In episode 2 of the ParkBathe series we provide a comprehensive low-down of the mind-boggling science of forest bathing. Here we dive into why forest bathing (which is simply walking mindfully in nature while absorbing the woodland atmosphere) is really, really good for us. We offer practical and easy ways to bring nature’s benefits into your home — so check out the bonus episode !
Kirsten McEwan and I started ParkBathe in March this year and have provided 1 hour guided forest bathing sessions in Crystal Palace Park to over 175 people as part of a citizen science initiative funded by the National Lottery. Today I talk to world renowned researchers in the field of forest medicine, Dr Qing Li from Tokyo's Nippon Medical School and Dr Yoshifumi Miyazaki from Chiba University.
We look at how our bodies cope with modern-day stresses like work pressures or worries at home. We hear from Joanna Bristow-Watkins, a forest bathing guide, on how our nervous system regulates chronic stress and how forest bathing can decrease the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) that our bodies secrete. We even get into the weird and wonderful world of natural killer cells and what these strange-sounding white blood cells do to combat cancer.
We hear from Dr Yasu Kotera at Derby University and Stefan Batorjis, a Forest Bathing guide and trainer. Dr Kotera gives a useful understanding of how the East and West each view ‘medicine’ in quite different ways and he explains the common understanding within cross-cultural psychology that the eastern philosophy of medicine bases it (as claimed by many cross-cultural psychologists such as Nisbett e.g., in his book The Geography of Thought) in a more holistic, less directive manner.
So, sit back, put your feet up and prepare to be blown away by how trees and plants provide beneficial chemicals that we breathe in and what positive impact this has upon our immune system. We promise, it’ll change the way you view your local green space.
Kirsten’s paper on UK Forest Bathing
What is Shinrin Yoku?
Dr Qing Li’s book
Dr Yasu Kotera’s paper on Forest Bathing
LINK to ParkBathe FILM
Written and produced by Vanessa Potter