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Exploring the Therapeutic Benefits of 'Forest Bathing' for Alleviating Anxiety and Stress

Exploring the Therapeutic Benefits of 'Forest Bathing' for Alleviating Anxiety and Stress

Dr. Arnan Sisson


When anyone hears the term “forest bathing” it's hard to take it seriously. I was looking into the most recent studies on all things health and wellness, and I came across multiple studies done in Japan with this type of treatment.

Long story short this type of treatment was shown on multiple occasions to produce SIGNIFICNATLY higher improvements in stress, anxiety, and depression as compared to normal treatments. It even amplified the effects of exercise. Which we all know works very well for these things by itself.

To define “Forest Bathing,” this is simply exercising the outdoors. The most common form of exercise used in the studies was walking.

They compared 3 groups, the first walked on a treadmill. The second was walking in a crowded city, and the final group was walking around the forest/open countryside.

They found improvements in stress, anxiety, and depression in all 3. But the results skyrocketed with the outdoor group. It's hard to explain, but something particularly good happens physiologically when we’re outdoors. And combining this with exercise only helps.

A fun part of this study was a test they did in a group of offices. They wanted to see if bringing the forest to people had the same effect. So, they compared the moods of folks with forest pictures scattered in their offices to a non-picture group, and finally a non-nature picture group.

The results showed that the nature group also in this setting had the best results!

So, what’s the take-home advice from this? First off everyone needs to be on a simple walking program due to its powerful effects on health and well-being.

But we should do as many of these walks outdoors as possible to magnify their effects. And also make sure to place some great nature pictures in our offices and homes to boost our moods and reduce anxiety there as well.

That’s it for today, remember movement is medicine!

P.S. Do you want to get on a walking program yourself but are unable to reap all the health benefits of it due to a pesky ache or pain that won’t go away? If so, feel free to call me at (804) 493-3256 (accepting messages 24/7) to get a free 20-minute phone consultation where we can find out what’s causing your ache/pain and find the best route you can take to fix it quickly!