Dear well-being seekers & Health PRoviders,
Spending time with trees and opening to your intuition are integral parts of a Japanese practice called forest bathing (shinrin-yoku), which involves quietly relaxing under the trees or casually walking through them, which research has found to provide a wide range of health benefits.
Work by Lee et al. (2011) used physiological and psychological measures, including heart rate variability analysis, that indicated a forest environment significantly increased the rest and digest side of the autonomic nervous system, and significantly decreased fight or flight activity of participants compared with the urban environment.
Levels of salivary cortisol, the stress hormone, and pulse rate decreased significantly in the forest setting compared with the city mileu. In psychological tests, forest bathing significantly increased scores of positive feelings and significantly decreased scores of negative feelings.
On that note, my objective is to take this empirical evidence and encourage healers and seekers with anxiety, depression and other mood disorders to build community and get back to mother earth. Be with the trees, listen to intuition and find relief from our mental and emotional maladies, lifestyle ills of the modern age.
Matthew Breuer, LMFT
PhD Student in Integral & Transpersonal Psychology
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #112850
Connect with our holistic health providers and start crafting your own integral life plan and practices. Meet us weekly on Saturdays at Glen Park BART by 2pm to walk on the Greenway trail to the park, or by 2:15pm at the picnic tables at Glen Canyon Park Recreation Center. We journey through the eucalyptus and cedar until 3:15, looping back to regroup and debrief. Enjoy a photographic tour of our activities.
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Fauver, R. (2018). Foreword. In M. Torkildson (Auth.), The inner tree. Asheville, NC:Citrine Publishing.
Lee, J., B. J. Park, Y. Tsunetsugu, T. Ohira, T. Kagawa, and Y. Miyazaki. 2011. "Effect of forest bathing on physiological and psychological responses in young Japanese male subjects." Public Health 125 (2):93-100. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2010.09.005.
Ochiai, H., Ikei, H., Song, C., Kobayashi, M., Miura, T., Kagawa, T., ... & Miyazaki, Y. (2015a). Physiological and psychological effects of a forest therapy program on middle-aged females. International journal of environmental research and public health, 12(12), 15222-15232.
Ochiai, H., Ikei, H., Song, C., Kobayashi, M., Takamatsu, A., Miura, T., ... & Miyazaki, Y. (2015b). Physiological and psychological effects of forest therapy on middle-aged males with high-normal blood pressure. International journal of environmental research and public health, 12(3), 2532-2542.
Secundino López-Pousa, Glòria Bassets Pagès, Sílvia Monserrat-Vila, Manuel de Gracia Blanco, Jaume Hidalgo Colomé, and Josep Garre-Olmo, “Sense of Well-Being in Patients with Fibromyalgia: Aerobic Exercise Program in a Mature Forest—A Pilot Study,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, Article ID 614783, 9 pages, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/614783
Yu, C. P., Lin, C. M., Tsai, M. J., Tsai, Y. C., & Chen, C. Y. (2017). Effects of short forest bathing program on autonomic nervous system activity and mood states in middle-aged and elderly individuals. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(897).