We have always known how beneficial it is to be out in nature: the smell of freshly cut grass, the blooming flowers, the way the sunlight dances through the canopy, and the songbirds. Being out in nature helps reduce our stress, cleanses our mind, improves our mood, restores our energy, and refreshes and rejuvenates us.

In 1984 an American biologist named EO Wilson made the concept of biophilia popular. Biophilia means “love of life and the living world” this idea is that humans have a biological need to connect with nature. The understanding is that as a human we are not separate from; but a part of nature, a part of the natural world.

Forest therapy is THE bridge between us and the natural world by allowing our senses to open.

We are developing to be an increasingly more indoor species. We are spending more and more time inside and losing the connection with the outside. Humans are experiencing higher stress levels, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Mental illness, such as addiction, loneliness, depression and panic attacks also are on the rise.

The World Health Organization (WHO) calls stress “The health epidemic of the 21st century”. Even now, post COVID we are looking for ways to increase our health and well-being.

Forest Therapy allows a media/technology detox!

There is extensive research into the benefits of allowing yourself to emerge in nature: reduce blood pressure, lower stress, improve metabolic health and cardiovascular health, lower blood sugar levels, improve concentration and memory, lift depression, improve pain thresholds, improve energy, help to lose weight, improve sleep, increase anti-cancer protein protection and boosts the immune system by increasing the count of the body’s natural killer (NK) cells.

A forest therapy session provides that opportunity. It lowers our stress hormone cortisol and adrenalin, it suppresses our sympathetic nervous system or our fight-flight response, it allows us to enter and enhance our parasympathetic nervous system or rest in digest, it lowers blood pressure and increases our heart rate variability. the healing benefits are so well known in Japan and are emerging worldwide that there are “Green prescriptions” prescribed by doctors to engage with your local greenspace. It has been studied that your body’s natural killer cells stay at their increased level where as long as 30 days.

These studies suggest that a one, two, or three-hour forest therapy walk is recommended to maintain your immune system. It is not just being in the forest, but breathing in the air. YES, there is more oxygen in a forested area which allows its own benefit but within the air the trees provide phytoncides. They are natural oils within a plant that is part of its own defense system. Breathing in these phytoncides provides the same benefits as defusing essential oils.