Forest Therapy: Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) is one of Melbourne’s true gems. A free, manicured, palace of serenity just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of CBD proper. Over the last two years I travelled across 50 countries (it was a tad hectic). The thing that I missed most about Melbourne was honestly our world class parks in each of the city’s corners. We really are blessed to have such an abundance of free (as someone that grew up in Australia, it never occurred to me that in many countries you are required to pay to enter a park) green space.

Forest Therapy (Shirin-Yoku) is a theory of wellness that the Japanese government instituted in response to a national health crisis. It’s now practiced and recognised across several countries as a natural, cost-effective, ‘green prescription’ towards wellness. The overall practice is designed to lower stress, blood pressure and generally lift you into a more positive mood.

The session was held on a Sunday morning and our group of 10 people were led on a guided walking meditation by Arga and Dennis. The team designed the Forest Therapy session to allow us to connect to and feel nature on another level. As they mentioned, it wasn’t meant to be the ‘1,000 steps with your headphones in’. Rather we embarked on a slow journey through calming areas of the gardens.

We explored three facets of the gardens:

– Herb garden up close: during this part we had magnifying glasses and really appreciated the area on a micro level
– Rain forest: here our sense of hearing was allowed to roam free
– Japanese tea ceremony

Forest Therapy is definitely a unique and interesting way to gain another perspective on our sanctuary of nature in Melbourne. Sessions occur in both a two and three hour format. I must say, the hours flew by and I couldn’t believe the time was up when it was. At the end of the session, you’re also provided with a forest therapy prescription which is designed to be practiced on an ongoing basis daily, weekly and monthly. If you’re keen on Forest Therapy or some of the RBG’s events you can view them here.

– Rukmal
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Rukmal lives and breathes events.

Disclaimer: The Plus Ones were invited guests of the Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria
Photo credit: Royal Botanic Garden Victoria