Forest Bathing is probably not what you think it is. There is no bath tub and no need to be naked either! It’s all about being immersed in the beauty of nature.
The term forest bathing is a translation of the Japanese term shinrin-yoku. In 1982 the Japanese Government came up with the term to encourage city folk to get back to nature for better health. And there is growing evidence to back up the health claims.
Why Forest Bathing?
It’s our natural habitat – until quite recently in human history, we spent nearly all our time in nature but nowadays most of us live in or nearby urbanized areas. We spend very little of our time in nature and outdoor activities is declining.
Access natures healing power – being connected with nature through forest bathing can help to activate our own natural healing mechanisms. The healing power of plants cannot be disputed and most modern medicines originally came from natures own pharmacy. Connecting with the natural world can give us an opportunity to tap into this healing power.
Being in nature can reduce stress levels – bathing in nature can increase your general level of health and well being by reducing blood pressure and decreasing stress hormone levels. The relaxation produced can turn down the anxiety dial and give the mind and body a well deserved rest.
It helps you slow down – Forest bathing is more than just heading to the woods for a day! A more mindful and therapeutic approach where we walk slowly and gently take in as much of the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and textures as we can. Walking meditation taken for a walk 🙂
Nature is well known for enhancing creativity – writers, poets, artists and musicians have known this little secret for centuries and still head out into nature when its time to create that next masterpiece. If you are in need of a creativity boost then forest bathing may just be the spark you need.
Unplug from technology – we are surrounded by technology in our always connected world. While this has its benefits, we can be a slave to tech and it can drain our precious energy. Forest bathing allows us to unplug and disconnect from technology while connecting and plugging back into nature.
Are you ready to go for a forest bath?
There are many resources online and quite a few Shinrin-Yoku walking clubs are popping up around the world but there is no reason why you can’t just give it a try yourself.
All you need is a quiet and gentle forest or wood walk, some suitable walking clothes and some motivation. Leave the technology behind if possible and you’re good to go.
Once you are there, remember it’s about slowing down and reconnecting with the natural world. Using all your five senses to be as present as you possibly can.
- See the beauty of the world around you
- Hear the surround sound of nature in full effect
- Feel with the feet and touch with the hands. Notice the air on your skin
- Smell the freshness and aliveness of the air