Partner with NFTC
Health care professionals, researchers, progressive companies and other organizations are reaching out to NFTC to apply the knowledge, practice and benefits of nature and forest therapy in successfully achieving their missions. NFTC connects with those who share our desire and work to promote the health, well-being and relational benefits of connecting Canadians to nature with the goals of sharing research and expertise, building awareness, co-sponsoring programs and activities, and advocating at local, provincial and national levels.
Professionals working in the fields of medicine, social services, wellness, education, parks and land management, and tourism across the country are invited to contact us. A key aspect of our work with allies lies in sharing and disseminating the growing body of research on the benefits of time spent in nature and, more specifically, on the guided experience of Forest Therapy.
Forest Therapy Defined
In the 1980’s, health care professionals and other leaders in Japan were concerned about rising rates of mental and physical health problems. Research indicated that the changes within Japanese culture in the post-war period had resulted in a loss of connection with nature among the increasingly urbanized population. To restore nature connections and related health benefits, Japan built on the ancient tradition of public bathing, popular in the volcanically active country in the many hot spring pools known as onsen. Japanese people, familiar with onsen bathing, embraced the analogous practice of Shinrin-yoku – forest bathing – to experience its health benefits.
Building on the Japanese forest bathing foundation, health care researchers advanced a series of discoveries related to other biopsychosocial benefits of forest and nature connections. With the support of this scientific evidence, health care professionals, counsellors and guides have developed a broad practice that has come to be known as nature and forest therapy. Within the practice, participants are guided and supported in making safe and effective connections with forest and other natural environments to achieve mental, emotional, social and physical health benefits.
Partnership Case Studies
NFTC and Canada’s Forest Therapy Guides are actively partnering with many national, provincial and local organizations. Partnerships are the trees in the forest of NFTC’s desire and work to promote the health, well-being and relational benefits of connecting Canadians to nature. Through partnership, NFTC pursues the goals of:
BC Parks Foundation
NFTC partnered with the BC Parks Foundation to help them launch the PaRx program. PaRx is the country’s first national nature prescription program driven by health-care professionals who want to improve their patients’ health by connecting them to nature.
NFTC arranged and provided forest therapy experiences for doctors and nurses as well as media representatives and participated in media activity to support public awareness of the program.
University of British Columbia
UBC and NFTC have a strong partnership in the Faculty of Forestry’s Multidisciplinary Institute of Natural Therapy (MINT). The two organizations share an interest in promoting forest therapy and bridging the scientific gap between forest therapy activities and physiological and psychological impacts on human beings.
For the recent International Conference on Forest Therapy hosted by UBC, NFTC and other partners, including MINT and ANFT, collaborated with UBC in the implementation of the conference. NFTC provided virtual forest therapy walks and NFTC board members Chris Goto-Jones and Ronna Schneberger both presented at the conference.
Why “Guided” Forest Therapy?
“The Forest is the Therapist. The Guide opens the Doors.”– Amos Clifford, Association for Nature and Forest Therapy
It is possible to experience health benefits just by going for a walk in the woods. However, as with any unfamiliar experience, the benefits of a knowledgeable and experienced guide are extensive.
- Guides screen locations for accessibility and safety, alleviating participants of the burden of research and selection of safe and appropriate trails and areas.
- Guides are trained in providing participants with simple invitations to sensory experiences without triggering anxiety and in respect of the full and diverse range of human beliefs and values.
- Guides establish a space of openness, calm and a relaxed pace that enables participants to leave the pressures and intensity of modern life behind, overcoming isolation, disconnection and apathy through deeply authentic experiences.
- Guides facilitate unbiased, personal explorations for participants as individuals without imposing any particular agenda, reducing obstacles encountered by participants as they remember forgotten parts of themselves while following their unique paths to health benefits and wholeness.
- Guides provide opportunities for sharing among participants, adding to the wealth of experience and enhancing connections with nature as well as among participants, thereby promoting a sense of social belonging that is an important determinant of health.
“I don’t think people are seeking the meaning of life as much as– Joseph Campbell
they are seeking the experience of being alive.”
Increasingly, the guided practice of forest therapy is supported by emerging research, including a recent study from December, 2021:
NFTC is a new, independent, non-profit organization (federally incorporated) born out of the Canadian Council of the Association for Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT). Powered by volunteers, we exist to advocate for guided forest therapy and nature connection in Canada, to support research and the development of good practice, and to foster community and professional development among accredited guides practicing in Canada. We are actively building allies and working partnerships with like-minded people working in the fields of medicine, social services, wellness, education, parks and land management, and tourism across the country. We have a bright future with lots of activities planned for guides, allies and interested Canadians.
For Information about Partnership
Resources & Research
Since the early research in Japan, an increasing body of findings continues to grow as researchers around the world investigate the health benefits of forest therapy. Here are some of the most important findings to begin exploration of the evidence-based practice of nature and forest therapy.