Sunday 21st March is International Day of Forests, sponsored by the United Nations. The 2021 theme for International Day of Forests is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being."
Forests are home to more that 60,000 tree species; comprising about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
In fact, 1.6 billion people are directly dependent on forests for their shelter, food, medicines, income and energy. Alarmingly, we are losing around 10 million hectares of global forest annually (the size of Iceland) and this is said to accounts for 12-20% of greenhouse gas emissions thought to contribute to our climate change.
Whilst some have retained a strong affinity with nature, many have become disconnected. Ancient civilisations venerated the natural world, gaining much wisdom from observing in nature. Contemporary research is now highlighting the physiological benefits of time spent in natural surroundings. Trees emit phytoncides, which we are now refining into essential oils into the atmosphere, which have been proven to encourage relaxation as well as other wellbeing benefits. By engaging with natural forest environments, we can re-connect with nature, renewing our relationship with our natural habitat and appreciating any wildlife within it.
As a qualified Forest Bathing+ guide, I am delighted to see Forests being recognised for their wellbeing benefits and valuable biodiversity and efforts being made to protect dwindling international woodlands.
Forest Bathing is the traditional translation of the Japanese term ‘Shinrin Yoku’, which refers to immersion under a canopy of trees. Practised for over 30 years to alleviate high levels of stress felt by Japanese executives in busy urban districts; Forest Bathing combines meditation and mindfulness with gentle exercise; all within an ambient forest environment.
Offering a unique chance to reconnect both with nature and with ourselves, there is growing evidence that Forest Bathing can:
- Reduce stress
- Regulate blood pressure
- Improve metabolic and cardiovascular health
- Improve anti-cancer protein production
- Support weight loss
- Increase concentration and memory
- Lower blood-sugar levels
- Lift depression
- Alleviate pain thresholds
- Improve energy levels
- Boost the immune system by increasing the body’s NK (Natural Killer) cell count
In the UK, the Forest Bathing Institute (TFBI) has added sensory mindfulness exercises including a 'treelaxation' and group sharing opportunities all within ancient woodlands, to pioneer an enhanced experience known as Forest Bathing+.
See you soon in Surrey Woodlands?
We are now able to take bookings from April onwards, and I am offering a 3-hour session within the private grounds of the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary (close to the picturesque Surrey village of Shere) on Saturday 17th April and a 3-hour session at Newlands Corner (a beautiful AONB - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - in Ancient Woodland near Guildford) on the 22nd April. Both events cost £38.32 per session and are bookable through Eventbrite.
We are so lucky to have woodland making up around 25% of our landscepe here in Surrey. If you aren't local to us, make an effort to go and connect with your local woodlands and beautyspots and naise awareness for the need to appreciate our natural resources. It takes hundreds of years for woodland to build their ecosystems and create an effective communication network; it's a misnomer that we can make up for cutting down established woods with a few newly planted trees.
If you run a local meet-up or social group and are looking for professsional speajers (virtual or in person when venues re-open), please contact me if you would like a presentation on Forest Bathing.
Harmony Healing activities are aimed at bringing harmony and wellbeing into your life. If you would like to experience one of our spiritual offerings (meditation, reading, 1:1 healing, a Forest Bathing+ session or a full mentoring course), why not ask for a Harmony Healing gift voucher for a birthday or other celebratory occasion?
A number of virtual courses are now ready, details on Harmony Healing Virtual Events. Currently, due to Coronavirus, most events will be virtual hence distant readings and healings are proving popular. We don't recommend giving a reading or healing to another person, without first checking whether it would be welcomed.
To receive regular Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.