Forest bathing

I love being in nature. Whether it’s sitting in my garden or walking in a forest I find it very therapeutic and refreshing and it is an important part of my life. And I am not alone. The Japanese have the idea of Shinrin-yoku or Forest bathing. It’s basically, spending time in a forest or natural atmosphere and focusing on sensory engagement to connect with nature.

The sensory aspect is very important and it can involve using all five senses. Some examples of exercising this can include:

  • Listening to the sounds of the forest (birds and insects).
  • Touching and feeling the ground, the trees and the leaves.
  • Smelling the plants and trees.
  • Watching the forest, the breeze moving through it and the animals within it.
  • Tasting the crispiness of the air while breathing

While it started in Japan where 80% of people live in cities, it has spread to other parts of the world and it popular in America and Western Europe.

There are many reported benefits including:

·         Immune system booster. Experiments have shown that shinrin-yoku was associated with increasing levels of natural cells which are important in combating infection.

·         Mental health and mood improvement. Shinrin-yoku is linked to a recharging of positive energy, higher energy levels, and a purification of negative thoughts.

·         Decrease in blood pressure and stress. Studies have shown that it can decrease in pulse rate, blood pressure and concentration of the stress hormone cortisol.

In his series, Bill Bailey’s Australian Adventure, Bill (English musician, comedian and actor) shared his theory on nature, “Humans have an instinctive desire to connect with nature. And most of the time, we spend our lives indoors, in cars, buildings, and yet, we yearn to be out in all of this. What this is, is this thing, bio philia, our innate desire to be amongst nature. It’s part of our evolution. Our ancestors spent all their time out in nature. In our DNA we want this, we wanna be amongst this. This is where we feel more at home, in a way. And that is why I think that so many people here have this positive attitude in Western Australia, because of the proximity to the natural world. And bio philia, this innate sense of desire to be amongst nature, to connect with it, is really what it means to be human”.

Forestry England have produced a handy forest bathing guide. So, why not try spending a little time in nature and see how it can benefit you.

Comments are closed.