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.
Participants are guided along a trail in a beautiful forested area for approximately 3 hours.
We stop at selected spots along the way for different activities that are designed to bring about relaxation and connect us with our senses and the place.
Locations are chosen for their own unique natural qualities, access to facilities such as parking and bathrooms and for their safety.
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 can add another enriching dimension to the experience.
Our Forest Therapy Guides not only have an innate passion for nature and forests, but are trained by the International Nature and Forest Therapy Alliance (INFTA), using a curriculum based on evaluation by over 120 international experts. The training process blends a scientific understanding of what works to decrease stress and accelerate relaxation, with the magic and craft of guiding people to make their own discoveries.
Researchers from many countries have studied the effects of guided Forest Therapy walks. What they have found is exciting, with science supporting what people who go on these walks report - that they do it because it makes them feel better.Research shows that after doing Forest Therapy people have:
Many studies show that just one Forest Therapy session (2-3 hours) can bring about the health benefits discussed above. Participants have been tested before and after a single Forest Therapy walk, and after the walk they had decreased cortisol levels and blood pressure, increased production of natural killer cells, and increased reported positive mood, concentration and energy levels compared to before the walk.
A single Forest Therapy session has 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.