Forest Bathing Can Be Transformative For Your Health
Why Forest Bathing Can Be Transformative For Your Health
Forest Bathing is one of the cornerstones of Japanese healthcare.
It’s now finally finding its place in Western culture, and we couldn’t be happier.
What could be better than taking time to totally unwind, connect with the earth and be at one with nature?
Introducing… Forest Bathing.
The history of Forest Bathing
Forest bathing – or shinrin yoku in Japanese – is the simple and natural act of absorbing the atmosphere of the forest for mental health and wellbeing.
It was developed in the 1980s and even introduced into a national health programme in 1982. It truly is a staple of Japanese preventative medicine and healing.
As a country heavily urbanised and bustling with crowds, the art of Forest Bathing provided an escape from the noise and fast pace of society. In fact, in the lush green forests of Liyama, every year over 2.5 million people walk the forest paths to ease stress and aid relaxation.
What is Forest Bathing?
It’s mindful time in the woods to enrich your mind, body and spirit.
Forget sweaty hikes. It isn’t about exercise or ticking off a long distance.
It’s about retreating back to nature to fully experience the fruitful benefits of our natural world.
It’s nature therapy; taking the time to simply be among the trees and soak up their healing energy.
The Benefits of Forest Bathing
The scientifically-proven benefits of Forest Bathing are abundant.
- A boost in your immune system, with an increase in your body’s count of Natural Killer (NK) cells
- Reduced blood pressure and stress
- Improved, more positive mood
- A vastly increased ability to focus (this has been seen in children with ADHD)
- Higher energy and improved sleep
- Faster recovery from illness or even surgery
- Clearer, healthier skin
On a deeper level, those adept at Forest Bathing will also find:
- A stronger sense of happiness
- Clear and driven intuition
- A powerful flow of energy
- An increased life force
- Reduced anxiety, anger and depression
- More poignant friendships
How to Forest Bathe Effectively
Although this is a very personal practice, there are some ways to ensure maximum impact.
- Choose your spot
Immunologist, author and Forest Medicine expert, Dr Qing Li, said:
Let your body be your guide.
Listen to where it wants to take you.
It’s important you find a spot that truly speaks to you; one you feel at home.
We are lucky to be surrounded by a plethora of natural beauty within the New Forest.
However, any green-land – an urban park, a nature trail or a reserve – can be used for Forest Bathing. The crucial part is finding a place you feel perfectly at peace.
- Take your time
Don’t rush; the slower pace you can take and the longer the amount of time you can spend, the better.
Dr Li suggests a minimum of 20 minutes, with two hours being the prime time.
It is a meditative process; it isn’t one to speed through.
- Ignite your senses
True mindfulness is achieved when we allow our senses to become fully engaged.
Inhale the indulgent smells of the trees. Listen to their song (or, appreciate their total silence). Touch their varied surfaces.
Only then will you be truly at one with nature.
- Try something different.
The wonderful thing about Forest Bathing is it is anything but prescriptive.
Why not add in something else that calms your soul?
You could write. You could perform yoga. Tai Chi. Meditation. You could sing. You could walk with a loved one. You could walk alone.
The options are endless. Choose the path that sets your heart alight.
Rain or shine, Forest Bathing is a free, transformative approach to natural wellbeing.
So why not step outside and try it for yourself today?
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