So many of us are leading hectic lives, and suffering with anxiety and stress on a day to day basis as a result. I guess that at least some of these resonate with you?
There is growing scientific evidence from the UK that proves that just 2 hours of forest therapy results in improvements in both physical and emotional health. Results from my early sessions corroborate these findings (I asked participants to complete the recognised psychological rating POMS test (Profile of Mood States) before and after the walk).
Some of the proven health benefits are listed below:
* Specifically attributed to inhalation of the chemicals emitted from trees (mainly conifers and oak) called Phytoncides (note that this will take you to the scientific report on a separate site)
From a personal perspective, the practice has fundamentally changed who I am; I cannot un-see what I have seen on my nature connection journey (not that I would want to). There is so much in nature that brings a deep joy and delight and I feel so grateful to have found this now. Considering yourself part of nature rather than separate to it, changes everything.
Forest Bathing is endorsed by several national organisations and public figures.
1. The Duchess of Cambridge is a fan of forest therapy and the garden she co-designed at the Chelsea Flower Show in the summer was inspired by Shinrin-Yoku. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/
2. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) introduced a series of forest therapy events across the country this summer.
3. Forestry England, which manages public woodland, has endorsed the practice as a way of regaining balance and escaping the pressures of everyday life https://www.forestryengland.uk/blog/forest-bathing
4. Stuart Dainton, head of innovation at the Woodland Trust, said, “social prescribing through aspects of shinrin-yoku, forest therapy, I think is a route to helping the nation destress”. He added that, “It can help children and adults fight the ‘always on’ culture prompted by social media”. https://www.standard.co.uk/
5. The Woodland Trust has said that Forest Therapy should be prescribed by the NHS to treat stress. They suggest patients can reconnect with nature by practising mindfulness amongst the trees.
"Forest Bathing is just an amazing healing experience!".Nicla, Reading
"The course of monthly sessions allowed me to become increasingly open and take the experience to a deeper level each time. The benefits radiate through my mind and body, long after the session iteself has finished".Annie, Upham
"Committing to a 3 month series of forest bathing sessions allows you to revisit your chosen site and receive something new each time. I also loved connecting with the group through our shared experience over a number of weeks/months".Oonagh, Winchester
"The guided auditory meditations provided symptom relief that I hadn’t felt in over a year!
The heightened sensory experience in a relaxed calm environment of the forest, with a professional, kind, welcoming instructor who adapted the session to enable me to participate with a hidden disability, was fantastic"Shelly, Winchester
"You helped us so much - V went to see you know who and made the vital work call, both things she has been putting off for weeks! I have also had a v good night’s sleep! Must be six months since that has happened with no night sweats.
We will be in touch for the next episode soon!”.ES, Basingstoke
"I have to admit I was a touch cynical, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. After only one session I was aware of things I have never noticed before, and the resulting sense of calm was overwhelming. Working in a group is beneficial as together you create a more rounded experience and everyone observes completely different things, which is quite fascinating".Claudia, London
"I really really enjoyed our forest therapy walk, I didn't really know what to expect but I found it to be incredibly relaxing and interesting, and the feeling of calmness stayed with me for a couple of days afterwards. Thank you".Amy, Surrey
"I did a three hour session with Sonya, it is genuinely the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Value for money, I can highly recommend."George, Winchester
"Enjoyed my Forest Therapy experience with Adore Your Outdoors. To stop and savour nature, slow down and disconnect for a couple of hours was very liberating. Highly recommend!"Tilly, Birmingham
"Sonya was a nurturing, sensitive and inspirational guide; her love for the forest and belief in its ability to heal and restore is infectious. Highly recommend".Claire, Newbury
"Certainly a therapy and great help for people in high pressure jobs to relax, unwind and let go completely, leading to a better social attitude and if carried forward can be positive to those who are in contact with them".Philip, Odiham
"Amazing experience! I struggle to relax most days. After the first half hour every single sense was awake to my surroundings. I saw and heard things I would never had noticed on a walk. Sonya guided us seamlessly through our invitations, and the three hours flew by. I was so at peace I dozed off in the last invitation and woke with a squirrel not 3 feet away!
The heightened senses and feelings of calm lasted several days."Lisa, Weyhill
"Forest bathing is a magical experience! You lose all sense of time whilst opening to the wonders of your surroundings and reconnecting with yourself. This was my second experience with Sonya - I had loved the first one but was surprised at getting even more out of the second. I believe that the next will be even deeper still - I guess I’m learning a new skill here!
In a hectic world it feels like such a luxury to fully escape".Andrea, Sutton Scotney
“A great escape in the great outdoors. In a friendly environment we were guided through beautiful surroundings and I came away uplifted, relaxed and focused. To be able to watch a mouse going about its business was a privilege.
Thank you, I will do this again”.Jon, Southampton.
““Wow! What an amazing experience. Sonya was a brilliant host. I was fully immersed in the forest bathing experience, losing myself in the surroundings. This was due to Sonya’s ability to put us at our ease and her peaceful manner. I felt the stress flowing out of me and peace flowing in. During one invitation, I totally lost track of time and the sense of where I was.
I was so peaceful and relaxed. I would recommend this to everybody”.Paula, Winchester.