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Abstract green forest art

Our Creation Story

Motz Studios is a Minneapolis-based wellness provider of evidence-based, therapeutic, forest bathing walks. The company was founded in 2018.  The walks are based on the Japanese tradition of Shinrin Yoku, which emphasizes engaging all of your senses in an intentional, immersive, and meditative experience of nature. 

​We come to nature for spiritual, mental, and physical nourishment at the pivotal times in our lives.  Yet we also need ongoing nourishment that strengthens our daily resolve.  I am excited to bring my design expertise in landscape architecture to my forest bathing guide practice, helping demonstrate how nature has been a place of respite and transformation throughout history, and how we might use the lessons we glean from the forest in our everyday lives and places.  

 Motz Studios also draws on my international expertise in Japan and the U.K.  Fellowships in both cultures deepened my study of design, history, and spirituality, and their connection to nature.  The UK’s tradition of “thin space”, a spiritually powerful place where the veil between heaven and earth dissipates, resonates across landscapes throughout the United Kingdom. 

​Japan influenced my philosophy with its focus on Shinto, the sacred essence that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, trees, rivers, animals, places.  Influential facets of simplicity/complexity are woven throughout Zen Buddhism, as are those of Wabi-Sabi (finding beauty in the transience and imperfection of the world).  Biophilic design is strong in the spiritual traditions of Japan, with the extensive use of wood and stone in temples and shrines.  It is also found in their gardens, which are designed with deep intention, incorporating biophilic design patterns such as mystery, dappled light, and prospect/refuge. 

Stoicism and other philosophies are also key components to my work. I have always tended toward the philosophical approach to inspiration and finding joy. Sharing this facet with participants of Motz Studios' forest experiences continues to motivate me.

​I also have expertise in campus and urban master planning and have won key professional leadership awards throughout my career.  All these elements have coalesced over the course of my practice and are now influencing the ethos of Motz Studios. 

Abstract green forest art

Our Team

David Motzenbecker, PLA, ANFT


David Motzenbecker head shot looking up at trees

David Motzenbecker is one of the top five “Walk Leaders” of globally ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Guides, a Forest Therapy Trail Design & Certification Consultant, and a trusted, award-winning Landscape Architect practicing since 2001.

​He is the Founder of Motz Studios Forest Bathing Experiences. He holds a terminal MLA (Master of Landscape Architecture) degree from the University of Minnesota’s College of Design, and is Certified through the globally-recognized Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides (ANFT).

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