Nature and Forest Therapy encourages mental, physical and social health
Humans have evolved in a partnership with the natural world. This evolution is a type of conversation, where humans and their habitat have shaped and responded to one another. As we have silenced our end of this conversation by staying indoors and disconnected, or viewing the living world as material to plunder, we have cut ourselves off from the many healthful benefits a relationship with the natural world provides.
The contemporary practice of Forest Therapy takes a clinical approach to the reintroduction of therapeutic nature. In Japan, where Shinrin Yoku (which translates literally to “forest bathing”) has been studied since the 1980’s, the practice has been clinically documented to lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and help the body and mind cope with stress. Participants in forest therapy programs report feeling calmer, more relaxed, more focused, and more connected to nature.
Studies on nature and wellbeing have found that spending more time in green spaces is linked to:
reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol
lower heart rate
lower blood-sugar levels
lower blood pressure
reduced risk of type II diabetes
stronger immune system
increase in natural killer cells
improved concentration and memory
improved ability to handle stress
increased sense of belonging and connection
improved heart rate variability
regulation of circadian rhythms
Mindful time in nature can help with overcoming addiction and addictive patterns. The healing forest can support our natural resilience and is the ideal setting for making healthy lifestyle choices. Working in synchrony with other natural healing treatments and methods, nature is an abounding source of health and healing.