COMING TO HONG KONG SOON? With its ample green spaces and access to water, Hong Kong seems perfectly equipped for nature prescriptions to take root. While they might not have caught on with doctors here yet, there are some resources that people can access if they want to selfmedicate on the great outdoors. Jasmine Nunns is Hong Kong’s first certified Nature & Forest Therapy Guide. Her company, Kembali, offers “restorative nature-based rewilding experiences” by leading groups through outdoors experiences like forest bathing and nature-based coaching. She believes that the city’s abundant wilderness has powerful healing properties that many Hongkongers could use as a powerful recovery tool from the onslaught of mega-urban life.
GO NATURAL Hong Kong is blessed with an abundance of natural treasures, from hiking trails to beaches. Here are a few facilitators to help get you out and into the wild. SHINRIN YOKU HONG KONG Japanese-style forest bathing, deeply rooted in a mindfulness practice. Facilitated by certified Forest Therapy Guide Amanda Yik. shinrinyokuhk.com 24
“Living in such an urban environment, people can disconnect from their bodies and find themselves numbing or coping with the multiple ways in which we are bombarded with information and stimulation,” says Nunns. She lists various health benefits, from lower blood pressure and improved sleep to better outcomes for patients suffering from ADHD or PTSD, all of which studies have shown can be induced by spending time in nature. Despite the science, Nunns says she has yet to meet someone in Hong Kong who has received a nature prescription from their doctor - yet. She believes it’s only a matter of time before doctors here catch up with healthcare professionals in places like New Zealand, Japan or the UK, where one of her teachers ran an NHS-backed programme that used coastal walks to alleviate anxiety in patients. “I think there will be a rise in recognition from the health industry to acknowledge the benefits of nature-based treatments from a physical and a psychological point of view,” she says. “But we have to remember that as much as nature-based therapies are on the rise, they are in no way a new prescription. Our ancestors would have had access and prioritised this relationship with the land, and seen it as a reciprocal relationship.”
KEMBALI Led by Jasmine Nunns, Kembali runs rewilding workshops, wild swimming events, forest therapy and other nature-based activities. kembali.com
ARK EDEN Located on Lantau, this nature-based organisation runs regular camps and day visits to learn all about nature in its “Forest School.” arkedenonlantau.org
HONG KONG FOREST ADVENTURES From its base in Ma On Shan, this outdoor classroom immerses children in the natural world in child-led, play-based activities, whatever the weather. hongkongforestadventures.com
THE BACKYARD GANG Catching bugs… building fires… The Backyard Gang recreates rural childhoods with its immersive programmes that take kids into the great outdoors of Hong Kong. thebackyardgang.com