The Complementary Medical Association

Delivering excellence in complementary medicine since 1993

Forest Bathing

Forest Bathing Therapy
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Forest Bathing 

‘Shinrin-yoku’ or Forest Bathing originated in Japan during the 1980’s (shinrin; forest / yoku; bath, bathing). Many organisations noticed that their staff were taking time off work regularly with anxiety, stress, and depression. The government asked several universities to conduct scientific research into the benefits of spending more time in nature, and especially spending time under the canopy of woodland and forests.

History and Uses

Japan has a Shinto heritage, and more than 70% of the country is covered in woodland. The research findings revealed that the migration of more than 80% of the population to living and working in the cities had resulted in the inhabitants experiencing a high level of physiological and mental health conditions arising from living in such an urban environment. Thus, Shinrin-yoku (shinrin; forest / yoku; bath, bathing) evolved, and across Japan today you will see many parks, woodland trails and dedicated areas for city dwellers and workers to relax and unwind.

Professor Qing Li, world-renowned expert from the Nippon School of Medicine, has been conducting research into the benefits of ‘Forest Medicine’. His findings have been published in numerous research papers, which have highlighted the many physiological and mental health benefits of spending mindful time under the forest canopy. These benefits include improved sleep, better memory and concentration, increased Heart Rate Variability (HRV) – an indicator of good cardiovascular health, anti-cancer protein cells, along with the body’s natural killer (NK) cells are activated to improve the immune system when practising Shinrin-yoku.

In the UK, Forest Bathing has been gaining momentum during recent years, as more and more people have begun to enjoy spending time out in nature. This was highlighted during 2020, when there were restrictions on movement across the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time people’s habits changed, as they adapted the way they spent their leisure time, instead of perhaps visiting the gym and doing indoor pursuits, many people and families visited their local parks, woodland, and forest areas instead, so re-kindling their connection with the nature on their doorstep.

What To Expect When You Visit A Therapist

Forest Bathing+, as practised by those Guides trained by The Forest Bathing Institute, is a more comprehensive therapeutic form of forest bathing developed in cooperation with numerous universities, professors, doctors, and scientists. At its core is the incorporation of mindfulness; Forest Bathing+ encourages full engagement with all five senses to enhance the experience and to bring about a mindful state, where the body can switch to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is more restorative, healing, and therapeutic for the body.

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