Dr. Amitha Kalaichandran, who received her MHS from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2008, published a first-person reported piece in the New York Times on July 17.
The article, titled “Take a Walk in the Woods. Doctor’s Orders,” reviews the scientific evidence for “forest bathing,” or immersing yourself in nature, which as the article notes “is being embraced by doctors and others as a way to combat stress and improve health.”
For the piece, Dr. Kalaichandran, met with several doctors exploring the benefits of ‘forest bathing,” including Dr. Hiroko Ochiai, a surgeon based at Tokyo Medical Center, and her husband, Toshiya Ochiai, currently the chief executive of the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine. Writes Dr. Kalaichandran: “Dr. Ochiai is trained in forest therapy and currently conducts most of her sessions with volunteers within a forest in Nagano, about three hours from Tokyo, with the help of a local guide, and plans to offer forest therapy soon at one of Tokyo’s largest hospitals.”
The article concludes: “The science is still lacking to prove it. But there is some evidence — as well as good old common sense — to suggest that spending time in nature is good for both the mind and body, whether done as a group or alone. It may be something we all need more of.”