FROM: Global Wellness Summit – Global Wellness Trends Report: The Future of Wellness 2020
CONNECTING TO NATURE Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing), Therapeutic Onsens and Yummy Shojin Ryori Vegan Temple Food
Japan’s deep reverence for nature also acts as preventative healthcare. For example, forest bathing began in 1982 with a Japanese national health program. Coordinated by the Forest Therapy Society, there are now 62 ofcial healing forests and 1,200 certified guides, with over 2.5 million people walking the healing forest trails in 2018.14 Studies support the breadth of health benefits of connecting all five senses to nature, from reduced blood pressure, lower stress and improved cardiovascular and metabolic health to lower blood-sugar levels and improved concentration, memory and energy.15, 16, 17 The phytoncide in cedar and cypress has been shown to have calming effects on people, as well as providing a boost to the immune system, with one study having shown a 53 percent increase in the count of the body’s natural killer cells after two days in these forests.PETER EADON-CLARKE Advisor, Conceptasia Inc.
Dr. Qing Li of the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo and president of the Forest Therapy Society, who also spoke at the 2019 GWS, notes that we spend 93 percent of our time indoors, leading to a nature-deficit disorder. As the inbound tourism boom is discovering, Japan has an incredible wealth of natural assets to facilitate recovery: in addition to the 62 healing forests, there are 20,972 onsens (hot springs), two-thirds of the global total, providing a rustic, authentic, and hyper-specific wellness experience. In addition to the medicinal benefits of the various minerals in the water, deep-soaking bathing has thermotherapeutic effects (a higher body temperature stretches capillaries improving circulation, increasing metabolism and reducing fatigue), water pressure effects (improving the flow of your blood and lymph fluid) and buoyancy effects. The latter, by reducing the body’s weight to one-tenth of what it normally is,PETER EADON-CLARKE Advisor, Conceptasia Inc.
The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs ANFT, has certified 800 guides in 44 countries to date.