The Japanese Department of Health coined the term “forest bathing” to encompass any form of contemplative activity undertaken in a woodland environment; forest bathing is a simple outdoor meditation session, which allows us to connect with the Earth and tap into the many benefits of being at peace in the forest.
The clinical effects of forest bathing have been studied extensively, and the research unequivocally shows that it imparts a clinically significant improvement upon a whole variety of physical, immunological and emotional factors.
Nowhere is this research more relevant and indeed more exciting that when applied to the field of chronic illness. The reason for this is many and varied:
1. Increased Immunity: A large clinical trial conducted in Japan revealed that spending time sitting quietly in a wooded environment significantly increased Natural Killer Cell activity by over 50% – these are virulent immune cells. Crucially, these benefits lasted for 30 days after leaving the woods. The mechanism responsible for this incredible finding is the potent air born essential oils, generally called phytoncide, which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects.
2. Stress and Stress Hormones: When we are stressed, our bodies release a barrage of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. If the stress persists, as it so often does in our busy Western World, this can lead to chronic inflammation, poorer immune function, poorer digestion and the development of anxiety, depression and burnout. However, robust clinical research has again shown that forest bathing reduces the concentration of circulating stress hormones such as cortisol which was correlated to higher levels of immune function and lower levels of anxiety, fear and depression.
3. General Health: Aside from the above mechanisms that are so important for chronic illnesses, forest bathing has myriad other benefits that include lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, higher levels of creativity and problem solving, a reduction in negative thought patterns, better sleeping patterns and higher levels of peace, contentment and empowerment; the list goes on.
Having reviewed and assessed the research around the use of forest bathing, it does appear to offer and incredibly powerful, clinically useful, enjoyable and easy to do tool that needs to be in the armoury of anyone looking to manage a chronic condition.
The session will include:
An overview of forest bathing
A brief discussion of the benefits of forest bathing for those with chronic conditions, or those looking to maintain good health and free themselves from stress
A silent 45-minute forest bathing exercise and 1.5 hour walk
Health-boosting gourmet picnic lunch
Who is this course for: This course is ideal for anyone who has, or had chronic illness and would like to optimise their body’ natural healing mechanisms. It is also relevant to people who feel they need some quiet time to de-stress, re-connect and stay well.
Where: West Stoke Carpark, West Stoke, Downs Rd, Chichester.
When: April 30th
Meet at the carpark at 10:20, we will be beginning the walk at 10:30. We will be enjoying a longer walk on this day, with a moderate level of difficulty. Please bring an EMPTY tupperware container (you will be carrying your lunch in here, we will serve this before we set off) cutlery, mug and water. Please bring something to sit on, like a mac or plastic sheet in case the ground is wet. We expect to be finished around 2:30 pm.
BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL AND PLACES ARE LIMITED. PLEASE BOOK ONLINE HERE.
PLEASE NOTE IN CASE OF POOR WEATHER WE MAY NEED TO POSTPONE THE DAY.