On the heels of Love A Tree Day, we turn our focus to green spaces and the benefits that trees can bring to our lives. Beyond providing shade, cleaning our air and many other things, trees are vital to forest bathing. Also known as shinrin-yoku in Japanese, forest bathing has become a way for people to reconnect with nature and promote mindfulness. After many months spent indoors, we feel that shinrin-yoku would bring positive change into the lives of many. Discover more about forest bathing, its origins, benefits and how you can practice it.
What is Shinrin-Yoku?
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that translates to “forest” (shinrin) “bath” (yoku). This practice is also sometimes referred to as “taking in the forest atmosphere”. However, the activity is not exactly a sport like climbing, hiking, running or jogging. It is more about connecting with nature by sitting in or strolling through forests to disconnect from technology, reduce stress and fight burnout.
Origins of Forest Bathing
The mindful practise of shinrin-yoku dates back to the 1980s in Japan. Promoted as both a psychological and physiological exercise, it began as a way for Japanese citizens living in huge cities to combat burnout and protect the country’s forests. A nationwide campaign encouraged citizens to practice shinrin-yoku, leading to the modern-day popularity of the activity. In the 1990s, Japanese scientists began to research the benefits of forest bathing. A formal study conducted in 2004 found that time spent in nature was beneficial for human health.
Health Benefits of Shinrin-Yoku
According to the United Nations, by 2050, it is projected that 66% of the world’s population will live in cities. As people migrate to cities, it will become more important than ever for them to look after their health, combating stress, pollution and free radicals. Several studies have been conducted on the potential health benefits of forest bathing. These benefits include:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased heart rate
- Lower concentrations of cortisol
- Lower adrenaline levels
- Reduction in levels of depression, fatigue, anxiety and confusion
- Increased parasympathetic nerve activity
- Anti-cancer effects
Furthermore, a 2018 study conducted at King’s College London found that exposure to the sky and birdsong promoted a sense of well-being for people who lived in cities.
How to Practice Forest Bathing
If you are hoping to achieve more peace of mind and take advantage of these health benefits, make time to practice forest bathing. Experts suggest that even 20 minutes are enough, but the ideal amount of time would be 10 hours a month. Furthermore, if a wooded area or forest is hard to get to you from where you live, you can also practice connecting with nature in a park.
Here are steps for how to practice shinrin-yoku from the expert, Dr Qi Ling:
- First, leave your phone and any technology behind when forest bathing.
- Then, find a forest or park where you can wander freely.
- Move slowly and let your body guide you where it wants to go.
- After that, take in your surroundings and focus on the sights, sounds and smells in the forest. Experiencing nature using all five senses is the key to the success of shinrin-yoku. Listen to the animals. Watch the light filter through the trees or admire the different shades of green around you. Touch a tree or wet your feet in a nearby stream. Smell the plants, flowers and dirt. Taste the air.
- Ling describes the sixth sense as the state of mind, with a relaxed state of mind achieved through a connection with nature.
Enjoy a mindful moment with forest bathing in a forest (or wooded area) near you! If you are searching for more natural tips and recipes, check out our eBooks! The Natural Skincare in 21 Formulas eBook is still on sale, so be sure to take advantage of this special price. As always, you can find comprehensive skincare lessons in our Complete Facial Skincare Online Course for Beginners and discover how to make professional, safe, and stable natural beauty products. We invite you to enrol in the course where you will learn how to make a luxurious Hyaluronic acid serum, cleanser, cream, face mask, moisturiser, gel, lotion, serum, toner, mist, exfoliant, elixir, ointment and fresh cosmetics. Also, be sure to follow WapoBeauty on Instagram for all your natural beauty recipes and questions!
About Our Blogger
Ashuni Pérez is an American writer based in Valencia, Spain. She has a passion for natural beauty and the environment. Ashuni loves to cycle and drink smoothies in the sun. Follow her on Instagram at @ashuuuuni.