Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku is fast becoming a well known eco therapy in the UK. Here is a little glimpse into why.
Research mainly conducted in Japan and South Korea, has shown that two hours of time spent mindfully exploring a forest can lower blood pressure, reduce the stress hormone cortisol and improve memory and concentration. Studies have also found that trees release substances called phytoncides, which have anti-microbial properties and can boost the immune system.
As a result of these findings, the Japanese government decided to introduce shinrin-yoku as a national health program. The practice was devised 40 years ago by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries as part of an initiative to tackle stress among men.
The activity involves breathing deeply and absorbing the atmosphere of the forest as a way of yielding calming, rejuvenating and restorative effects.
Beneficial health effects of forest bathing (that have been scientifically proven) include:
1. Increased natural killer cell count and improved immune system function
2. Reduced blood pressure
3. Improved sleep
4. Higher energy levels
5. Improved mood
6. Increased concentration, particularly among children with ADHD
7. Faster recovery from illness or surgery
8. Decreased stress
1 in 4 of us is going to suffer from mental health issues at some point, that’s a huge number so it’s really important to safeguard our sense of wellbeing and resilience for good mental health. We can all benefit from forest bathing.
Helen Stokes-Lampard from the Royal College of GPs advises that getting outside can have a “really positive impact” on health.
I am the founder of Ancient and Sacred Trees with many thousands of members. It is free to join. www.ancientandsacredtrees.org
If you love trees join us!
If you want to take part in a forest bathing session with me get in touch. I can run sessions for your groups and communities too.