Exploring the Healing Power of Forest Bathing: Effects on Serotonin, Depressive Symptoms, and Sleep Quality

June 13th, 2023

By Nikki Harper

Staff Writer for Wake Up World

In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and mental health issues have become increasingly prevalent, individuals are seeking natural and holistic approaches to improve their overall well-being. Forest bathing, also known as shinrin-yoku, has gained significant attention as one such practice. Research suggests that immersing oneself in a forest environment can have remarkable healing effects on the mind and body. This article delves into the findings of two notable studies on forest bathing and its impact on serotonin levels, depressive symptoms, and sleep quality.

Forest bathing has captivated researchers and wellness enthusiasts as an antidote to modern living. It involves intentionally spending time in a forest, engaging the senses and allowing nature’s therapeutic essence to take effect. One study explored the influence of forest bathing on serotonin levels in middle-aged individuals, revealing a significant increase after forest bathing sessions. This suggests its potential to uplift mood and alleviate depressive symptoms. Another study showed positive effects on subjective sleep quality, with participants reporting easier sleep initiation, increased duration, and enhanced satisfaction. Forest bathing offers a natural solution for combating stress and promoting mental health, allowing individuals to find solace in the healing embrace of the forest.

Effects of Forest Bathing on Serotonin and Mood Regulation

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter known for its role in mood regulation, plays a crucial part in our emotional well-being. The first study examined the effects of forest bathing on serotonin levels, depressive symptoms, and subjective sleep quality in middle-aged males. Participants engaged in immersive forest bathing activities for a designated period, allowing themselves to fully connect with nature. The results were intriguing, showing a positive association between forest bathing and increased serotonin levels. Furthermore, participants reported improvements in their depressive symptoms and subjective sleep quality, indicating the potential therapeutic benefits of this practice.

Forest Bathing as a Natural Antidepressant

Nature has long been recognized as a powerful source of healing and rejuvenation. The second study aimed to explore the effects of forest bathing on individuals with and without depressive tendencies. Dividing participants into two groups based on self-reported depressive tendencies, both groups engaged in forest bathing activities. The findings revealed that forest bathing had significant positive effects on the physiological and psychological well-being of participants from both groups. Notably, individuals with depressive tendencies experienced greater improvements compared to those without, suggesting that forest bathing could serve as a natural antidepressant.

Forest Bathing and Quality of Sleep

Quality sleep is vital for overall health and well-being. It is intriguing to explore how nature-based interventions, such as forest bathing, can influence sleep patterns. The first study mentioned earlier shed light on this aspect as well.

Ancestral Psychic

Participants who engaged in forest bathing reported subjective improvements in their sleep quality. While the exact mechanisms behind this phenomenon require further investigation, it is plausible that the calming and rejuvenating effects of nature help promote relaxation, reduce stress, and contribute to better sleep.


The emerging research on forest bathing and its effects on serotonin levels, depressive symptoms, and sleep quality provides fascinating insights into the potential therapeutic benefits of immersing oneself in nature. Forest bathing appears to have a positive impact on mood regulation, acting as a natural antidepressant for individuals with and without depressive tendencies. Furthermore, the practice shows promise in enhancing the quality of sleep, a crucial aspect of overall well-being. As we continue to uncover the healing power of nature, exploring forest bathing as a holistic approach to improving mental health becomes an exciting avenue for further research and personal exploration. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed or seek solace, consider venturing into the embrace of a forest and let nature’s embrace nurture your mind, body, and soul.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. If you are experiencing mental health issues, please consult a qualified healthcare professional.


About the author:

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World. She writes about divination, astrology, mediumship and spirituality at Questionology: Astrology and Divination For the Modern World where you can a freelance astrologer and her mind-body-spirit writing and editing services. Nikki also find out more about her work as also runs a spiritualist centre in North Lincs, UK, hosting weekly mediumship demonstrations and a wide range of spiritual development courses and workshops.