Forest Therapy is a research-based public health practice of guided immersion in forests with the aim of promoting mental and physical health whilst relaxing and enjoying the forest. In the 1980s, Japan recognized the physiological and psychological dangers of stress and depression and sought out a new, affordable and effective way to combat it. This was the beginning of “Shinrin-yoku”, roughly translated as ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’ or ‘forest immersion’. Across the last three decades this led to the development of the public health approach of Forest Therapy.
Karen and David are International Nature and Forest Therapy Alliance qualified forest therapy guides, who love to share the experience of being in the bush with others, helping them to connect and de-stress.
They strive to make their clients feel more centred, relaxed and calmer so they are able to better cope with the pressures of life following a guided walk.
They are skilled at adapting forest therapy sessions to suit individuals’ needs and are known for their warm and welcoming manner. They enjoy getting people to tune into the music of the world around them by listening for natural sounds, and helping them to feel grounded during a walk.
Walks are 2-3 hours long at venues around Melbourne, including Darebin Parklands, Northcote; Merri Creek, Coburg North; Sherbrooke Forest, Dandenongs; and Royal Park.
2 hour walk - $45 pp ($30 concession)
3 hour walk - $55 pp ($40 concession)
Prices will vary depending on participant numbers.
• reduced blood pressure (systolic and diastolic)
• lowered pulse rate
• reduced stress hormone (cortisol) level
• reduced anxiety
• surge in the activity of cancer- and tumor-fighting blood cells (‘natural killer’ cells)
• active exposure to anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-viral substances emitted by trees and plants (phytoncides)
• increased happiness and positive mood
• enhanced energy level
• better concentration
Regular guided Forest Therapy walks bring about the following indirect or long-term health effects:
• increased overall fitness level
• improved immune system
• weight loss
• reduced risk of obesity
• reduced risk of heart and lung diseases
• decrease in anxiety
• reduced risk of getting depressed
• less likelihood of feeling stressed in typical day-to-day situations
• better and more regular sleep
• more positive mood and motivation (meaning: less mood-swings)
• enhanced ability to focus
• higher self-confidence and a more stable personality