“Not knowing what to expect I found the forest bathing session a wonderful experience. The delicious forest tea and biscuits in the heated tipi was the perfect ending. Camilla and Mark made everyone feel relaxed and welcome and the combination of a guided mindful walk, helping us tune into nature, along with their woodland know how made the session both nurturing and surprisingly fun!” Participant, 2018
We feel privileged to spend time with Carers in Devon, taking people for a mindful, sensory rich and immersive journey into nature. We have been doing this since last November across Devon. We are continuing to host several more of these each month until at least July.
Each session usually has between six and ten Carers who pluck up the courage and make a bit of space in their busy lives to experience our flagship therapy: Shinrin-yoku, which is Japanese for ‘Forest Bathing’. No ‘bathing’ is actually involved, it is about immersing oneself in the forest and ‘taking the airs’. It all might sound a bit ‘hippy dippy’ but far from it being for tree-huggers it has over 30 years of clinical, medical evidence behind it.
We are amongst the first to bring it to this country and we are also grateful to the support of Westbank and the Devon Carers Service for recognising that nature-based therapeutic work that engages the body and the mind has great wellbeing benefits: ensuring that these benefits can be shared with the wonderful Carers of Devon.
The scientifically-proven benefits of Forest Bathing are:
- Lowering of stress and cortisol levels
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Elevated mood and reduction in anxiety and depression
- Improved sleep
- Improved energy levels
- Improved immune system and recovery
- It may also improve a number of aspects of your life in terms of relationships with yourself and others, reconnect you to your sense of self and purpose and help give a greater perspective on life and its challenges.
Not being satisfied by just accepting the findings of the worlds leading medical schools we have been keen to establish a clear evidence of benefit through our own sessions. So we have been busy measuring how things have gone so far.
Our findings show an average improvement across the board from neutral to a positive state – an uplift of about one quartile:
We have also been measuring blood pressure and heart rate. Although our sessions have been short we have seen on average a 6-8% decrease in Blood Pressure and the majority of participants exhibiting a slight lowering of heart rate. We would certainly expect to see B.P drop more consistently over longer sessions.
Research has also proven that even a short session in the forest, taking in the airbourne chemicals exuded by certain types of tree can elevate the immune system (Natural Killer cell count) significantly and for up to 30 days after the Forest Bathing session. This must be great news for those with struggling to maintain a healthy immune system. If you want the science of this then follow this link – the graphs are good too: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12199-008-0068-3
There is still plenty of opportunity to try Forest Bathing out for yourself. We have sessions in late morning until early afternoon on various days of the week on:
- 21st April – Great Plantation, Bovey Tracey
- 8th May – Fingle, Okehampton
- 15th June – White Cross Strips, Ottery St Mary
- 14th July – Obelisk, Mamhead nr Dawlish
For more information please visit https://forestbathingforcarers.wordpress.com/blog/
If you are interested in booking onto one of these sessions (free for Carers) then please fill out this form and send it to our team.