Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese practice done since 1982. Better known now as forest bathing, this ancient way of reconnecting with nature is becoming a cure for modern troubles and has dramatically increased in popularity all over the globe.
Forest bathing has many things in common to meditation – letting mind and spirit flow in an immersive yet emotional journey. The practice’s benefits are many, both physical and psychological. In a 2011 study, scientists found that people walking in nature had lower blood pressure than those in the city. Another study in Japan showed that inhaling the aroma from cedar trees boosts stress-fighting compounds in the body. The immune system increases production of white blood cells that kill disease, and blood pressure and surgical recovery time decrease as well.
The activity is really accessible considering that by 2019, the world will have 450 certified forest bathing guides across 23 countries around the world, so finding one will be easier than ever. You can still experience forest bathing on your own, free all your senses as you're doing it for the first time. Don’t carefully focus on everything. Instead, examine your surroundings and look at things that capture your attention. The focus is the scent of the forest, so far from modern life.
Take a deep breath through your nose for a free and natural aromatherapy. Better than any luxury spa. Close your eyes, stop walking, quiet your mind and just listen. The longer you open your ears to the sounds of the forest, the more you’ll hear, boosting your experience.
Next time you go outside, find your nearest nature trail and be ready to embrace the power of nature. Here’s some of the best forests to explore in Japan.