If you’ve ever taken a stroll through one of Victoria’s tall forests, you might be familiar with the special sense of peace that comes with being immersed in nature. But did you know that the health benefits of spending time in our parks go far beyond simple relaxation?
How forest therapy helps support health and wellbeing
The growing field of forest therapy, which emerged from the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’, has nearly thirty years of medical research supporting its efficacy as a preventative health practice. Participating in guided forest therapy walks has been shown to regulate blood pressure, lower stress, support mental health and even boost the immune system.
President of the International Nature and Forest Therapy Alliance Susan Joachim explains:
“Forest therapy is taking us back, reminding us of who we are as a species and the need to stay connected to nature. We are intrinsically connected to nature, even in the air we breathe. It’s in us – we just have forgotten that.”
What is forest therapy?
You might imagine that forest therapy would share a lot in common with a simple bushwalk – and in some ways, you’d be right. However, the practice is much more deliberate and detailed than taking a hike through the forest.