Effects of Shinrin-yoku Retreat on Mental Health: A Pilot Study in Fukushima, Japan
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractShinrin-yoku (forest bathing) is a cost-effective healing practice that has recently attracted the interest of social scientists who have attributed it, in part, to mental health benefits. Japanese university students suffer from high rates of mental health problems, and the number of suicides remain high despite the total number of suicides in Japan decreasing. Effective mental health approaches which increase mental wellbeing and self-compassion, and reduce associated deficits, such as loneliness, are sought after for Japanese students, however healthful treatment has not been identified to date. Accordingly, this pre-post pilot study evaluated the levels of mental wellbeing, self-compassion, and loneliness among 25 Japanese undergraduate students who participated in a three-day shinrin-yoku retreat in Fukushima. Measurements were taken prior, straight after, and two weeks-post intervention. One-way ANOVA with Tukey post hoc analysis revealed that the mean scores of self-compassion, common humanity, and mindfulness increased statistically significantly from pre-retreat to follow-up. The mean scores of mental wellbeing and loneliness did not statistically significantly change. The positive effects on self-compassion indicate that shinrin-yoku retreat should be evaluated within a larger sample and in a shorter time frame to establish optimal shinrin-yoku parameters in this arena.
CitationKotera, Y. and Fido, D. (2021). 'Effects of shinrin-yoku retreat on mental health: A pilot study in Fukushima, Japan'. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, pp. 1-13.
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction