Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs
Can I say something to feel complete?
During our graduation call, Nadine asked our group to envision our experience of becoming a guide like many droplets of water on a silver spider web, lit up by the sun. We were asked to choose one droplet to talk about but we all had So. Many. Droplets. One droplet that came to mind for me is a moment during the training in Victoria, British Columbia (May of 2019) where, after a few days of walking in the forest, our guide Ken began the walk in an open, sunny meadow. It was early May and the sun was very welcomed. During Pleasures of Presence we were invited to put our hands on the Earth. I am pretty sure a few more invitations followed, but on that particular day, I took the word invitation to heart and did not move my hands from that soft, green clover. It was so soft and inviting and it felt so grounding to my whole body to have my hands resting and still on the ground.
— Read on www.natureandforesttherapy.org/posts/to-know-a-place
Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, M.D., ANFT Medical Advisor and Certified Forest Therapy Guide, talks about her new book, “The Outdoor Adventurer’s Guide to Forest Bathing” and other forest bathing projects on Talk of Iowa.
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.
As rates of chronic disease among children have skyrocketed over the past few decades, pediatricians have increasingly looked for solutions beyond the clinic. Sometimes that means actually prescribing time outside. Special correspondent Cat Wise reports from Oakland on the medical evidence that indicates escaping modern urban life, even temporarily, can yield health dividends.
The Japanese practice of forest bathing — or shinrin-yoku — may result in some impressive health benefits. Here’s what you need to know.
These days, we stay indoors for hours scrolling through social media, binge-watching TV shows, or playing video games. We shop online and have purchases delivered straight to our homes. We live in or commute to cities surrounded by concrete, steel, and smog. Our days are mostly spent away from sunshine, trees, water, and fresh air.
While our modern way of life can be convenient, it’s taking us away from the health benefits of nature. To the point where getting outside should now be a priority. This is where the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku — or forest bathing — can help.
What is forest bathing?
In 1982, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries created the term shinrin-yoku, which translates to “forest bathing” or “absorbing the forest atmosphere.” The practice encourages people to simply spend time in nature — no actual bathing required. It’s also very low impact, which means you don’t have to go for trail runs or do an intense hike. The goal of forest bathing is to live in the present moment while immersing your senses in the sights and sounds of a natural setting.