Forest bathing and PTSD - A discussion
Having originated in Japan and China, forest bathing – or Shinrin-Yoku – can be used to help decrease undue stress and potential burn-out. Research has found that immersion in nature has human health benefits, including a decrease in blood pressure, pulse rate and reduced acute psychological distress – and it’s been shown to be incredibly helpful for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In the UK, there are 2 main psychological treatments recommended for treating PTSD & C-PTSD: Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) and trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) (based on NICE guidance updated in 2018).
There are however, many other therapies and activities which can be used to ease PTSD & C-PTSD symptoms whilst you’re waiting for these treatments, or to work alongside treatments. Some have short, and some have long term effects, but when offered as part of a carefully formulated programme of therapy and coping techniques for PTSD, they can offer people a welcome source of relief. Forest bathing is once such practice that can help support people with PTSD and C-PTSD.
Forest Bathing, or ‘eco-therapy’ can help to reduce the stress hormone production, boost the immune system and have an overall beneficial impact on feelings of wellbeing. This is particularly beneficial for anyone suffering with PTSD or C-PTSD, as symptoms of this often include feelings of hypervigilance, insomnia, panic attacks, a lack of emotional connection, and depression.
We’ve got a few resources on our website including these guest blog posts from Ruth at Forest Clouds Nature Therapy and Bertie from Effortless Outdoors but Ruth has now decided to support PTSD UK by running two Forest Bathing sessions to fundraise for us, so we took this opportunity to have a chat about all things PTSD, C-PTSD and how forest bathing can help. You can see our chat in the video below:
You can also find out more, and book into Ruth’s events here:
ONLINE introduction to Forest Bathing fundraiser for PTSD UK: Tues 13th Sept 18:00 – 19:15
More event details here: Forest Clouds facebook event page
Booking via email here, asking for donations, pay what you can, 100% of proceeds go to PTSD UK in exchange for your space
Taster session – introduction to Forest Bathing and a fundraiser for PTSD UK.: Sat 8th Oct 10:00 – 11:30
Leigh On Sea, Essex
More event details here: Forest Clouds facebook event page
Book your space via email here, pay what you can, donations to PTSD UK, 100% of proceeds go to the charity
It’s important to note, that while choosing your PTSD or C-PTSD recovery path you need to address both the symptoms and the underlying condition. NICE guidance updated in 2018 recommends the use of trauma focused psychological treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in adults, specifically the use of Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) and trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Please remember, these aren’t meant to be medical recommendations, but they’re tactics that have worked for others and might work for you, too. Be sure to work with a professional to find the best methods for you.
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Treatments for PTSD
It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.