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Groundbreaking International Study Unveils Nature's Influence on Emotional Well-Being: Sound Ignites Powerful Emotions

35 Countries Participated in Research Highlighting Connection Between Green Environments and People

This method considers how perceived natural elements can impact health and well-being, allowing nature connection activities to be tailored to be the most appropriate for each individual.”
— Alex Gesse, Executive Director, Forest Therapy Hub

BARCELONA, SPAIN, May 23, 2023/ -- In a groundbreaking study conducted across 35 countries and involving 1142 participants, the profound impact of nature's soundscapes on individual well-being during immersive forest bathing and forest therapy sessions has been unveiled. This significant finding challenges conventional wisdom, placing the sense of hearing above sight as the primary means for establishing a connection between individuals and the natural environment.

The research was conducted collaboratively from multiple institutions and experts including the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care at the University of Derby (UK), Forest Therapy Hub, the Barcelona University School of Psychology, the Highland Amphibian and Reptile Project in Spain, and the Institute of Agricultural and Rural Sciences of the UAE in Mexico. The study involved the analysis and evaluation of data derived from an anonymous questionnaire completed by those who had taken part in professionally guided forest bathing sessions facilitated by Forest Therapy Hub-trained guides and practitioners.

Prior to this study, no scientific or academic research had investigated which human senses interacted most within a natural setting. Kirsten McEwan, a researcher and Associate Professor of Health and Wellbeing at the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care at the University of Derby, says "Findings like this are very informative to guides, as they can tailor their sessions to include natural features which offer the benefit to well-being.”

The comprehensive study was undertaken from 2021 to 2022 by Forest Therapy Hub, an international European-based organization dedicated to the research, training and advancement of forest bathing and its therapeutic applications. The study not only examined the effects of guided forest bathing sessions on participants but also evaluated their emotional states during these immersive experiences. Executive Director Alex Gesse emphasized that the forest bathing sessions analyzed in the study were conducted under the supervision of certified guides who have undergone training in the methodology and the landscape information model developed by the FTHub. Gesse says, “This method takes into account how perceived natural elements can impact health and well-being allowing nature connection activities to be tailored to be the most appropriate for each individual".

"To feel good, you need to find the element or aspect of nature that brings you the most well-being – it's science. So, beyond the study, I invite people to explore and find their element," added Gesse.

Respondents in the study prioritized sounds over other senses and emphasized the significance of elements such as bird songs, the rustle of trees branches, and soothing rivers and streams. Additionally, participants mentioned other factors contributing to their well-being, including the landscapes, flora and fauna colors, and nuanced chromatic variations found in nature.

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Brian Garrido
BG Global
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