in a forest bathing experience.
We are all part of the web of life and these guided walks encourage you to connect with what is around you in a more conscious way.
We have become increasingly disconnected from the earth that sustains us. On these walks I offer you opportunities to re-connect with what is alive and precious to us all - our environment. If we can cultivate a deeper respect for the ecosystems that are around us, we will be encouraged to take greater care of them as living systems essential to our survival and well-being. What we take care of has great potential to flourish.

What is Forest

The concept of forest bathing is not new but what is new is the evidence to support the feeling of well-being that comes from being out in nature.
It is more helpful to explain what forest bathing./ecotherapy is not!
It is not just a walk through the woods with some goal: to identify plants, birds or trees and nor is it a walk to get aerobic exercise or have some amazing experience. In many ways it is goal-less.
It is more like a well-being practice much like following a balanced diet, exercising, meditating and having positive social contacts. 
The therapeutic practice of forest bathing began in the early 80's in Japan where the stress levels were rapidly rising, particularly in cities. Through his work Dr. Qing Li coined the term Shinrin - Yoku which literally means being immersed in the forest, bathing in the forest hence forest bathing.
On these walks there is no effort to achieve anything. Destination is not as important as disconnecting and unplugging from the demands of daily life. A good start is to leave mobile devices out of reach.


What to expect

On a guided walk the distance covered is not far, usually around a kilometer.. As the pace is slow this can take two hours and sometimes more depending on the venue, terrain, the group and purpose of the walk. The chosen places are usually fairly flat and there is no level of fitness required. There are times spent with the group and at other times you will be encouraged to explore alone with specific invitations to support you. You will never be far away from the group. A respectful silence is suggested so that everyone can focus on their own experience. There is also time given to hearing short sentences from others about how they have related to what is on offer.

If you have mobility problems please let me know before you sign up for a particular walk and I can advise you about the terrain.

The science behind Forest Bathing

The feeling of well-being we get from spending time in a woodland is not imaginary. The trees are like medication for us.
Over the last 40 years a body of scientific research has built up demonstrating that being in a natural environment improves cardiovascular and immune function, increases NK (natural killer) cells and reduces stress and anxiety levels among other positive outcomes. 
The precise cause and effect relationship is not quite clear but there are many theories that it is a combination of the natural phytoncides and monoterpines that the trees omit as a protection and to attract pollinators; the microbes and fungi in the soil and simply opening up the experience of slowing down and being outdoors in a particular and conscious way. All these contribute to the positive effect that plants, trees and the natural environment have on human well-being.

Some benefits 

The medicine for the trees from the trees can be ours too. The antimicrobal chemicals released by trees and the many particles from phytoncides to essential oils can all be of benefit. 
The most common benefits to be gained from forest bathing /ecotherapy/ nature connection are:
*Lowered stress levels (reduced cortisol activity).
*Greater parasympathatic nervoussystem activity (rest and digest rather than fight and flight).
*Decreased levels of anxiety, tension, anger, hostility and fatigue.
*Improvement in low mood and depression.
*Reduced blood pressure and increased heart rate variability (HRV).
*Positive social contact and engagement with others in a very unobtrusive way.

Connection to the world
through our five senses-
sight, sound, touch, smell and taste

Our five senses are like windows to the world. It is through these windows that we can take in the world: seeing, touching, hearing, tasting and smelling. Paying attention to any of the senses allows you to be right in the present moment. What you see, hear, taste, touch and smell are experienced now. Past and future drop away as the attention is captured by the sensory input, whatever that may be.


Perhaps this is the one sense that we do not usually engage when forest bathing. However there are many edible fruits and nuts available to sample for example balckberries, hazelnuts, elderberries, blueberries and wild strawberries. If there is a strong aroma from something you can almost taste that. Stick out your tongue to receive the taste of rain.


There are wonderful smells in the woods and in any green space.: the decomposing leaves, damp grass,  fungi, flowers, sap, pine needles, crushed leaves, the soil, fresh morning air, animal trails. 


