Forest therapy is inspired from 'shinrin yoku' which literally means 'forest bathing'. A wellness practice that started in Japan in the early 1980s, it encompasses conscious and deliberate immersion of our senses in nature. In the process, we connect deeply with nature. Research studies have quantified and demonstrated a wide array of health benefits derived from forest bathing. Forest therapy builds on these benefits and also go beyond - remembering that we are one with nature, repairing our broken relationships with nature, and reciprocating what nature provides for us.
A sensory immersion
Forest therapy is a slow and immersive practice in nature. Through gentle, guided walks in nature, it supports mental, emotional and physical well-being. Using carefully crafted and perfected invitational activities, participants are guided to interact with nature in ways that they have never thought possible before. In the process, they discover new insights and perspectives.
The focus is on being present in nature, awakening our senses and using them to connect with nature. Unlike a hike or nature appreciation walk, forest therapy is not a completion of a trail within a time period; is not a reaching of any particular destination; is not an identification of plant and animal species.
Forest therapy is a deep knowing of nature through the senses; is a slow riveting walk through nature; is simply being in nature. The gentleness of the practice makes it accessible to everyone no matter the age, gender, fitness and religion.
Forest therapy is also an effective tool for facilitating executive and creative retreats, navigating life transitions and developing healthy and positive mindsets. The effective 'tuning in', the sharpening of intuition and the exposures to other perspectives are known to contribute to the successes of such pursuits.
The science and research
Over the last decades, the benefits of forest bathing have been scientifically quantified. These include:
Increased concentration and mental focus;
Increased body immunity;
Increased post-operation or post-hospitalisation recovery rates;
Increased amounts and efficacy of our body's natural killer cells (NK cells) against cancer;
Improved maintenance of blood glucose concentrations;
Reduced blood pressure.
Leader in the field of forest therapy
The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programes (ANFT) in the US is the leading global voice for forest therapy. Setting the standards for forest therapy practice, the ANFT trains and certifies nature and forest therapy guides worldwide.
Guides of XIU Nature Connections are trained and certified by the ANFT.