There’s something soothing and relaxing about taking a stroll through a peaceful, lush rainforest. The chirping of the birds, the rustling of the breeze and the scents of the trees have been enjoyed by people for centuries. We’re loving the term the Japanese have given to getting amongst forests in your spare time – forest bathing – or in their language, Shinrin Yoku. This form of eco-therapy was developed in the 1980’s and has become a popular form of preventative health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
It is also becoming a pastime in the US, where resorts and nature parks are offering guided, forest bathing walks for visitors to soak up the sights and sounds of nature.
Forest Bathing is not about hiking, climbing or running the trails. It is simply visiting a natural area and wandering or just sitting amongst nature, preferably for a few hours and taking in the sounds, smells and sights of the forest.
Without getting too scientific, the sense of relaxation that comes from Forest Bathing comes from trees releasing essential oils and organic compounds. The trees do this to protect themselves from germs and insects but this process has the wonderful side effect of smelling great AND improving our health.
Forest Bathing has been said to lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce stress hormone production, boosts the immune system and improves feelings of well-being.
Other benefits are said to be decreased feelings of depression, improved focus, greater creativity and increased energy.
If you don’t have a rainforest in your back yard don’t despair. A leisurely relaxed bushwalk or stroll through your local Botanical Gardens will do the trick as would grabbing a sandwich in your lunchbreak and sitting quietly in your local park.
We can’t wait to hear how you’re enjoying your next Forest Bath : )