Many experiences can be felt through the sensitivity of touch: soft leaves, hard bark, feathery moss, pointed grasses, hairy stems, slimy slugs, crinkled lichen, cold wet branches, warm sun soaked stones. The are the delights of the sensation of soft grass beneath bare feet, crunchy leaves supporting a prone body. Testure is everywhere in the forest.


There is a continuous orchestra of sound in the woods, indeed in all natural environments.You can hear: birds singing, leaves fluttering, wind whisteling throuth the branches, rain touching the leaves, footsteps, creatures russtling in the undergrowth. Can you hear a spider weaving a web? There are layers of sound, distant sounds and those close by. And there is silence, the sound of silence. 


The sense of sight is constantly being stimulated in nature. Nature is a wonderful architect and designer. There are colours, shapes, shade, shadow and light.  There is movement, stillness, tall things, tiny creatures, incredible detail everywhere. Nature creates patterns,  spirals, curves, and circles. Hours of entertainment for the eyes.


If you have questions please contact me. If you choose a particular walk and need some information on it, I will send details on to you by email.

Some practices to try out

Explore a tree

Have you ever really investigated a tree, any tree? What does it look like? Explore the different textures- hard, soft, prickly, rough, smooth. How many lives does this tree support? How does the water from the roots actually get to the top branches and leaves? What is it's smell? What is growing on the treee?

Look up

Stand, sit or lie where you feel comfortable and balanced and look up. Explore whatever is taller than you. Be curious aobut the spaces, colours, shade, light, movement, clouds, birds, trees and creatures. What is life like up high? Standing under a tall tree breathing, you feel small and maybe lighter with the pressures of life dissipating.

Watch movement

Walk slowly in a palce where there are trees or greenery. Pay attention to movement, your own movements and all that is in motion around you. Allow movement to be the focus of your attention and interest. At first you might be aware of the stress of going slowly when the usual pace is fast, always leaning into the next moment. Each time you notice that you have sped up, stop. Stand still and pause. Relax your body and wait. Breathe.Then start again observing whatever is stirring around you: the trees swaying, leaves fluttering, grass bending in the wind, spider's webs floating on the breeze, birds soaring. Take interest in nature's pace and also your own habitual urgency to move fast.  

Where to find a walk

See below to find a walk that appeals to you and then contact me to book it or to get more information about it.

Venues, dates and times and cost

From March 2024 there will be a monthly walk offered. 

The two areas for the moment are:
A wood and small arboretum near Lismore in county Wateford.
A woodland near Midleton in county Cork.
The walks vary and some include a mid-walk break with refreshments.

Each walk takes up to three hours (sometimes less).
The cost is 40 euro per person.
I am also available to guide a walk in your chosen place where you gather the group and I guide them. 

Next walks

Sunday 12th May near Lismore. Start time: 11.00 and finish at 13.45. Refreshments provided. Please call or email for bookings. Places limited. or 087 2913030

Saturday 8th June near Lismore.
Start time: 11.00 and finish at 13.45. Refreshments provided. Please call or email for bookings. Places limited. or 087 2913030


For informtaion or bookings please email Catherine

A weekly changing photograph

WEEKLY CHANGING PHOTOGRAPH. This photograph will change. It will be taken in a location that I am in highlighting the beauty of the natural world that is always offering delights, wonders and opportunities for gratitude. The thing that gets in the way is not noticing!

What is this?

Froth from accumulation of raindrops at the bottom of a beech tree.

Taken in West Waterford, Ireland

March  2024

More Information

For more information email:

....We now turn our thouthts to Trees.
The  earth has many families of Trees
who have their own instructions and
uses. Some provide us with shelter and 
shade,  others with fruit, beauty and
other useful things. Many people of the
world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and
strength. With one mind, we send our
greetings and our thanks to the Tree life.
Now our minds are one,

from the  Houdenosaunee Thanksgiving Address.

When life  feels   too big to handle,
Go outside.
Everything looks smaller  when
you're standing under the sky.
Let us  permit nature to have her way.  She understands her  business better than we do.
Michel de  Montaigne.