What is forest therapy?

Shinrin-yoku – wellbeing walk connected to nature

The begininings of forest therapy developed with some interesting developmental work conducted by a Russian biochemist, Boris Tokin back in 1928. Tokin named the beneficial organic compounds derived from plants; phytoncides. These phytoncides released by plants help to make healthy air in the forest. This aspect interests me as my mothers heritage originates from the Ukraine. I feel like I belong and feel safe surrounded by the trees and plants in the forests I visit. I like to think that this calm connected feeling is in my blood.

Forest therapy is a practice for wellbeing. Developed in Japan in the 1980s it is based on the Japanese tradition called shinrin-yoku.

In my training with INFTA we learn a specific sequence to our forest therapy walks. This sequence is important to developing a strong curriculum and base to the walks that we offer.

Immersing the senses

The aspect of these walks that I connect to most strongly is the engagement of the senses. This whole body and brain engagement in the walks really helps to take the mind out and let the senses take over. That kind of experience for the stressed and overwhelmed can be gently reassuring. This puts people directly amongst the joys of nature without having to think. My 30 years of environmental education practice supports these notions. Adults need this opportunity to connect to the wonder as much as children do.

My thoughts and insights into what is forest therapy

Forest therapy is a preventative health practice for tuning your senses into the wonder of nature.

Join us on a walk

I would love to see you on a walk really soon. I will offer walks near Hornsby on Sydney’s north shore, but can arrange to deliver it somewhere near you. Please sign up to the newsletter so I can keep you up to date with offerings and subjects of interest. In the meantime I hope you can get some time out in nature to help you feel alive and refreshed and help melt away your worries.

Mary Bell 2022

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