WHAT IS FOREST BATHING AND FOREST THERAPY?
The medicine of the forest is the antidote to our modern stressful lifestyles
The practises of Forest Bathing (known as Shinrin-Yoku in Japan) and Forest Therapy are ways of immersing our senses in the atmosphere of the forest for relaxation and positive health and wellness benefits.
As we strengthen our connection with the natural world, our sense of beauty, wonder, awe and curiosity is restored and our brains and nervous systems are calmed. Stress levels are lowered and the immune system is boosted.
What is Forest Bathing?
Shinrin-Yoku or Forest Bathing is a practice that originated in Japan in 1982 as part of a national health programme designed to reduce population stress levels.
Forest Bathing is a health promoting, salutogenic, nature connection practice that aims to enhance well-being, relieve stress, and encourage relaxation.
It is underpinned by mindfulness principles, encouraging: the opening of the senses to the forest atmosphere; slowly walking through the forest; inhaling the forest air; and fostering an emotional connection to the landscape.
It engages in an 'effortless attention'; Forest Bathing can be experienced with or without a guide.
What is Forest Therapy?
Forest Therapy is Forest Bathing put into practice as a nature based intervention that targets specific mental health and physical health difficulties.
It considers the specific needs of individuals experiencing these difficulties and focuses on alleviating the distress and redressing the damage to mental and physical health caused by them.
Forest Therapy Practitioners work in partnership with the forest to enhance nature connection, thus encouraging reciprocity between people and nature. Forest Therapy is grounded in the Forest Bathing practice of sensory connection and immersing the senses in the forest atmosphere and aims to enhance social connections and increase social capital to aid inclusiveness. In this way, Forest Therapy can act as an adjunct to standard treatment and rehabilitation for specific illnesses.