Welcome to mind body NATURE
Nature Connection and Forest bathing in London and the South East
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Looking after the wellbeing of your team has never been more important.
Our fun, inclusive and unique workshops bring your team together safely outdoors for wellness and bonding, simultaneously improving performance and engagement.
Workplace stress and anxiety is on the rise and in the spotlight, impacting the personal wellbeing and performance of employees in all industries. We are living in a time where online connectivity has replaced a real connection with other people and the natural world around us. Our workshops address this head on, and are a refreshing change from the outdated competitive focus of other team away days.
Forest bathing is so much more than just a fun day out. It provides a different sort of challenge for those with red / driver personality types, whilst giving space to all members of the team to open up and reconnect as people.
As the infographic shows, Forest Bathing has a range of physiological and psychological benefits for your team, and is peer reviewed to have effects similar in magnitude to compassionate mind training. Check out our science section for relevant open source scientific research and further reading.
*Fun, engaging and unique
*Wellness as the primary focus
*Inclusive activity for diverse teams
*Outdoor meet where your team can relate safely in person
*Enhance relationships between team members
*Improve workplace performance and concentration
*Learn new skills
*No experience required
*Groups of up to 15, depending on location
We offer sessions in London and the South East. With locations in the Surrey Hills, Woking and South London, we cover a large area. If we don't have a location near you, we can find one.
Please see our FAQs.
Get in touch for a tailored session to suit the needs of your team.
Beddington Park is a large park, complete with a babbling brook and beautiful quiet enclaves of mixed mature woodland. The park has a rich history, originally part of the deer park attached to Carew Manor and visited by Tudor royals.
Oaks Park is a mixture of landscapes, including formal horticulture, natural chalk meadows, woodlands and informal parkland. Join us in a secret, tranquil corner, and instantly feel miles away from the hubbub of urban life.
This National Trust site in the heart of Guildford is a secret island oasis, just a short walk from the town centre and railway station. A quiet haven of meadow and trees, Dapdune Island is a gem on the Wey Navigation.
Shhh, don't tell anyone!
One of the last remaining ancient woodlands, NT Abinger Hammer is rich in biodiversity, a feast for the senses and home to the veteran 'Witches Broom' beech tree. Forest bathing at Abinger is a treat not to be missed!
With a range of habitats and trails from open heath to mixed and coniferous woodland, Horsell Common is a fantastic place to forest bathe. Here we also have an accessible trail - please let us know when booking if you require this.
In collaboration with the The Forest Bathing Institute, we are offering sessions in the private mixed woodland of Birtley House. We alternate dates with another fantastic guide - our own sessions are on Sundays.
Nature Connection was identified by the Mental Health Foundation as key to feeling that life is worthwhile. Forest Bathing is scientifically proven to improve physical and mental wellbeing, with measurable improvements in work place performance in areas such as concentration, lower stress and connection with team members.
'Shinrin Yoku' translates from Japanese as 'bathing in the forest atmosphere'.
During a gentle, immersive walk, your guide will invite you to ground yourself in your body and senses, inspiring opportunities to connect with your surroundings and each other.
Our fully trained and experienced guides follow a peer reviewed format, put your wellbeing first and care deeply about the natural world.
Small group sizes allow our guides to tailor each session to the particular group and location.
Emily’s sessions have been life changing for me in terms of relaxation, finding inner peace and experiencing nature in harmony with my mind, body and spirit. I can highly recommend you try it out, Emily is a fantastic guide.
It was nice to bring real focus to all of my senses - I was learning a new skill! You made me comfortable to do things outside of my comfort zone - like deer ears and smelling everything around me. I appreciated that. And I liked all the insightful knowledge you gave us about the impact the forest has on our bodies and minds. Overall, I left the day feeling peaceful and happy, and took that feeling into the rest of my stressful workday!
You were brilliant very informative and a great guide. Would very much like to be on the next session in January
I found your session to be wonderfully relaxing and meditative. I particularly enjoyed the meditation session and the introduction to those stunning Yew trees.
I found it to be a valuable experience. Your calm manner guided me through some easy techniques for living in the moment. I shall incorporate these into my daily routine. I hope to follow this session with a longer one as soon as they are available.
* Is this like wild swimming?
No, we immerse ourselves in the forest atmosphere, not water! Forest bathing is a form of nature connection through mindfulness under the canopy of trees.
* Do I need to be fit?
No, you only need to be able to walk. Our sessions are slow and gentle with many opportunities to stop and rest. We seldom cover more than a mile over 2 - 3 hours.
* What if it rains?
