Joanna Bristow Watkins


  • Thursday 21st March, International Day of Forests

    IDF image 2Thursday 21st March is International Day of Forests, sponsored by the United Nations. The theme for 2024 is ‘Forests and Innovation’. 

    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

    See you soon in Surrey Woodlands?

    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.

    Within Surrey, via Harmony In Nature, we facilitate regular Forest Bathing Sessions (click limk for venues and dates) to help adults reconnect with nature and reap the therapeutic benefits. If you aren't already on our email list to receive monthly Harmony in Nature updates, and would like to be added, click on the mailing list link above.

    If you run a local meet-up or social group and are looking for professsional speakers (virtual or in person), please contact me if you would like a presentation on Forest Bathing.

    Harmony Healing utilises the philosophies of the Ancient Egyptians, in the form of Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Egyptian Alchemy Healing, to bring balance and harmony. Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Level 1Sessions are fully recorded so that registrations are possible at any time.

    Through Harmony Healing, Joanna offers a wider spectrum of events designed to nurture your welbeing. If you are looking for regular spiritually enlightening activities which help to connect you with the lunar cycle, we have our monthly Full Moon Guided Healing Meditations. Book at the Harmony Shop.

    Other services
    Within Surrey, via Harmony In Nature, we facilitate Forest Bathing Sessions to help adults reconnect with nature and reap the therapeutic benefits.

    MP3 meditations and distant readings and healings are proving popular and we offer Harmony Healing Vouchers for any value for use on Harmony Healing services andHarmony in Nature vouchers for Forest Bathing vouchers (£35).

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