While the term “forest bathing” may seem conjure up images of washing up in a lake or spring amongst a wooded area, it has nothing to do with water at all. Forest bathing, known as “shinrin-yoku″ in Japanese, is actually the practice of spending quality time in the forest surrounded by trees. While it is a very uncomplicated activity (no hiking or strenuous exercise required) that literally requires nothing more than strolling around in a wooded area and soaking up the delightful atmosphere, it can have profound effects on overall wellbeing. From reducing stress levels and boosting your mood to improving your immune system, forest bathing offers some seriously impressive health benefits.
The Japanese government began promoting the concept in the 1980s, which has since then grown to become one of the most beloved pastimes in the health-conscious nation. Countries like the United States are now adopting this long standing Japanese wellness practice, with nature parks and resorts jumping on the bandwagon with guided forest bathing walks. One of the reasons forest bathing seems to have a profound effect on the mind, body and spirit is the fact that it focuses on appreciating all of the details of the forest, from the many aromas to the beautiful sounds and sights found within nature. Although it is slowly gaining popularity in places outside of Japan, some experts believe it will become a common practice in many other countries in the coming years.
Take a look at some of the amazing benefits that forest bathing can provide you:
- Lower stress levels – Forest bathing is one of the easiest ways to get your stress levels in check. Enjoying time in the woods can help lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your system, slow down the heart rate and lower blood pressure. In short, forest bathing will have you feeling more zen just by spending time in nature. Taking the time to calm the body and mind through forest bathing is clearly worth it!
- Give your immune system a boost – Trees emit a chemical called phytoncides, which have a protective effect on the immune system, so naturally spending more time amongst trees is an effective way to receive more of these beneficial chemicals. When your immune system is functioning at its best, it can help guard against viruses, cancers and other illnesses.
- Improve your mood – Forest bathing forces you to slow down your mind and stop worrying about your own issues. Instead, you focus on everything around you, whether that happens to be the feeling of cool, crisp air, the smell of flowers blooming, the sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet or the sight of wildlife enjoying their natural environment. When you begin to appreciate everything that triggers your senses in the forest, you are bound to feel your mood lighten no matter how rough your day has been.
Even though the concept of forest bathing is absolutely simple, its amazing benefits show that it is definitely worth trying.
To learn even more about the practice of forest bathing, click the following video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stuZaKB9j7I