Why Forest therapy?
Forest Therapy is inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, or “forest bathing” developed in the 1980’s as a cure for its health crisis. Spending time in and around trees, one is “bathing” and immersing oneself in the healing aerosols or atmosphere of a forest’s plants and trees. These released aerosols or “phytoncides” promote self-healing mechanisms in our bodies. They also help protect the forest’s own health. Research found “forest bathing” caused an increase in NPK or natural killer cells, which give the body an increase in its immune defense system. It also demonstrates a wide array of health benefits especially in the cardiovascular system, in reduction of the “cortisol” stress hormones, and for stabilizing and improving mood and cognition. There are many more ways that nature can heal.
“We build on those benefits and look beyond, to what happens when people remember that we are a part of nature, not separate from it, and are related to all other beings in fundamental ways. In our view, the health benefits for both humans and the forest are collateral, or secondary, impacts of the restoration of healthy relationship between humans and the world. We aim to transform the ways in which people relate to forests and other natural spaces so that they feel deeply connected to those places.” https://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/
Forest bathing is being taught and practiced in city and state parks, botanical gardens, spas, spiritual retreats, and recreational centers. Doctors and other health professionals are writing Rx’s or prescriptions for time in nature, for addressing not only physical health issues, but also mental health issues. These include: addiction treatment, post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and ADHD.