Wilderness Therapy Explained

Wilderness therapy is widely acknowledged as a natural means of promoting physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Much scientific evidence has been gathered from the Japanese study of Shinrin-Yoku or 'Forest bathing' as we know it in the UK, which initially began in the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventative health care and healing in Japanese medicine since.

Researchers have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest and in wild and remote environments. Now their research is helping to establish shinrin-yoku and forest therapy throughout the world.

The idea is simple; if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved. We have always known this intuitively. however, in the past few decades there have been numerous scientific studies that demonstrate the mechanisms behind the healing effects of simply being in wild and natural areas. For example, it has been proven that trees give off organic compounds that support our 'natural killer' (NK) cells. These NK cells are part of our immune system's way of fighting illness.

The scientifically-proven benefits of wild and natural environments include:

Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body's Natural Killer (NK) cells

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to focus the mind
  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep

Just as impressive are the results that we experience as we make this part of our regular practice:

  • Deeper and clearer intuition
  • Increased flow of energy
  • Increased capacity to communicate with the land and its species
  • Increased flow of eros/life force
  • Deepening of friendships
  • Overall increased sense of happiness

In the last few years the NHS have undertaken a two year study programme under the 'Green Social Prescribing' (GSP) scheme, to help with the relief of stress, anxiety and depression. Whilst we await the research findings to be published in detail (Oct 23) the outline findings have proven very effective and that wilderness therapy works.

The Wilderness Programme draws upon the many scientifically proven benefits that the natural environment has to offer and is one of the key elements of the programme.

Working with landowners and organisations such as the RSPB, we offer truly unique, outdoor based wilderness therapy programmes delivered exclusively from wild, natural and remote destinations in the UK.


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