-Our trainings are where art meets science-

The evidence base supporting Forest Bathing and Forest Therapy has been growing over the past 20 years. To date, the majority of the research has been carried out in Japan and Korea. However, international research is emerging. FTI uses implementation science to implement research into practice. The training is a combination of the latest research on forests and human health, international nature connection practices,  science, and ancient wisdom traditions.

To date, there has been an absence of evaluations on the effect of Forest Therapy for specific populations. FTI hope to rectify this by encouraging and supporting research projects based on the EFTI 5x5 Forest Therapy model in different countries.

-General benefits of being in nature-

The acknowledgement of the health benefits of spending time in nature is not new. Before the birth of modern medicine, people turned to nature for health and healing, from spending time in natural spas to soothe nerves, to outdoor sanatoriums for tuberculosis. As urbanisation increases and people spend more time indoors, the need for greater contact with nature will increase. With the rise of technostress, FTI hope people will ‘swap screen time for greentime’.

Contact with nature has many salutary benefits and is a protective factor in preventing mental health difficulties. Nature contact can offer a practical approach for population based health promotion, disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.

Forests are known as restorative environments. They offer opportunities to benefit health through engaging in physical activity, relaxing and socialising in nature. Forest Medicine was coined in Japan; the concept focuses on how the specific forest environment can benefit health by inhaling phytoncides (organic compounds found in trees and plants).

-Engaging in Forest Bathing and Forest Therapy can-

  • Improve immune system functioning.
  • Increase relaxation and reduce stress.
  • Restore cognitive fatigue.
  • Improve mood and reduces depression.
  • Enhance vitality and energy levels.
  • Reduce blood pressure.
  • Increase natural killer cells.
  • Decrease rumination and anxiety levels.
  • Aid sleep.
  • Improve cardiovascular health.

Research from Forest Europe “Human Health and Sustainable Forest Management” (2019) highlight the following 5 key mechanisms for the health benefits of forests:

  • Reduced exposure to noise and air pollution.
  • Stress restoration, Psychological and physiological restoration.
  • Strenghtened immune system through nature contact.
  • Increased physical activity and reduction in obesity rates.
  • Better social contacts.

-Listed research-

O' Brien, L ( 2017) The health and wellbeing benefits of trees, woods and forests

Stigsdotter et al (2016) Forest design for mental health promotion-using perceived sensory dimensions to elicit restorative responses, Landscape and Urban Planning

Hales, D et al (2014) Green perspectives for public health: A narrative review on the physiological effects of experiencing outdoor nature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Sonntag-Öström E, Stenlund T, Nordin M, Lundell Y, Ahlgren C, Fjellman-Wiklund A, Slunga-Järvholm, L, Dolling A. 2015. "Nature's effect on my mind." - Patients' qualitative experiences of a forest-based rehabilitation programme. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 14(3): 607-614.

Sonntag-Öström E, Nordin M, Dolling A, Lundell Y, Nilsson L, Slunga Järvholm L. 2015. Can rehabilitation in boreal forests help recovery from exhaustion disorder? – The randomised clinical trial ForRest. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research. 30:8, 732-748. DOI:10.1080/02827581.2015.1046482.

The influence of urban green environments on stress relief measures: A field experiment
Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 38, June 2014, Pages 1-9

Gentin S, Chondromatidou, AM, Pitkänen K, Dolling A, Prästholm S, Palsdottir AM 2018. Defining nature-based integration. Perspectives and practices from the Nordic countries. Reports of the Finnish environment institute 16.

Hansen et al (2017) Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing) and Nature Therapy: A State-of-the-Art Review, Environmental research and public health.

Nilsson et al (2011) Forests, Trees and Human Health and Wellbeing : European Union Cost Action E39 research.

Lee at al (2017) Effects of forest therapy on depressive symptoms among adults: A systematic review. International journal of environmental research and public health

Kamioka et al (2012) A systematic review of randomized control trials on curative and health enhancement effects of forest therapy. Psychology Research and Behavior Management

Karjalainen et al ( 2010) Promoting human health through forests: overview and major challenges. Environmental Health and Preventative medicine

Li, Q (2010) Effects of forest bathing trips on human immune functioning: Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine

Morita et al (2007) Psychological effects of forest environments on healthy adults: Shinrin- yoku as a possible method of stress reduction: Public Health.

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