Forest bathing isn’t as sedentary as it may sound.

Bathers don’t fall asleep in scrub or spend hours gazing up into the tree canopy.

But certified forest bathing guide Susan Joachim says they do spend about three hours slowing down and soaking up the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the bush.

“We normally walk a few kilometres, very slow walking, and then we complete some mindful exercises,” she said.

“I get people to pay attention to their senses, to slow down and to observe. It’s the perfect prescription for a stressed society.”

Ms Joachim, a Deer Park resident, was an early convert to a practice little known outside of Japan, where the phrase was first coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1982.

Susan Joachim by the creek. Image: Joe Mastroianni

Susan Joachim by the creek. Image: Joe Mastroianni

The former HR manager, an avid walker, began noticing the mental health benefits after her sojourns in the bush and decided to investigate.

“I inquired about the science behind what I was experiencing,” she said.

She’s now a qualified forest guide after recently completing her “practical” in New Zealand earlier this year.

She’s offering to take people on a free three-hour forest-bathing session beginning at 9am on Saturday, May 27, at Station Waters Reserve, Deer Park.

Forest bathers must wear comfortable, sturdy shoes and long sleeves and bring water.

RSVP to Friends of Kororoit Creek at secretary@fokc.org.au.

For more information, go online www.fokc.org.au/events/forest-bathing-with-susan-joachim/.

Alexandra Laskie