The Power in Trees
by Hilary Harker
Forest Bathing, or forest therapy, is the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life and lifestyle chronic illnesses. Connecting with nature through the five senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch restores our creativity and sense of wonderment – the essence of life.
Trees appear to have special powers when you rest your back against the solid trunk and breathe easy. Breathe and let go of time, breathe and let go of old patterns and themes that no longer serve you. Experience how mother earth nourishes and energises you.
In an attempt to explore these powers I invited guests on a recent forest bathing trip to complete a standard Profile of Mood States Short Form questionnaire before and after their forest bathing experience. The form contained 34 questions in 6 categories and guests who completed the forms would remain anonymous. I asked each person to: “please circle the number that describes how you feel right now.”
As the graph shows, before the forest bathing trip (pre-walk) half the group had high levels of exhaustion, fatigue and anxiety. Also, feelings of grumpiness, annoyance and anger were quite high on the anger mood scale. After the 4 hours of forest bathing (post-walk) a significant improvement in these moods can be seen on the graph. Another positive effect, on the vigour mood scale, was the number of guests who said that they felt more lively, energised and energetic after the forest bathing trip.
We need the essence of nature in our daily lives to maintain physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing. A walk in the forest awakens the senses, brings balance to our busy lives, and gives us space to breathe. Albert Einstein said: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Written by Hilary Harker