The Scientific Research of Shinrin Yoku Forest Bathing

The Japanese have been carrying out research on the how forest environments have a positive impact on our mental, emotional and spiritual health since the 80’s. They discovered that there was a direct link between industrialisation and urbanisation, where people moved away from the forest environment and the rise in disease.

The World Health Organisation have called stress the health epidemic of the 21st century. We evolved in nature over 7 million years ago and we spent over 99% of our time in a natural environment.

It is in our DNA and we have a biological need to connect with nature.

In today’s busy world we live most of our lives inside either at work, in our homes
or cars. There has been an emergence of a new type called ‘techno-stress’. On average people spend over 8 hours each day on their devices. This compulsive checking for updates and messages has led to a number of symptoms including anxiety, headaches, eye and neck strain and insomnia.

Scientific research in Japan has identified that there are chemicals which are released from trees and plants and components of the soil which when breathed in within, boost our mood and our immunity. Research carried out at Universities of Utah and Kansas found that spending time truly immersed in a nature can boost problem – solving ability and creativity by 50%.

Room with a View – some of the most important research on how nature can help us heal was carried out by Professor Roger Ulrich. Through a number of studies he discovered that patients who had serious operations, who had a view of nature from their hospital rooms or had access to pictures of nature recovered more smoothly, required less pain medication and suffered less anxiety than those who did not.

An extensive study at the University of Exeter found that people who live where there are trees and green spaces are less anxious and depressed.