The Forest Bathing Tour in Arenal Costa Rica

According to the expert Manuela Siegfried, guide and instructor of forest therapy certified by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy of California, a forest bath is understood as: A slow and relaxed walk through the forest during which all the senses are activated to notice details, sensations, sounds and smells. A space to slow down and take a break from all the speed of everyday life. A moment of well-being, relaxation, creativity, play.

Due to the pace of life of human beings nowaday, diseases are increasingly significant caused by stress, poor diet, sedentariness and especially the distance from the natural environment of which we are part.

Projections by the Global Wellness Institute indicate that the most growing trend in tourism is for activities that provide regeneration, disease prevention and general well-being. These are the activities that, in the near future, will be the most sought after by travelers and in which entrperneurs should invest the most due to their high profitability.

A study carried out by the researcher Marc Berman, assures that nature walks are really effective to alleviate the symptoms of depression, and even to promote attention and memory at work. "Safe green spaces can be as effective as prescription drugs in treating some mental illnesses." Scientists at Stanford University explained. Performing the forest bathing activity provides positive health impacts such as combating depression, increasing concentration levels, lowering stress, and improving symptoms of some mental illnesses. Spending time near trees and hugging them has also been found to remove headaches and improve mood immediately.

Another study conducted by the Ministry of Public Health in Tokyo in conjunction with researchers from Osaka and Chiba Universities in Japan, results that the forest baths increased the activity and increased NK human cells (Natural Killer Cells), also enhances the anti-cancer proteins in the lymphocytes, in addition the study estimates that the effect that stimulates the activity of NK cells lasted more than 7 days after the forest bathing in individuals who underwent the study. The study, which was approved in 2008, states that "taking a Forest Bathing increases the natural effects of anti-cancer proteins, especially in women".

Cancer patient and survivor associations like in Costa Rica, integrate forest visits into their programs as part of their regular activities in the fight against cancer. Their director, Mrs. María Isabel Ramírez, knows and understands that "a good walk in the forest acts directly on the mood and significantly lowers the stress levels that are conditions that favor diseases like cancer".

A fundamental element in the experience is a good guide for the Forest Bathing experience. If the guide is well trained will have the right tools to read the body language of the guests and capture the key messages in their argument, also will be know how to read the forest. All the beings that visit a forest cause a reaction of the environment that is composed of trees, plants and other organisms that live in perfect harmonic symbiosis, these are highly sensitive to the vibration and energy of the water molecules of their bodies and that the forest is capable, not only to perceive them, but also to react with an altruistic spirit by sending favourable elements to these visitors through sounds, smells, colours and positive vibrations, which the guide must recognise in order to make the right invitations to the participants and to open them up to perceive the benefits of the Forest Bathing.

In conclusion, Forest Bathing is much more than showing appreciation and love for nature, it is a way of letting the forest make us feel good physically and emotionally. A fundamental requirement is to give oneself to the experience and start receiving the benefits of this green practice.

The Forest Bathing tours with certified guides will be available in Mistico Park by the second quarter of 2020.

Spending time near trees and hugging them has also been found to remove headaches and improve mood immediately.

Spending time near trees and hugging them has also been found to remove headaches and improve mood immediately.