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When you hear the term “forest bathing”, probably a literal understanding of showering in the forest comes to mind. However, the unique term is the translation of the Japanese phrase “Shinrin Yoku” – a widely respected healing practice that has been adopted as a cornerstone of Japanese medicine since the 1980s. “Forest bathing” is the practice of mindfulness amongst the forest, and those who partake can anticipate the experience of restorative benefits on the mind, body and spirit.

It’s not about getting wet in the woods, but rather it is a process of soaking in the natural ambiance of the forest, supporting your engagement in guided meditation and activities. Once learned, forest bathing can be practiced in any environment with the same remarkable benefits. So where can you find this remarkable experience within the Caribbean?  Slow down, unplug and enjoy your deep connection with the earth within the unadulterated forests of Dominica, the nature island.

Secret BayCaribbean Luxury and Romantic Villas offers guests a holistic wellness programme with the experience of “forest bathing” at a reasonable cost compared to the life transforming experience to be had. This intimate resort is perched on a tropical hillside that hangs over the Caribbean Sea. It feels secluded and largely undiscovered, like a hidden gem waiting to be aroused by your feelings and desires.

“Forest bathing” is especially profound on the island of Dominica because the country is known as the “Nature Island” and is covered in 75 percent protected rain forest. Terri Henry, a trained expert, escorts participants on to the Waitikubuli National Trail. They are guided through activities all along the trail and given a journal to write about their individual experiences. The focus is not on hiking somewhere quickly; the goal is to slow down to observe the details, step mindfully amidst the flora and fauna and become at one with nature. Unlike most other “forest bathing” experiences which stay only on dry land, participants will literally bathe in the hot water sulfur spa of Wotten Waven after the forest journey is completed. The pools, tubs and waterfalls located in beautifully sculpted gardens provide the opportunity to immerse in the tranquility of nature and soak in soothing natural waters.

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Waitukubuli National Trail, Dominica Photo: Secret Bay Facebook

Currently, Secret Bay is the only hotel offering this service on the island and possibly the most established within the region. So many persons in search of this inner healing travel to this Caribbean oasis to experience the true benefits of “forest bathing” without venturing to the far East in search of this blessing. While each individual’s experience is unique to them, “forest bathing” has been known to improve quality of sleep, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, boost immune system functioning and boost mood, among others.

While chatting with Stephanie Astaphan, Sales and Marketing Coordinator of Secret Bay, she highlighted that most guests welcome the experience and have always had positive reviews. Two popular reviews are:

For those who need to decompress and are hoping to shut their mind off from the outside world, consider forest bathing, in which host Terri EarthDancer says the goal is to “reimmerse ourselves in the hidden power of nature.” – Vogue.com

A fellow resort guest stepped in to be my partner for the exercise. She covered my eyes with a blindfold and guided me slowly through the forest, stopping on occasion to encourage me to feel the spiny bark of a tree and absorb my surrounds, without sight. Normally, I’d feel really uncomfortable doing this…

…I let myself give into the experience and, yes, probably looked like a blindfolded idiot touching leaves in the forest. You know what? It was weird and out of my comfort zone, but it was also grounding and kind of amazing…. – MyDomaine.com

Dominica is known for its competitive advantage of eco-tourism and the synergy of nature to propel its tourism industry.

Secret Bay is known for enveloping its guests in nature — from the eco-luxe accommodations to the locally sourced food to the native activities. Forest bathing is rooted in experiencing nature, which perfectly aligns with Secret Bay’s ethos. Located on the remote island of Dominica, Secret Bay features six secluded and sustainable villas that are nestled in nature and positioned on a breathtaking clifftop overlooking the azure Caribbean Sea. Offering completely personalized fine dining, architecturally stunning residential-style villas and endless conscious travel activities, Secret Bay provides guests with the ultimate five-star hideaway experience.