Why Nature & Forest Therapy?
Many Americans live each day in a state of chronic stress, and the COVID-19 pandemic added isolation to our stress load. Stress is a major factor in the strength of our immune systems and our susceptibility to disease.
Nature and Forest Therapy, also called "Forest Bathing" is an evidence-based framework for accessing the therapeutic benefits of immersion in natural environments.
Empirical research across the globe demonstrates a wide range of benefits of forest therapy, including:
reduced incidence or severity of depression, anxiety disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
lowered heart rate and blood pressure
accelerated recovery from illness and surgery
improved mood and sense of well-being
increased feelings of gratitude, selflessness, and wonder
Welcome! My name is Lara Beth Jones, I’m a licensed occupational therapist and certified nature and forest therapy guide. I grew up in the marshes and forests near Wilmington, NC, and I currently live in the Sandhills of NC. I received a B.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill in American Studies with a Southern Studies concentration in 2006 and returned to UNC for an M.S. in Occupational Therapy in 2014.
In the time between my undergraduate and graduate studies, I worked as a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon, Montana, and Arizona and taught English as a Second Language to elementary students in South Korea. In my career as an occupational therapist, I have had the joy of working with both pediatric and adult populations and in 2020, I became a certified nature and forest therapy guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. It is with a grateful heart that I am answering the call to integrate this nature and forest therapy offering into my occupational therapy practice.
I was honored to receive the crown and title of Ms. North Carolina North America in March of 2022 on the platform of sharing the wellness benefits provided by spending time in nature.
If you’re interested in booking nature & forest therapy retreats or speaking events, you're welcome to contact me via the form below.
I work in partnership with natural spaces to accompany and support others on journeys through which they find and manifest their own personal wellness. In this context, wellness is relational. Because we are all connected, your connection with wellness heals you and the world around you.
I envision a world where every person has a meaningful, reciprocal connection with nature in order to improve mental and physical health, to promote well-being, to facilitate relaxation and to reduce stress.
“We’ve all been having to sacrifice so much during the Covid pandemic, so carving out some time to be present in nature felt really refreshing. Lara Beth’s patient and gentle personality while guiding our group through the session, allowed us the space to have an honest authentic experience. I’m already thinking of ways to incorporate her practice into a team-building experience for my company!”
Get In Touch
Let's talk about how we can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of nature together.
Nature and Forest Therapy, or Forest Bathing, has been or is currently being offered in partnership with:
Southern Pines Public Library
Arts Council of Moore County
Town of Southern Pines
Village of Pinehurst
Town of Aberdeen
Pinehurst United Methodist Church
Wounded Warrior Project