Saturday, April 08, 2017

Forest Bathing

The Japanese national health programme of Shinrin-Yoku or 'Forest Bathing' was launched in 1982. It is seen as a form of healing for both body and mind, is free and very simple to do. Don't worry it's not bathing in pine needles or hugging an oak tree but simply spending time around trees. A gentle walk or time sitting in a forest or wooded area where you can take time to quietly contemplate and in turn benefit both your physical health and mental wellbeing. There has been extensive research but the short version is this... 

Trees emit a natural oil, phytoncides, into the air that have the benefit for humans of helping us maintain a healthy immune system. The physical benefits of Forest Bathing have shown a lower blood pressure, improved sleep and lower heart rate. The mental benefits have been shown to boost energy levels, improved focus (including children with ADHD), reduce stress levels and reduce depression.

This alone is great for our mental wellbeing and recovery from mental illness but if you want to step it up a level you could meditate, talk through your problems or write them down or even exercise in a woodland area. If you don't have a vast forest nearby try a local park. You could use a forest walk to build relationships with a loved one or spend time with your pet too.

For me I can feel the benefits immediately of being in a forest. I find it calming, enjoyable and a place that engages my senses.

Much love,
Becky xx


Timothy Phoenix said...

Hi Becky,
I have actually bathed in a forest, when I was in Thailand! It was downstream from some hot springs, so was cooled down to bath temperature. I sat there in my underwear in broad daylight, though was no one around when I was there. One of the most liberating things I've ever done.

I also recommend everyone to just spend time in nature as much as possible. It's similar to meditation but better because you get the benefits mentioned above. I go to my local park and walk amongst the trees as often as possible and it's a new practice that really helps de-stress.

Becky said...

That sounds amazing! We try to be out as much as we can and love going camping. Failing that I make sure we have house plants and sit in our small garden or eat my lunch outdoors at work. Anything to get a bit of natural light and fresh air :)