We will only suspend or cancel for very high winds, electrical storms or heavy snow that affects safety. Rain brings wonderful opportunities to engage your senses. Your guide will advise you on suitable clothing.
*What training do you have?
As a minimum, our experienced guides are fully trained by The Forest Bathing Institute to teach mindfulness and forest bathing to groups outdoors in nature. Your guide will also be first aid trained.
*Will I be good at forest bathing?
There are no rights or wrongs in forest bathing, and no experience is required. Everyone's experience is unique. All we ask is that you foster a sense of curiosity and openness.
The first UK peer reviewed research paper to assess whether Forest Bathing in a UK population would result in improvements in the outcome measures commonly used in Asian Forest Bathing studies (i.e., Profile of Mood States scale (POMS) and heart rate variability).
The University of Derby found that Forest Bathing produced benefits similar in magnitude to an effective and established UK wellbeing intervention (Compassionate Mind Training).
In the forest bathing group, significant improvements were found in questionnaire scores for mood disturbance (POMS-tension, depression, anger, fatigue, confusion), low arousal relaxed and safe positive emotions, rumination on problems, nature connection, pro-environmental attitudes and compassion for the self, others and from others.
Read the study: Sustainability | Free Full-Text | A Pragmatic Controlled Trial of Forest Bathing Compared with Compassionate Mind Training in the UK: Impacts on Self-Reported Wellbeing and Heart Rate Variability | HTML (mdpi.com)
This study from the University of Derby compared mindfulness interventions and forest bathing for wellbeing benefits.
The study found that the outward focus of mindfulness in forest bathing can be an easier intervention than traditional inward focussed mindfulness and meditation, concluding that "Those who are at risk of re-traumatization, experiencing extreme mental health challenges, or who experience more difficulty in achieving a mindful state would benefit from additional support and consideration of forest bathing as a gentler pathway to the well-being gains.”
Mental Health Week 2021 had Nature as the theme, highlighting the benefits of nature connection for our mental health. The Mental Health Foundation and WWF reports below, bring together much of the research. The MHF report says "Our relationship with nature – how much we notice, think about and appreciate our natural surroundings – is a critical factor in supporting good mental health and preventing distress."
"People’s nature connectedness, rather than visits to nature, is key for feeling that life is worthwhile – nearly four times larger than the increase associated with socio-economic status."
Read the WWF and MHF collaborative report: Thriving With Nature | Mental Health Foundation
This 2019 review by Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine, retrieved 210 papers from January 1, 2015, to April 1, 2019, applied qualitative criteria to the methods used, and the final 28 papers meeting the inclusion criteria were included in the study. The results demonstrated that forest bathing activities might have the following merits: remarkably improving cardiovascular function, hemodynamic indexes, neuroendocrine indexes, metabolic indexes, immunity and inflammatory indexes, antioxidant indexes, and electrophysiological indexes; significantly enhancing people's emotional state, attitude, and feelings towards things, physical and psychological recovery, and adaptive behaviors; and obvious alleviation of anxiety and depression.
A comparative study of the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku) on working age people with and without depressive tendencies found that after forest bathing, those with depressive tendencies demonstrated significantly greater improvement in many of POMS items than those without depressive tendencies, and many of them no longer differed between those with and without depressive tendencies.
Natural Killer Cells are the 'scouts' in our immune systems. Phytoncides are essential oil compounds released by trees into the air.
Professor Q Li of Nippon Medical School found that a forest bathing trip significantly increased NK activity and the numbers of NK, perforin, granulysin, and granzymes A/B-expressing cells and significantly decreased the percentage of T cells, and the concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline in urine. The increased NK activity lasted for more than 7 days after the trip. Phytoncides, such as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene were detected in forest air. These findings indicate that a forest bathing trip also increased NK activity, number of NK cells, and levels of intracellular anti-cancer proteins in female subjects, and that this effect lasted at least 7 days after the trip. Phytoncides released from trees and decreased stress hormone levels may partially contribute to the increased NK activity.
This Japanese study measured the stress hormone cortisol in the saliva of participants. The main results of the meta-analysis showed that salivary cortisol levels were significantly lower in the forest groups compared with the urban groups both before and after intervention. Overall, the study concluded that forest bathing can significantly influence cortisol levels in the short term in such a way as to reduce stress, and anticipated placebo effects (ie, looking forward to forest bathing) can play an important role in the effect.
This study published in BMC reviewed twenty trials involving 732 participants. Systolic blood pressure of the forest environment was found to be significantly lower than that of the non-forest environment. Additionally, diastolic blood pressure of the forest environment was significantly lower than that of the non-forest environment. This systematic review concluded a significant effect of Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) on reduction of blood pressure.