What is Forest Bathing?
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere”. It’s now the cornerstone of preventative health in Japan. Pine forests are particularly beneficial. Pine, spruce, and fir trees produce terpenes, which give them their special, distinctive scent. They help us breathe better.
They didn’t invent this process. But, researchers did study it extensively and found out how it works. They found trees in mature forests emit unique healing compounds known as “phytoncides”. These organic compounds are known to boost our immune system. So, spending time in diverse forests allows us access to these natural immune system enhancers. This is the essence of the process. Today many people around the world learn forest bathing.
Even if you are not near a pine forest, researches find many other types of trees also emit similar phytoncides. Mixed woodlands with deciduous trees and bushes are places many people find peaceful. No matter where you practice this technique, the effects last long after the exercise. It’s a quick and effective way to connect with the healing power of nature. And, now this research is spreading this technique as therapy throughout the world.
As we mentioned, the ideal place is a forest untouched by the hand of man. However, it can be done anywhere there are trees.
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
How Learn Forest Bathing
You can learn this technique anywhere, even if you are indoors. After all, most people live in cities made of asphalt, steel, and concrete. As a result, our modern life isolates us from our connection with nature. So, we can learn the process, then take it outdoors. Simple as that. It’s a simple two-step process. It involves practicing walking mindfulness while outdoors. So, you can learn the mindfulness technique first. Then, take it outdoors when you have the opportunity. Additionally, the practice of waking mindfulness has benefits even when done indoors.
Why do we need to learn this technique? It is obvious we have become more susceptible to illness and disease. For that reason, it’s become a way to boot our immune systems. This helps and regains this vital connection to nature which is important for our health and wellbeing.
Learn Forest Bathing and Enjoy these Benefits
Research shows that periods as short as 10 minutes have a lasting positive effect throughout the day. So, even if you don’t a lot of time try to get outdoors for a few minutes. Here is a list of the benefits.
- Immune system enhancement
- Lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels.
- Reduced levels of stress
- Ability to think and reason increase
- Increase in creativity
- Increased empathy for others and nature
- Peace of mind
- Time to contemplate
- Solitude helps us connect with our intuition
My religion is nature. That’s what arouses those feelings of wonder and mysticism and gratitude in me. ―
Forest Bathing Tips
Scientists in Japan and South Korea spent considerable time researching elements and techniques to perfect the best outcome. They found how to gain optimal results from the time spent. As a result, the best technique contains two main elements.
First, it is helpful to find a mature forest. If this isn’t possible, then you can use a natural space or garden. Remember it’s mature trees that are best. Then you need to spend the proper amount of time. Strolling around a variety of trees enables us to gain exposure to the most phytoncides.
Running through the forest doesn’t work as well. It doesn’t give you enough time to absorb the essential elements. Also, researchers found that being “calm” and peaceful helped with our ability to absorb these elements. One of the most important forest bathing tips is to slow down. Take your time. You need to spend enough time in one place for you to absorb the compounds. These observations provide guidelines on the best practices to obtain the best results. This is where the second part of the process comes in.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more
The second part of the forest bathing is Mindfulness Meditation (follow the link for details on this practice). Research shows that when participants combine the two processes together they receive the maximum benefit. Why and how does this mindfulness practice increase effectiveness? This is probably because mindfulness enables us to move our focus from internal thoughts to the external, to the surrounding forest. Mindfulness is the core of the process. Being mindful helps us to find the right place. Listen to your intuition. This is another one of the important forest bathing tips.
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.
Summing it Up
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair” — Kahlil Gibran
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia