Forest Bathing Infographic0823 by Maria Golden
The practice of Shinrin-Yoku, “forest bathing”, or literally translated, bathing in the atmosphere of the forest, was established in Japan by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in the early 1980s to bring people back into nature in support of improved human health and wellbeing.
Studies have shown health benefits from forest bathing/forest therapy, including reduced blood pressure, increased immunity, elevated natural killer (NK) cell production, stress reduction, and other positive health effects that are linked to a decrease in chronic disease.
Association of Nature and Forest Therapy:
The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT), provides a framework of training and forest therapy guide certification that is used globally. ANFT has trained over 2,300 guides who are applying this framework for practice in over 65 countries, noting a significant increase from 350 certified guides in 2018.
Forest and nature therapy are now being introduced in the United States, Europe and throughout the world. The scientific basis is being expanded, including adoption within the USDA Forest Service and incorporation into treatments prescribed by clinicians.
Memorandum of Agreement:
During the XV World Forestry Congress, Seoul, South Korea in May 2022 the Korea Forest Welfare Institute, the Korea Forest Therapy Forum, the University of British Columbia Faculty of Forestry, Conservation Conexions, and the US Forest Service established a memorandum of agreement to advance the work of forest therapy research, practice, and policy.
**MOA team members will provide a presentation and affiliated event during the 2023 World Forum on Urban Forests in Washington, DC.
Forest bathing, forest and nature therapy, forest immersion, and the Japanese term, Shinrin-Yoku, are all names that are often used to describe the practice.
Many guides have begun delivering remotely guided forest and nature therapy experiences that can be done indoors or outdoors via a phone call or video meeting format.
Development of forest therapy jobs and career opportunities are part of the growth of green jobs as reported on by the United Nations and referred to as forest ecotherapy. The International Society of Arboriculture training manual now cites Forest Therapy as an urban forestry practice.