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'Forest Bathing with Beth': Retired Barrie, Ont. teacher shares love for nature


A former teacher in Barrie, Ont., traded in her lesson plans to spend more time outdoors while still positively impacting the community.

Beth Foster retired from teaching to start her own business, taking people on guided walks through the many forests in Barrie.

"Forest Bathing with Beth" focuses on nature therapy said to have important health benefits. Foster studied them while becoming a certified nature and forest therapy guide.

"Forest bathing is the literal translation of the Japanese word Shinrin-Yoku … it means to take in the essence of the forest," Foster said.

"You are not bathing in a traditional way, but you are bathing in all the goodness of the forest."

She said it’s an experience like no other and one she loves to share with other people.

"It's not a hike, and we're not identifying trees. It's a slow and intentional connection to nature through all your senses," Foster said.

"People are invited to smell cedar, taste it, and even taste snow. There is robust research now that shows it lowers anxiety and lessens the effects of depression."

Foster said people are often pleasantly surprised following one of her walks.

"It's so slow that people can look more closely and listen more intently," Foster said. "People are often really surprised. It reminds them of their childhood or what they used to do when we used to all be more connected with nature."

Some of Foster's walks are free through Barrie's "Hello Winter" event running until March 20.

Foster said Forest Bathing leads to more happiness and enhanced wellness. Further information regarding her business can be found on her website. Top Stories

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