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A look inside Ireland's first 'healing forest'

A look inside Ireland's only forest solely dedicated for therapeutic use.

After navigating their way through mental health services for a relative in Ireland, Luke and Nicoline Walsh decided to use their family land as a space for stress relief.

The Healing Forest, based in Kilternan in Dublin, is Ireland's only forest dedicated solely for therapeutic purposes.

"We were very frustrated with what was available in terms of mental health services, so we decided to do something about it." Luke Walsh told Independent.ie.

The Walsh’s 33 acres forest is home to an array of wildlife, and is used for activities such as forest bathing, men's circles, and mixed circles.

Forest bathing, originally known as "shinrin-yoku", first emerged from Japan in the '80s, to help people relax and reconnect to the natural world.

The practice involves mindful walking through a forest, where awareness is drawn to one's senses.

"There's over 40 years of evidence to prove what we all know... that spending time in nature is good for you." Nicoline told Independent.ie.

"Sometimes our clients will even say things like...'this is like having a Xanax!'".

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