Shinrin-Yoku, translated into English as ‘forest bathing’, is the practice of slowing down and immersing yourself in the forest atmosphere. Forest Bathing is a nature therapy that was developed in Japan during the 1980s. It has now become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
Since then Forest Bathing or Forest Therapy has spread across the globe. Research shows forest therapy reduces stress hormone production, improves feelings of happiness and inspires creativity. As well as, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, boosting the immune system and accelerating recovery from illnesses.
In response to the mental health and climate crisis Nádúr developed an innovative Integrative Forest Therapy training programme. Integrative Forest Therapy as defined by Nádúr is an evidence informed, cost-effective, public health approach.
The Integrative Forest Therapy training blends psychology, ecophilosophy, medicine, forestry, and the wisdom of ancient traditions. Forest Therapy is integrative as it considers the mind, body, and spirit. As well as, the social, cultural, and natural environment of each individual.
The evidence-informed approach of the integrative forest therapy training utilises a range of research on how nature supports our wellbeing, from phytoncides, microbes in the soil, to fractal patterns in nature.
This means Integrative Forest Therapy is a high-impact nature-based intervention for mental health. Nature prescriptions are increasingly being used and are driving the evolution of green mental health care.
The increase in demand has led to new jobs in green mental health care from horticultural therapists to more recently, Integrative Forest Therapy Practitioners.
An Integrative Forest Therapy Practitioner works in partnership with the forest to enhance and strengthen the nature connection of individuals and groups. People fight to protect what they know and love, so by deepening nature connection we hope to enhance pro-environmental behaviours.
While a Forest Bathing Guide works on health promotion and encouraging ecotourism, Integrative Forest Therapy Practitioners work in the areas of prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and recovery.
With any emerging field there are challenges. Unlike professions such as counselling who have the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Forest therapy or Nature based solutions for health and wellbeing has no single body ensuring a quality benchmark.
That is why Nádúr is working hard to create a centre of excellence for nature and wellbeing training. Our training is jointly certified by MIND Hillingdon UK and we are currently working towards internationally recognised CPD certification. Our facilitators are international nature and mental health experts who trained guides and practitioners in over 40 countries and 6 continents.
Our training has a strong ethical focus underpinned by evidence informed practice. We were delighted to receive recent recognition of “exemplary practice” from Forest Europe, for our Integrative Forest Therapy Interventions.
This is a really exciting time to be involved with the future of green mental health care. To discover more about becoming an Integrative Forest Therapy Practitioner click here.