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Forest bathing: a narrative review of the effects on health for outdoor and environmental education use in Canada

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Education and health professionals from a range of disciplines seek alternatives to promote well-being through nature. Shinrin Yoku, originating from Japan, means “forest baths” or “taking in the forest atmosphere” and provides the opportunity to reconnect with nature and its benefits, with great potential in Canada. This brief review aims to highlight the potential for the use of Shinrin Yoku in the Canadian context of education and healthcare. We conducted a narrative literature review including a search of four French and English databases (Google Scholar, Pubmed, Scopus, Cairn) from 1985 to 2017. Then, we classified 26 articles according to three main categories that emerged from the first reading of the abstracts. Benefits of Shinrin Yoku have been classified into physiological, psychological, and environmental categories. We analyzed the potential for use of this alternative intervention by educators and health professionals in Canada. A growing body of research suggests that Shinrin Yoku can have benefits on many aspects of an individual’s health and well-being. Given the resources already available in Canada, Shinrin Yoku could be integrated into existing programs and interventions, and could provide another option to educators and healthcare professionals seeking low-risk educational and intervention alternatives for their students and patients.

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S.M. and P.D. conducted the first article reviews and analyses; they conceived and designed the first draft of the paper. T.G. helped to complete the data collection and analysis and complete the data, rewriting and rearranging of the draft in preparation for submission K.N.D contributed to data collection and analysis and sought advice from expert critics to complete and improve the quality of the paper.

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Correspondence to Tegwen Gadais.

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Mathias, S., Daigle, P., Dancause, K.N. et al. Forest bathing: a narrative review of the effects on health for outdoor and environmental education use in Canada. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education 23, 309–321 (2020).

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