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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Forest Therapy for Women with Gynaecological Cancer-A Feasibility Study to Find New Alternatives in Cancer Rehabilitation

Anundi, Hanna; Dolling, Ann; Palsdottir, Anna Maria


Cancer can have a significant impact on one’s life situation, with many patients reporting psychosocial discomfort, worry, anxiety, fear of recurrence, depression, tiredness/fatigue, sleep problems, pain and numerous other problems even long after active medical treatment. Psychosocial support during cancer rehabilitation has proven to be insufficient. In a recent debate article, the scientific committee of CancerRehabFund, Sweden, demands more rehabilitation alternatives for individuals living with cancer. Nature-based treatment is one of the alternatives mentioned as the way forward, but more research is needed. Therefore, we want to evaluate the patient’s experience of a ten-week forest bathing intervention, as an add-on to the standard care, and whether it can improve general health and well-being in women suffering or recovering from gynaecological cancer. The study will run between the autumn of 2022 and until the end of 2023. It is a prospective single-case study, including quantitative and qualitative approaches using validated self-administered instruments (pre–post measurements) and semi-structured interviews (post) on women’s lived experience of the 10-week forest bathing intervention. The quantitative outcome measurements will be the quality of life, fatigue and depression/anxiety. There will also be a questionnaire on perceived sensory dimensions experienced in the forest environment. The study will include 24 participants, divided into four groups of 6 participants. Once a week for ten weeks, the participants will be offered a session of a 2.5-hour stay in the forest with breathing exercises, slow movement, time in silence and privacy and a social gathering to conclude each session. Before and after each session, the participants will be invited to fill in the Profile of their mood state to describe their mood/feelings. There will be three different forest locations with varied forest cover types, i.e., evergreen, deciduous and mistands. Participation in this study will be voluntary, and all results will be anonymously presented on a group level. This paper is a protocol paper describing in detail the venues/forest sites, the forest therapy intervention and the scientific methodological approach for evaluating the ten-week intervention. To our knowledge, this is the first study on forest bathing for cancer survivors in Sweden. The Swedish Ethical Review Authority has approved the study [Dnr 2022-02083-01].


nature-based therapy; shin-rin yoku; cancer rehabilitation; forest bathing; outdoor therapy; nature-assisted interventions; public health; health care; cancer care; palliative care; grieving; compassion; sense of coherence (SOC); occupational balance

Published in

2023, Volume: 14, number: 2, article number: 333

      SLU Authors

    • Associated SLU-program

      Nature experiences and health

      Sustainable Development Goals

      Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Applied Psychology
      Other Health Sciences

      Publication identifier


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