Across the last three decades, international research has demonstrated and validated the many benefits forest therapy and Shinrin-yoku bring about. The benefits of forest therapy can be classified into two groups: direct and indirect effects.

Main direct effects
The main medical, physiological and mental health benefits of guided forest therapy walks are:

  • reduced blood pressure
  • reduced stress hormone (cortisol) level
  • reduced anxiety
  • surge in the activity of cancer-fighting white blood cells
  • exposure to antimicrobial substances emitted by trees and plants (phytoncides)
  • increased happiness and positive mood
  • enhanced energy level
  • better concentration

Main indirect effects
Regular guided forest therapy walks bring about the following indirect or long-term health effects:

  • increased overall fitness levels
  • improved immune system
  • weight loss
  • reduced risk of obesity
  • reduced risk of heart and lung diseases
  • decrease in anxiety
  • reduced risk of getting depressed
  • less likelihood of feeling stressed in typical day-to-day situations
  • better and more regular sleep
  • more positive mood and motivation (meaning: less mood-swings)
  • enhanced ability to focus
  • higher self-confidence and a more stable personality

The degree of measured health benefits varies from person to person due to a number of factors coming into play (for example, overall constitution and health, age, gender, hormonal and genetic dispositions, previous illnesses, lifestyle, type of forest etc.). For further reading, please take a look at helpful links and references about the benefits of forest therapy and Shinrin-yoku.