Finland boasts an astounding 75% forest coverage, which results from a deep connection between its population and nature.
Indeed, the forest culture is nurtured through early education, fostering an important appreciation for nature. The schools organise many forest outings ranging from simple hikes to camping trips, allowing children to grow up experiencing the freedom that nature offers.
Additionally, access to nature is greatly facilitated in Finland with many protected parks and reserves even within the capital. As a result, many associations and organisations offer a wide range of forest retreats for individuals to recharge their batteries. And experiences are shared during the International Forest Therapy Day rather known in Finland.
This profound bond with nature likely contributes to the prevailing ambient of happiness among its population. In fact, numerous studies clearly state that spending time in nature is a panacea for physical and mental health. It can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormone levels and boost the immune system as the phytoncides released by trees enhance immune function while the mystical forest calming sounds of leaves and chirping birds have a soothing effect on the mind.
So let's demystify the secret of “metsä” (forest in Finnish) therapy, widely practised in Finland to enjoy it into our everyday lives.
To fully enjoy the benefits of forest therapy, it is as simple as learning to embrace the present moment. You can start with a daily walk, leaving your phone behind, to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and scents of nature. Take deep, slow breaths and observe the wonders around you. For those seeking more adventure, you can incorporate yoga into a hike or embark on several days of camping.
By embracing the therapeutic power of the forest, you can enhance your overall sense of wellbeing and find solace in nature.
5 Health benefits of spending time in nature. (n.d.). One Medical. https://www.onemedical.com/blog/healthy-living/health-benefits-nature/#:~:text=Numerous%20studies%20have%20found%20that,camping%20to%20make%20it%20happe
Foresthealer. (2020, July 19). Forest Notes From The Happiest Country In The World. Healing Forest. https://healingforest.org/2019/04/29/forest-notes-from-the-happiest-country-in-the-world/
Wood, J. (2017). What we can learn from Finland’s “Forest schools.” Culture Trip. https://theculturetrip.com/europe/finland/articles/what-we-can-learn-from-finlands-forest-schools/