The Benefits of Bringing the Outside In


Liz Brown, M.D. and specialist Library Designer on how nature therapy can help improve day-to-day wellbeing

It is no secret that being surrounded by nature is great for both physical and mental health. Indeed, many of us instinctively head outside to de-stress, unwind and refresh ourselves, particularly after spending our working day indoors. Running, hiking and even just taking the dog for a walk are ways that thousands of people get out into the fresh air every day.


And this instinct is a good one because the benefits of ‘nature therapy’ are also backed up by science. A 2018 study carried out by the University of Derby found that an improved connection with nature led to significant increases in health and wellbeing. It is a proven fact that spending time outdoors reduces blood pressure, lowers the body’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol and improves concentration and memory.

Forest bathing or ‘shinrin-yoku’ was first developed in Japan in the 1980s, following scientific studies conducted by the government. The results showed that two hours of mindful exploration in a forest resulted in significant and measureable health and wellbeing gains. They also found that trees releases chemicals called phytoncides, which actually boost the immune system. As a consequence of this research, the Japanese government introduced ‘shinrin-yoku’ as a national health programme.

Over the last few years the UK has also seen forest bathing increase in popularity, with locations across the country where anybody can go and spend time totally immersed in natural surroundings.

So in an ideal world, all schools would have their own forest! How amazing would that be?

Well yes, it would be amazing, but not really practical. Where would it go? Who would manage and care for it? And what about Health and Safety?

OK, artificial trees and products with an outdoors theme may not be quite the same as the real thing, but studies show that even looking at leaves and foliage and thinking about being surrounded by nature can provide some of the positive benefits of actually being outside.

Monksmoor Library Case Study
Inkersall library high view

For these reasons we decided to develop a range of new products that have been put together with the aim of allowing schools to bring a natural, outdoors feel to their interior spaces.

So take a look at our latest catalogue or have a browse online at our ‘Bringing the Outside In’ range and then give us a call and let us help you create your very own woodland oasis.