« The silence of the natural world is in fact a constant, wondrous, never-ending symphony » - Dr Qing Li
« Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees » - John Muir
« Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better » - Albert Einstein
« Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet » - Thich Nhat Hanh
What is Shinrin Yoku ?
Shinrin Yoku or « forest bathing » is an immersion in the forest or a natural environment, accompanied by a certified guide to reconnect with one’s self and the natural world. We could define it this way, « wrap yourself up in well-being making use of our senses and the natural world during an immersion in the forest ».
No specific physical aptitude is needed, and Shinrin Yoku is beneficial for everyone.
A Shinrin Yoku session is a process in which forest-based activities, called invitations, improve the mental and physical health of participants.
During a Shinrin Yoku session you will practice invitations proposed by your guide, such as connecting to your multiple senses, breathing, contemplation, slowness, creativity, sharing during talking circle, silence and listening to nature… and a session will always be different according to our feelings, the weather, the season, the group, and especially the forest and its natural environment.
The benefits of the forest and a Shinrin Yoku session ?
Six million years passed before humans evolved into what we are today. Therefore, more than 99% of our evolutionary history was spent in natural environments. All human physiological functions have evolved in and adapted to nature… that is one of the reasons why human beings can relax in a forest environment.
Scientific research shows, since the 80s but particularly since 10/15 years, that forest environments and the practice of Shinrin Yoku produce various beneficial effects for human health and well-being through the psycho-neuro-immuno-endocrine network :
- decrease in the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), and increase in the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & recover).
- reduce blood pressure leading to a reduction in cardiovascular risks.
- boost the immune system function, with an increase in the activity of Natural Killer cells (NK), the number of NK cells and the level of intracellular anticancer proteins.
- act on the endocrine system and lower the levels of stress hormones (adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol), highlighting the relaxing effects.
- enhance sleep and increase energy and concentration levels.
- reduction in the level of glucose in the blood (type II diabetes, reduced effects of insulin).
- psychological effects with an increase in positive emotions (awe, good mood, freshness and vigor), and decrease in negative emotions (anxiety, confusion, depression, anger and fatigue).
In 2003, Prof. Yoshifumi Miyazaki proposed the term « Forest Therapy » to describe Shinrin Yoku supported by scientific evidence. What started as an intuitive-based therapy has become an evidence-based therapy, and can now be considered to be a preventive medicine. The basic concept behind nature therapy is to increase physiological relaxation and act as a preventive medicine by improving the body’s natural resistance to disease, which is suppressed under conditions of stress. Although the simple act of walking in a forest might not seem extraordinary, the benefits that people experience during and after a session of Shinrin Yoku really are.
Research has shown that there is a correlation between the activities you enjoy and the physiological relaxation effects they provide. In other words, the more you are enjoying an activity, the greater its benefits will be.
Shinrin Yoku cannot treat disease, but it can have a preventive medical effect that makes falling ill less likely, and can help reduce the strain on health services worldwhile that stress-related illnesses cause each year.
Why a certified guide ?
A certified guide accompanies the participants to experience a relationship of well-being with nature and themselves. He also ensures the safety and comfort of the participants in order to stimulate the “letting go” and to live this adventure with serenity, joy, awe, and mindfulness.
The guide ensures the assessment of a forest-therapy path suitable for all in order to propose invitations and moments of sharing in harmony with the forest environment and weather conditions (seasons, temperatures…).
The Shinrin Yoku guide certification carried out by Bernadette Rey, member of the scientific committee of INFOM Japan, SYQ and AGSY lasts 1 year and is recognized by INFOM Canada, « infom.org ».
Your guide also gets a 1st aid training and a RC Pro Sylvotherapy insurance, and is part of the French-speaking Federation of Sylvotherapy Practitioners and Shinrin Yoku, « En chemin Vers ».