Forest bathing has its roots in Shinto and Buddhist traditions and was developed in Japan in the 1980’s as a way of helping the increasing number of workers with chronic stress.
Naming this practice Shinrin-Yoku, Japan has created over 64 official “Forest Therapy trails” since it’s conception, and the practice has spread all over the world.
Whilst Japan is credited with the term Shinrin-Yoku, the concept at the heart of the practice is not new. Many cultures have long recognised the importance of the natural world to human health.
Forest bathing can help you to slow down, become more aware and mindful of the joy of your natural surroundings and, really bathing in the smells, sights, sounds and taste of nature. Noticing, and taking in the small things we can all miss on our regular walks or hikes.
There are many benefits of Shinrin-Yoku
Studies have shown forest bathing can help to:
- Increase feelings of relaxation
- Reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve focus, concentration, and memory
- Boost the immune system
As well as many other evidenced health benefits.
Once you have developed the skills and techniques of forest bathing, you can experience the effects anywhere.
Nature is all around us … in your local park, garden or even whilst sitting in traffic in a car and focusing on the trees and greenery around you.
Book recommendation: Japonisme – A Japanese inspired guide to living a happier, more fulfilled life. Erin Niimi Longhurst.
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