Practicing the art of Shinrin-yoku / “Forest Bathing”
You may be wondering- what on earth is ‘Forest Bathing’? Well, being outdoors and amongst trees and flora, breathing in fresh air has far more health benefits than you might think. Researchers primarily in Japan and South Korea, have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest.
Developed in the 1980’s, it’s been proven that by simply walking through a forest in a relaxed way and taking in the atmosphere, you will feel a calming effect with rejuvenating and restorative benefits. This practice has actually become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
Of course, we already know this to a degree… a good walk in nature always makes you feel pretty good. In the past several decade though, studies are demonstrating the mechanisms behind the healing effects with highlighted benefits.
Health Benefits of forest bathing Include:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced stress
- Improved mood
- Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
- Accelerated recover from surgery or illness
- Increased energy level
- Improved sleep
- Deeper and clearer intuition
- Increased flow of energy
- Increased flow of CH’I (life force)
- Deepening of friendships
- Overall increase in sense of happiness
As you can see, there are a significant number of positive outcomes that can arise from spending a bit of time in nature. Overall, we can also learn to connect in new ways with the world around us with a more open mind.
There is an organisation set-up called Shinrin-Yoku, with advice on how to incorporate this practice into your life. They have relevant blogs about connecting with nature, even if you aren’t near a natural space to enjoy! If you really want to go in-depth into the science of Shinrin-Yoku, have a read of the scientific research with results from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan here.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy- happy forest bathing!