As a rule of thumb, when choosing the best Forest Bathing course, you will want to check if the institutes on your shortlists meet all these 4 criteria.
Research-based and science-backed curriculum
Gone are the days of the “passive” clients—the person who only reacts to health issues and blindly follows health practitioners’ advice. Today, wellness requires something different; a proactive approach, taking charge, feeling empowered, doing the research and digging into the details on your own before making decisions.
When you start your own practice, the majority of your clients will be the type who are simply happy to try something new and spend some time in nature. Having said that, there will be a number of people who are skeptical and curious or even some with real health issues who want to know what you are doing can really alleviate their symptoms. This is when your training serves you. If you are able to describe what you do and how it could be beneficial for your clients with research data, you are well on your path to success. In addition, being honest about what Forest Bathing is and what it is not will earn you that credibility. This interrelates with the next criterion.
High standards of training with ethical standards and code of conduct
All institutes will claim that they have high standards of training, but how could you tell the ones that do from the ones that do not? Look for the institutes that include ethical standards and code of conduct in their curriculum. Similar to other wellness practitioners of other modalities, there are sets the standard expected of Shinrin Yoku guides and instructors. It outlines the behavior and attitudes that you should expect to experience from those practitioners signed up to the code. It helps them to provide safe, guaranteed care and support.
In addition, it is also important to be on the lookout for the institutes that make false claims. As Shinrin Yoku gains popularity in the world of wellness, too many people are commercializing it. The term Forest Therapy and Nature Therapy are used loosely as a synonym of Forest Bathing by many institutes offering Forest Bathing courses.
For further information on the topic above, read our post on What is Forest Therapy and Can Anyone Offer a Forest Therapy Program?
Accredited certification program The Best Forest Bathing Course
One of the first steps any prospective student should take before choosing the best Forest Bathing course and enrolling in it is to verify whether or not the institute is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency.
Accreditation is a voluntary activity initiated by the institute. It requires a rigorous self-evaluation and an independent, objective peer appraisal of the overall educational quality. Accreditation emphasizes quality assurance and a commitment to continuous quality enhancement.
This criterion is apparently not a must-have for any training course, however, it is the one criterion that sets the best Forest Bathing course apart. And, if making a living out of what you love and being able to get a return on your training is what you aspire to do, then this is pivotal.
From our experience, we have come to know far too many Forest Bathing practitioners who have no clue how to take their training forward and start a business. They are left with a certificate and, perhaps, a handbook book, but are unable to turn their passion into a vocation. We spoke to a certified practitioner in Serbia who mentioned “Shinrin Yoku is more of a hobby, as it is a new thing in not only Serbia, but on Balkan peninsula.”
While we see “newness” as an opportunity to have a first-mover advantage which can help one gain a competitive advantage by being the first to market Shinrin Yoku in the region, an undeveloped entrepreneurial mindset may see this as an obstacle and is hindered by the idea of going into the unknown territory. Sadly, this is very common.
With the right education and training, you can be guided and inspired to take the leap of faith which will open doors to endless possibilities.