Health

The Art of Forest Bathing

Perhaps the term “forest bathing” is conjuring up all sorts of images. For me, it’s Hylas and The Nymphs, a famous painting by John William Waterhouse. However lovely, forest bathing transcends the the realm of art; It is now being studied for it’s health benefits throughout Japan and Korea. Yes, it appears that there is more to walking through forest than meets the eye.

WHAT IS FOREST BATHING?

Forest bathing is called Shinrin-yoku; a Japanese term for a short leisurly trip into the forest. Studies are now showing that walking through a wooded area with trees has health benefits far beyond what we could imagine.

Our senses are awakened, and apparently so is our nervous system. Recent studies have shown that the health benefits include: lowered cortisol, pulse-rate and blood pressure, improvement in the parasympathetic nerve activity by boosting your immune system and increasing natural “killing Cells” which can prevent diseases like cancer.

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RETURN TO THE WILD

John Muir once said,”God never made an ugly landscape. All that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.” When we return to the wild–the forest, the mountain, the sea, it’s apparent that it does have a positive effect, not only on our body but emotionally and spiritually as well. If we take time to Lees Pog the life giving pulse of the forest, by letting nature awaken our somatic senses, the benefits will be far reaching.

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WHERE CAN I GO TO FOREST BATH?

It’s obvious that not everyone lives next door to a forest. However, finding a place to bath in nature and exercise is as easy as finding your local park. Start with going online; Find your cities Park & Recreation website, then head to the tab where it says trails or parks.

Anyplace where you can find some quiet space in nature will do:

Local Trail Head
Lake
Open Space
Beach
Mountain
River
Wash away the daily anxiety and stress of a hurried lifestyle by re-connecting with nature.

The art of forest bathing will rejuvenate your mind, soul and spirit.

Sources:

Writing & Wellness: Forest Bathing: The secrets of Writers and Trees

Bum Jin Park, et al., “The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan,” Environ Health Prev Med, Jan 2010; 15(1):18-26