Stemming from an ancient Japanese belief that forests are places for rejuvenation and healing, ‘Shinrinyoku’ (translated as ‘forest bathing’) has become a key part of government funded preventative health care in Japan and South Korea. It originated in Japan in the 1980’s as the government’s response to an increasingly stressed and urbanised population.
The idea that simply being in a forest can aid relaxation and well-being is increasingly being supported by science. Given its universality and ease of application Forest Therapy is taking off as a practice that addresses some of the main health issues in modern industrialised societies. It is part of a world-wide trend recognising the importance of nature to human health. For example, countries including New Zealand, the USA, UK and parts of Canada now offer ‘Green Prescriptions’ where GP’s can prescribe time in nature for unwell patients as an alternative to medication.
Participants are guided along a trail in a beautiful forested area for approximately 2-3 hours.
We stop at selected spots along the way and the guide offers invitations that are designed to bring about relaxation and connect us with our senses and the place. Unlike a bushwalk, Forest Therapy is about the journey, not the destination. It is a slow, mindful and quiet way of being in nature.
Here’s how some of our clients have answered that question after coming with us on a walk:
“I feel calmer, more connected to myself and the space around me.”
“I‘m relaxed and re-energised.”
“I would love to do it as a weekly practice. Not just a fun thing to do, but a critical missing link in my life.”
“I feel lighter and stress-free.”
You can always go into a beautiful natural place on your own and you may feel better after being there. However going with a guide means that you generally experience the benefits quicker and more profoundly than going alone.
On a guided Forest Therapy walk your phone is turned off, you’re given specific things to focus on and you don’t have to think about where to go or what to do. Someone else does all of that for you, and you just have to be present, follow some simple instructions and enjoy yourself.
Your inner child is released and you’ll find yourself noticing and doing simple things that bring you joy and peace. Doing this together with other people and sharing your experiences can add another enriching dimension.
To find out more about your Forest Therapy guides Emma and Rob, click here.
We are First Aid Level 2 and CPR trained and carry first aid kits with us on all walks.
International research over the last 30 years has confirmed the many health benefits of engaging in Forest Therapy. Some of these include:
Many studies show that just one Forest Therapy session (2-3 hours) can bring about these benefits.
A single Forest Therapy session has been shown to increase the number of natural killer cells in the body, their activity, and the levels of intracellular anti-cancer proteins, with this effect lasting at least 7 days. A single session also increases natural killer cell activity in the body for more than 30 days. A weekly dose of Forest Therapy is ideal for healthy immune system functioning, although a monthly session still brings about benefits