Dear well-being seeker,

I’m in the middle of a mission to bring nature back to the city of San Francisco. I’m hiking into the canyon of the Glen Park neighborhood with friends and clients to restore health and vitality to individuals and our community, and decrease the technological noise that so often fills our lives. From an evolutionary perspective, this connection to nature was implicit. In the modern world, some societies lose touch with the natural world, while there exist cultures for which this ecotherapy is still traditional. 

As summarized by Fauver (2018), “Spending time with trees and opening to your intuition are integral parts of a Japanese practice called forest bathing (shinrin-yoku). Forest bathing involves quietly relaxing under the trees or casually walking through them, which research has found to provide a wide range of health benefits” (p. 6). Among the evidence for this is work by Lee et al. (2011), in which young japanese male subjects participated in a 3 day, 2 night nature-based experiment. 

The study used physiological and psychological measures, including heart rate variability analysis, that indicated the forest environment significantly increased parasympathetic nervous system activity, the rest and digest side of the autonomic nervous system, and significantly suppressed sympathetic, fight or flight activity of participants compared with the urban environment. This could be particularly helpful for anyone with a dysregulated nervous system, especially including those with such experiences as hypervigilance from trauma. 

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. The researchers did note a smaller sample size, which furthers the need for more investigation and data collection. Thankfully some studies have looked at other populations, including middle aged and elderly individuals (Yu et al., 2017), middle aged females (Ochiai et al., 2015a), middle aged males (Ochiai et al., 2015b), and patients with fibromyalgia (Secundino et al., 2015). 

On that note, my objective is to take this empirical evidence and encourage my clients with anxiety, depression and other mood disorders to get back to mother earth and the trees, to listen to their own inner wisdom, intuition and higher self, and find relief from their mental and emotional maladies, lifestyle ills of the modern age.

With Love,

Matthew Breuer, MA, LMFT #112850



We're an ambitious group of coaches and consultants providing therapeutic services, often in a natural setting. Experience healing and health through meditation, massage, yoga and fitness training. Join our network of integral, therapeutic activities.

Saturdays, 2-3:30 pm.

For public transport: Meet at Glen station BART by 2pm to walk with others on the Greenway trail to Glen Canyon Park.

For those driving:
Meet by 2:15 at the Recreation Center area.

Hiking or walking based on fitness level goes until 3:15, at which time people can gather by the Recreation Center to chat about their journey with others.

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Opening Hikes
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Volume 3 - 4-6-2019
Volume 4 - 4-13-19

Drop in Rock Climbing at Glen Canyon Park Recreation Center
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Alternative weather plan: Gather at Cuppa in downtown Glen Park

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Academic References

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. 

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).