Just so you know, if someone happens to ask you what you think of Shinrin-Yoku, it isn’t a new type of sushi! It’s actually the name of one of the fastest growing health trends in the world – achieving total relaxation by bathing in a forest.
Shinrin-Yoku means “absorbing the forest’s atmosphere with all your senses” or, literally, “forest bathing”. The method is a Japanese one and has developed in response to the symptoms of stress that are becoming a worldwide phenomenon today. And research has clearly shown that after spending time in the forest, your blood pressure falls, your stress hormone production is reduced, you sleep more deeply, your ability to concentrate improves, and your immune system is boosted. And the positive effects have also been shown to be both immediate and lasting. Spending 30 minutes in a forest is enough to make tangible improvements in your stress levels, blood pressure and pulse rate. And spending a whole weekend in nature will boost your immune system for a whole month!
Forest bathing is easy, but here are a few simple tips on the best way to go about it. Visit a forested area that you like, where you can wander slowly, freely and undisturbed. Leave your mobile phone at home or turn it off. Leave your goals behind you too. Stop, from time to time, and sense whether your body wants to go in a particular direction. Be quiet and still. Notice how birds and other living creatures behave differently when they get used to you being there. If you feel like it, sit down for a while on a rock or a tree stump and be completely silent and still. Focus on your breathing. If you’re not alone, agree not to speak, but by all means share your experiences after your walk.