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Take a bath in the deep green

September 25, 2017

Take a bath in the deep green

September 25, 2017

Did you ever take a relaxing walk in the forest and thought that there should be a more exciting name for the activity? Actually, there is! Shinrin-yoku describes the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” as a way to improve your physical and mental well-being.


What sounds like an age-old and complicated practice is, in fact, quite simple. The term “Shinrin-yoku” literally translates to ‘”forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”. It was coined in 1982 by the Forest Agency of Japan in order to promote the beneficial health-effects of spending time in forests. Therefore, it is not a specifically Japanese practice and just puts emphasis on the healing qualities of spending time in nature. The benefits of regular Shinrin-yoku include relaxation, stress management, as well as a lower pulse rate and blood pressure. Hundreds of field studies have proven the practice to be actually effective and to measurably improve mental and physical health.


You don’t necessarily need an expensive spa treatment. Shinrin-yoku is as effective as it is economical and convenient – if you happen to live near a forested area. Step 1: Take a relaxed walk through the forest. Step 2: That’s it. Nature is beneficial to our health even if it’s only for a couple of minutes.


While a lot of people already enjoy doing forest walks and never really thought about the reason why, Shinrin-yoku offers an explanation and emphasises the benefits. Especially if you happen to live in a busy place, such as a big city, or if you have a demanding job, it can help reduce stress and better stress-related health problems.


Though the above-mentioned steps basically cover all you need to do, here are some ways of how to “forest bathe” like a pro: Take a long walk. It does not need to be fast or far but take your time, two or three hours at least. Another way is to just stay in one place and soak it all in. Sit down, relax, and enjoy the forest stimulating all your senses. If you want someone to lead you through your experience, there are a lot of programs offering guided walks. Shinrin-yoku is not a one-time event. Its goal is to develop a relationship with nature. So one should do it regularly and ideally enjoy doing it.


Image by DronExpert/iStock

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