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If you are a wilderness lover, then you have most probably heard of the transforming act of forest bathing. For those of you who are wondering what this term means, forest bathing is a particular type of psychological and physiological exercise introduced by the Japanese in the 1980s. Shinrin Yoku is the term used for this in the Japanese language, where Shinrin means forest, and Yoku means bath.
Have you ever been camping?
Is it not just the most relaxing and soothing experience ever, as if you are free and can let loose? It is the best feeling in the world because as you lose yourself in the scenery, you also feel the stress leave your body. Many scientists have highlighted the importance of connecting with nature as it has a significant impact on human health. It is incredible how only as few as two hours can have a profound effect on your ability to fight diseases not only physically but also mentally. Even if the term forest bathing did not exist before, the concept of connecting to nature around one goes way back.
Why Do We Need Forest Bathing?
The honking of the cars outside our bedroom windows, the numerous skyscrapers that block the sun from shining down on us, and the wide roads that never seem to end are what surround us. We need to take a break once in a while and see what lies around.
According to research, 66% of the world’s population lives in cities, and 95% of these people spend their time indoors. That is a considerable percentage of people who might not even know what else is out there!
So, it might be time to leave your mobile phones, iPods, laptops, and other devices at home. Set out on a journey to free your mind and your soul. Stop thinking about how many likes you got on your picture or who might be texting you!
Let your heart guide you to a place of extreme quietness, where you can listen to the music of nature!
Make Time for Yourself and Your Loved Ones!
Whatever we do, we can barely find the time to free ourselves from reading all the reports and making presentations for work. Forest bathing allows us to spend time with family and take a vacation from the daily chores. Reconnecting with loved ones is just as important as work.
It is essential to use all of your five senses to connect with Mother Nature. Let yourself lose and listen to the sound of the raindrops falling to the ground, let the smell of wet sand take over you and embrace the beauty of those tiny crystal particles landing on tree leaves, and then slowly dripping down.
Benefits of Forest Bathing
Forest bathing has a lot of benefits for the mind, but it sure does have numerous advantages for your body as well. Spending time with nature has said to give your body an immunity boost. Trees are supposed to release a chemical known as phytoncides that give you an increase in your immunity system and can last for a couple of weeks.
A lot of people make tea out of the leaves of Palm and balsam trees because they are said to have a considerable amount of Vitamin C and other antioxidants that are again beneficial for your immune system.
Another reason why nature bathing is a critical practice is that it allows you to distance yourself from all the toxic relationships you are handling. When you get to a place of quietness and tranquility, you start to listen to the voices inside. It makes you realize all the reasons why you should be getting away from all the negativity in your life. Essentially, it makes you ponder over relationships and plans that might have affected your peace.
Forests can also lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, so this is a natural way to ensure the well-being of your heart. Being in touch with scenery helps you to increase your focus and concentration and makes your memory better. Additionally, connecting with nature makes you fight depression, anxiety, and other mental afflictions that are harmful. Many health specialists have suggested Eco-therapy, and it has been proven beneficial by many studies.
Where Can You Do It and How?
You can carry forest bathing anywhere you want. How great is that? It does not have to be a forest every time. All you have to do is find a beautiful and quiet spot where there are trees, damp soil, and sunshine. Nature bathing depends on the type of place that calms you down the most, rather than the physical location of it. For some, it might be the trees, and yet for others, it might be as the ocean crashes its waves on the shore and retreat slowly.
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is one of the many people who practice forest bathing. She used this concept for her 2019 Chelsea Flower show entry (Wallop, 2019). One of the ways through which she conveyed the sense of attaining calmness was by building a treehouse.
It shows that your spot can be any place as simple as a park near your house or lovely countryside where you can go for a picnic. However, remember forest bathing is not exercising or jogging; it is merely lying down in the grass and soaking the sun while the wind brushes through your hair. For this therapy to work, you must disconnect yourself from the rest of the world. Find your connection anywhere in the world and any weather, be it hot, cold, rainy, or sunny.
What do you say? Would you like to give forest bathing a try? Dive into your soul and transport yourself to a state of completeness and calm!