Psychological benefits of Forest Bathing during the COVID-19 pandemic: a pilot study in a Mediterranean forest close to urban areas

Anna Muro*, Albert Feliu-Soler, Josep Canals, Eva Parrado, Antoni Sanz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The practice of Shinrin-Yoku or Forest Bathing is an outdoor therapeutic modality with mounting evidence suggesting positive effects on individuals' psychological wellbeing and overall health. However, its benefits have mainly been studied in Asian biomes and more research is needed to evaluate if its benefits are also generalizable to other regions such as European-Mediterranean forests. To preliminarily explore this issue, 16 healthy adults (87.5% women, mean age 47.5) were assessed before and after a 3-hour session of Forest Bathing with meditation exercises in a Mediterranean forest near Barcelona (Spain). Changes in state anxiety, negative affect, positive affect and state mindfulness were assessed. Results show significant increases in positive affect, vigour, friendship and mindfulness, and decreases in negative affect, anxiety, anger, fatigue, tension, and depressive mood. Effect sizes observed for all the outcomes were significant and large, ranging from d = 1.02 to d = 2.61. This study encourages more applied research of the forest therapy model and the practice of Shinrin-Yoku in Mediterranean forests to increase the general population's psychological wellbeing and to deal with the growing prevalence of the psychological side-effects generated by the COVID-19 in European countries such as Spain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forest Research
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • Forest Bathing
  • mindfulness
  • negative and positive affect
  • Shinrin-Yoku

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