Forest Bathing Shows Promise in Improving Children’s Mental Health

Forest Bathing

Researchers from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse carried out a groundbreaking study that revealed how forest bathing impacts positively on the mental health of children.

The process, also known as the forest therapy, is a slow and mindful immersion in nature and has shown great promise in responding to mental health challenges among young people.

For instance, Namyun Kil, a professor at UW-La Crosse led this research involving 12 children aged between 9 and 14 years suffering from conditions like depression and anxiety.

This article has demonstrated notable improvements among participants according to its lead author Professor Namyun Kil from Recreation Management & Recreation Therapy of UW-La Crosse.

Just recently, the research appeared in International Journal for Mental health Promotion Psychological and Physiological Health.

It highlights significant drop in blood pressure, increased energy levels and concentration as well as decrease in stress among children after guided forest therapy sessions.

What is Forest Bathing?

Forest bathing is generally undertaken with the assistance of trained facilitators.

It involves deliberately and slowly interacting with nature to create a purposeful and unhurried relationship with its environment.

Research carried out in different countries has consistently linked this practice with several physical and psychological health benefits mostly focusing on relaxation and well-being.

These studies point out the deep therapeutic impact of forest bathing as it highlights the deeper connection towards nature.

It also suggests how it can be used to improve mental health as well as overall physical wellbeing by carefully immersing oneself in natural environments in a mindful way.

Suggestions and Observations

Inspired by the results, Prof Kil suggests that more exposure to natural environments could be helpful especially for children who suffer from conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In alternative terms he refers to this idea as “nature’s prescription” where he argues that connections to nature are important compared to medical interventions most times.

Further Research and Possible Impacts

Professor Kil is in charge of two ongoing investigations that examine the potential of forest bathing.

As for the first study, this article examines how this therapy can be used to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans.

The second project seeks to do a meticulous comparison between the health benefits of forest bathing and brisk walking along natural trails.

These research projects thus endeavor to give us more insights into the various dimensions of benefits that come with forest therapy in different contexts for mental health and physical well-being.

Expert Insights & Applicability

According to Shinrin-yoku Madison owner Kate Bast, a forest therapy guide, the study’s findings correspond to her personal experience with forest bathing.

For instance, she noted that there were huge relaxation benefits for people who took part in the research and shared experiences of walking in nature.

As such, Kate Bast compared being a forest therapy guide to a yoga instructor by creating a safe immersive space where people get to relax, slow down and become present in nature.

Benefits Amidst Pandemic Challenges

For example, when COVID-19 pandemic hit America, it led to a sudden spike of interest towards this business as many people sought solace and connection while under lockdown.

By hosting guided forest bathing sessions, it created not only an escape into the natural settings but was also socially engaging and could be done safely by individuals who needed relief from the pandemic’s adverse effects.

In conclusion, his UW-La Crosse study informs us about how forest bathing might have promising effects on children’s mental health as well as suggests that exposure to nature could be used as therapeutic intervention.

With other studies examining its potential usefulness for veterans and comparing it against other outdoor activities, forest therapy is emerging as an attractive natural way of enhancing overall well-being.

As the globe grapples with mental health issues, adopting the healing power of nature may provide some avenue out of these challenges leading to better mental resilience and wellness among young ones and other risk groups.


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  • Forest Bathing Shows Promise in Improving Children’s Mental Health