A Physician's Words
Dr. Sally Studer is a family physician who joined a walk with Above the Clouds in 2020 and offered this reflection.
“Shinrin yoku first caught my eye in 2018 while reading Time magazine. I learned more of this practice of ‘Japanese forest bathing’ and other similar practices, eventually coming upon the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) and research findings regarding these practices. Recently, I was very happy to finally be able to experience Forest Therapy firsthand under the guidance of ANFT certified Jane Scanlon.
After 30 years as a family physician, I’ve grown CERTAIN of the need for treatments above and beyond drugs. Abundant medical research has already proven that Forest Therapy helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduce stress. Most exciting for me are the findings that Forest Therapy enhances our own body’s defense system that is in charge of fighting infection, inflammation, and disease: NATURE/FOREST THERAPY boosts your IMMUNE SYSTEM! Anything that boosts a person’s immune system that is easy to access, has no inherent risks, and is of low cost is undeniably powerful and should be embraced and encouraged. I consider Nature/Forest Therapy to be an essential aspect of health maintenance that should be incorporated into everyone's daily life.
If you are interested in your own forest bathing experience, I would encourage you to secure an experienced ANFT guide like Jane Scanlon. Jane is extraordinarily gifted: with knowledge imparted in her soothing voice and welcoming, yet non-intrusive demeanor, I readily found lightness of being and the openness and preparedness to help ensure a fulfilling forest bathing session. Jane similarly found each participant where they were and ushered them in their own unique experiences. As our Forest Therapy guide, Jane conveyed professionalism and a real experiential serenity. I believe Nature/Forest Therapy can and will refocus perspectives, not only individually, but also globally, bringing all of us to renew our devotion to and protection of the natural world.”
Dr. S. Studer, D.O., Des Moines, Iowa