Malaysia can become a forest therapy reference centre as the first study on forest therapy was conducted by researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). It has also attracted many researchers and health practitioners to refer to and obtain information from UPM.
They would like to know how to carry out forest therapy according to their countries' suitability and existing facilities.
UPM researchers have conducted experiments on the effectiveness of forest therapy on students and mature and working women. The study results showed an increase in the level of stress reduction before and after forest therapy.
Malaysia has beautiful and extensive tropical rainforests. Therefore, forest therapy should be included in the country's eco-tourism activities.
Malaysia also has many green areas near urban areas that can be used as the locations for forest therapy according to the suitability of individuals and groups.
Recently, the management of the Fourteenth College, UPM, in collaboration with the Malaysian Society of Soil Science (MSSS) and Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan, held an international webinar entitled 'Forestry in Motion: Appreciating Green Space Around Us', which is the first webinar in Malaysia highlighting the importance of forest therapy in Southeast Asia.
The webinar presenters were Prof. Dr. Iwao Uehara (Japan), Dr. Nor Akmar Abdul Aziz (UPM) and Dr. Keeren Sundara Rajoo (UPM Bintulu Campus, Sarawak) who shared their experience and skills on how forest therapy can be carried out in tropical rainforest areas such as in Malaysia and regional countries.
Prof. Dr. Iwao Uehara said forest therapy is practised with intervention activities in the forest that focus on improving one's health. The forest therapy method is widely practised in Japan.
"Through forest therapy, participants not only learn the techniques of proper forest therapy practice but also can feel the importance of caring for the environment," he said.
He said that Malaysia can conduct forest therapy on a large scale as the country has a large forest area and many eco-tourism areas suitable for forest therapy locations.
Principal of the Fourteenth College, UPM, Dr. Daljit Singh, said Malaysia has many forests and green areas in the city that could be used as forest therapy centres.
As a forest therapy researcher, he said among the research related to forest therapy that the UPM forest therapy research group has conducted is the effect of forest therapy on institutional students and the effect of spending time in city parks for women working in offices.
“The study results showed a positive effect on the participants in terms of reducing their stress levels.
"Indeed, many people carry out outdoor activities such as hiking and jogging, but it is not the same as forest therapy which is more focused on enlivening the forest environment," he said.
The Movement Control Order (MCO) has slowed down field activities. However, forest therapy can be implemented in public parks, parks in residential areas and housing areas with trees.
The cost of conducting forest therapy is also not high because it can be carried out in forest areas easily visited. However, the technique of handling forest therapy must be based on the needs of the participants and the environmental conditions to feel the positive effects. - UPM
Date of Input: 22/04/2021 | Updated: 23/04/2021 | hairul_nizam
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