Forest Therapy (also known as Shinrin-Yoku 森林浴 or Forest Bathing) translates as ‘forest immersion’. It began in the early 1980's, when the Japanese Government noticed the high levels of stress being experienced by people due to their fast paced, urban based, modern, technology focussed lifestyles. According to the World Health Organisation, stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century & is responsible for many forms of chronic illnesses. Japan recognised the physiological and psychological dangers of stress & depression, and sought out a new, affordable and effective way to reduce it. Plus, by encouraging people to go to the forests, it was thought that the forests would be protected also. This led to the development of the Public Health practice of Forest Therapy. Through this practice, we learn how to slow down & connect through all our senses to create wellness & wellbeing.
We know that being in nature feels good & now the research confirms it. It is the combination of the biological properties of plants & the mindfulness practices of Forest Therapy which benefit us physically and psychologically.
On a Guided Forest Therapy walk, participants are immersed in the healing properties of phytoncides. These are the aerosols emitted from trees, which boost our immune systems. The properties of phytoncides are:
Spending time in nature, while mindfully engaging through our senses, builds a meaningful relationship with our natural surroundings, develops a sense of belonging and has direct benefits for our mental health. The therapeutic or psychological benefits of nature connection, may come about by simply & mindfully slowing down to:
Any time you spend in nature, whether it’s on a guided experience or simply wandering, is time well spent.
Source: International Handbook of Forest Therapy (edited by Kotte, Lin, Shin and Michalsen 2019).
A Certified Forest Therapy Guide FTG provides a relaxing, refreshing & safe experience, inviting space for quiet listening, reflection and inquiry through all the senses. Feedback suggests that slowing down without a guide, can be a very challenging experience. The guide is an experienced professional, qualified with specialist skills, knowledge and competencies in the application of Forest Therapy as a Public Health practice in suitable forests and nature settings. The activities follow the standard set by the International Core Curriculum for Forest Therapy, as specified by the International Nature & Forest Therapy Alliance INFTA.
Nature Mentoring is an experiential & educational alternative to therapy. Spending time in nature, while mindfully engaging through our senses, builds a meaningful relationship with our natural surroundings, develops a sense of belonging and has direct benefits to our physical and mental health. Nature Mentoring can be a powerful way to deepen the positive effects of psychotherapy. As Nature Mentoring, does not follow the standard activities set by the International Core Curriculum for Forest Therapy, it is more spontaneous & flexible. This is offered through our NDIS Services.
Flow foREST Therapy acknowledges the Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation & the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn & work.