If you’ve never heard of forest bathing or Shinrin Yoku you will probably believe it’s the act of taking a bath in a forest…. So before you dig out your soap and rubber duck let’s have a look at just what you need to know about forest bathing?
Forest bathing or Shinrin Yoku was first developed in Japan in the 1980s, following studies conducted by the Japanese. The studies revealed forest bathing helped lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.
The definition of forest bathing, or Shinrin Yoku, is the act of spending time in a forest and opening your mind and senses to the natural surroundings to experience feelings of peace, tranquillity and wellbeing. By incorporating gentle mindfulness exercises that use the healing powers of the forest. It’s not just a stroll through the forest with a group of friends it’s about immersing yourself in nature and using your sensory awareness to see, hear and feel nature around you.
Not only is forest bathing beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing, but it’s also free and relatively accessible for most people. You don’t need expensive gear just sensible footwear and you’re all sorted! Having said that forest bathing is not a simple stroll through the forest, it’s about slowing down to connect with the forest, and yourself.
How to Forest Bathe
- Clear your schedule to give yourself time to truly embrace forest bathing. Two hours is the recommended time for a forest bathing session, but if you’ve got a busy day then even just 30 minutes in nature can help you to feel refreshed.
- Leave behind or turn off your phone, camera, iPod or any other distractions, so that you can fully enjoy and appreciate the experience. This is so hard for most people, but vital if you want to feel the benefits of this therapy. After all, an hour or two of digital detoxing can only be a good thing.
- Give yourself time to relax there is no need to rush, take a slow meandering walk. By taking things slowly, you’ll have the time to truly absorb your surroundings which will help you de-stress, relax and reconnect.
- Refraining from any unnecessary talking if you go with others now is not the time to catch up on the latest gossip. It’s a time to clear your mind and to enjoy the peace and harmony of nature.
- Embrace your surroundings by looking more closely at the wonders of the forest. Listen to the sounds around you, the birds chattering the breeze blowing through the trees. There is so much happening in our forests taking the time to listen, feel and breath is a wonderful calming experience.
- Let your body guide you; if you feel like sitting to embrace the nature around you, do so. There are no hard rules to adhere to in the forest it’s about simply relaxing and enjoying the wonders of nature.