Faith Douglas set up Forest Bathing UK to bring something back to this country that not only other cultures practice but our ancestors did too.
Cultures all over the world practise a technique called ‘Forest Bathing’ – in Japanese it’s called ‘Shinrin-yoku’, in Mandarin it is ‘Sēnlínyù’ and in Korean it’s known as sanlimyok. Some countries have designated woodlands and forests purely for the purpose of relaxation and connecting within nature.
Trees naturally give off something called ‘phytoncides‘ or ‘wood essential oils’, these oils when inhaled have been scientifically proven to have a beneficial impact on our nervous systems. This means that quite simply being within a wooded area we can see our stress levels reduced, mood disorders be more balanced and our overall quality of life improved.
Faith says: “I live, work and breathe in a natural environment and I have spent a great deal of time not just in the woods but in other natural environments, be it in the mountains, by the sea or in a meadow and I know that their are benefits to us as humans in all natural environments not just in the woods. Connecting in nature could even be practised in a desert!
This may seem very simple to some but studies show that to get any benefit from nature we need to do it ‘mindfully’. Mindfulness is the latest buzz word and thankfully people everywhere seem to be aware of it and its uses in everyday life. But how many of us actually make an active decision to be fully present and in the moment? Many people would say they go for walks within a natural environment but couldn’t say they actually do it mindfully. I see people everyday walking their dogs and not actually even being aware of their dog let alone their beautiful surroundings!
I recognise that most people find it very difficult to be mindful, the pace, stresses and responsibility of every day life are often hard to switch off from. This is where Forest Bathing UK can help, through various guided activities and exercises everyone can benefit from becoming more mindful in a natural environment. Connecting in Nature can help everyone not only connect with nature but also connect with themselves and others. People often find that once they become more aware of their surroundings they become happier and more rounded as individuals, relationships strengthened, goals achieved and hurdles overcome.”
“I see first hand, not just for myself but for others too, the benefits of being within nature. It is not just people who may be unwell, in a chaotic world, it is something we can all benefit from. My aim is to introduce, deliver and teach not just those in need of therapy.”
Forest bathing for children
Children are naturally mindful and forest bathing can help them grow up into mindful adults. We can learn an awful lot from a natural environment.
Forest bathing for the corporate world
These people essentially run our world. Faith would like to encourage mindful leadership and aid people that perhaps need to not only connect with others but connect with themselves too, thus encouraging a calmer, healthier and essentially more productive working environment.
Forest bathing for the general public
Faith has learned over the years that Forest Bathing has a scientific and clinical factual basis due to the effect tree essential oils have on our bodies, but it is so much more then that and awareness in nature expands from not only the forest but to pretty much all natural environments.
Connect in nature
Faith’s motto is “connect in nature”, be it connecting with nature, connect with others in nature or/and connecting with ourselves in nature.
Who is Faith Douglas?
“I live in the woods of a country estate where I work. My background is in nursing, I retrained when I was 29 in Horticulture as I have always had a love of all things nature, I starting working for a charity called Horticap delivering Horticulture as therapy to adults with a wide range of learning disabilities.
I was given the job of Curator of Thorp Perrow Arboretum 7yrs ago, I still do this part time. In 2012 I created an education garden within the Arboretum with a group from Help for Heroes, Phoenix House recovery centre, Catterick, they offered me a job as garden projects leader in 2013, I still do this one day per week.
I came across Forest Bathing through my Mindfulness and Reiki practice. Help for Heroes started to deliver Health and Wellbeing courses for serving personel and beneficiaries at the centre I work in. I offered Forest bathing as a therapeutic activity and it has been part of the course since it began.
- In 2016 Faith lead a group from Help for Heroes to assist with the build on the Welcome to Yorkshire garden designed by Mathew Wilson. The garden went on the win a Silver Award and the People’s Choice Award.
- Silver Gilt Award for her Healthy Roots garden, designed to remind people of their connection to nature and it’s therapeutic benefits at Harrogates Autumn Flower Show 2016.
- Faith is a Usui Reiki Master Practitioner.