Forest bathing

When was the last time you hugged a tree? Today we discuss the enormous benefits of trees and having them in your life. Did you know trees have been found to improve healing time for patients in hospital? An interesting topic with some surprising findings as well. Have a read and send us your thoughts. Enjoy!

Trees deliver many joys

Trees help preserve our climate by absorbing CO2, they provide habitat for many species and the forests sustain biodiversity. Their beauty frames our gardens and cities and hides the brick venereal ugliness of our sprawling suburbs.

I have a special love for Eucalypts. Their trunks offer a variety of sensations from the dappled smoothness of a Spotted Gum to the rough blacks of the Ironbarks. The gnarled pastelled trunks of the River Red Gum majestically clothe our waterways. Ancient trees inspire games with their impressive girth and canopies. Who remembers playing hide and seek amongst the buttressed roots of  Moreton Bay Figs or rainforest giants.

The multitude of tiny flowers sustains birdlife in winter as well as apiarists and their flow of honey. Flowering trees also help to sustain the bees which pollinate many of the foods we rely on to fill our weekly shopping baskets.

tree-hugging-forest-bathing-listen4lifeThe landscapes where Eucalypts prevail are tinged blue because of the vapourised oils in the air. These oils are highly flammable and rich in essential oils. Have you experienced the calming scent of a Lemon Scented Gum on a hot summer day or after rain? Or the tingle in your nostril of a grove of peppermints.

Have you hugged a tree recently?

My grandchildren love hugging trees with me, they need little encouragement. The experience makes me feel better, calmer and more grounded. In his book Blinded by Science, Matthew Silverstone suggests that hugging a tree sounds may be better for you than a visit to the doctor. There are in fact Ten good reasons to hug a tree.

Forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) supports Wellbeing

The concept of forest bathing originated in Japan. The practice involves slowly and intentionally walking through a forest. You enjoy the experience with all your senses – sight, smell, sounds and touch. The Japanese formally encourage forest bathing as a means of reducing stress.

The practice of forest walking also supports health and wellbeing. Japanese doctor Qing Li espouses the benefits of walking in a forest in a book entitled,  Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness.


Research finds that being in nature improves health and well-being. One study found that exposure to a park with trees improved both mood and the willingness to help others [1]. Another study in Chicago correcting for socioeconomic factors found that the extent of tree canopy was directly associated with a reduction in the rate of assaults, robbery and drug use – 10% more trees reduced violence by 10%[2]. This beneficial pattern replicates other studies across the USA [3]. The  Children and Nature Network has scanned the research and found the following benefits of living with trees:

Our top three tipstree forest bathing model

  1. Access – If you cannot get a view of trees out of your window get an indoor plant
  2. Action – prioritise the time to walk amongst the trees in your locality
  3. Absorb – ensure that you make the space to sense the gifts the trees can bestow on you

If you would like to take the next step with Harry Armytage, complete the Listening Scorecard here

To find out more about what Sally Estlin does, head here

Photo by Wayne Robinson on Unsplash


  1. Guéguen, N., & Stefan, J. (2016). “Green Altruism”: Short Immersion in Natural Green Environments and Helping Behavior. Environment and Behavior, 48(2), 324–342.
  2. Tania Schusler, Leah Weiss, David Treering, Earvin Balderama,
    Research note: Examining the association between tree canopy, parks and crime in Chicago,
    Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol 170, 2018,
  3. Jill Suttie, Why trees can make you happier, Greater Good Berkeley

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