Forest Bathing

Have you ever heard of “forest bathing”? It is a practice of therapeutic relaxation where one spends time in a forest or other natural atmosphere, at a slow pace, without distraction, focusing on sensory engagement, in order to connect with nature and to de-stress. Certain trees and plants release compounds including essential oils that can be beneficial to our mental and emotional health and wellbeing. The practice originated in Japan as a result of increased urbanization and societal stress levels, and has gained popularity in the USA.  I attended one in Chester NJ earlier this summer. Check this website for year round schedules: “Shinrin-yoku” can be seen as similar to other adopted east-to-west health trends, such as yoga and meditation, in that it has been linked to numerous health benefits and can be performed solo, guided, and/or with others. It involves using all five senses, and letting nature enter through those senses. Some examples of utilizing all your senses while forest bathing are:

  • Listening to forest sounds, i.e. birds and insects.
  • Touching the ground, the trees, and the leaves.
  • Smelling the flowers and other essential oils of the plants and trees.
  • Observing the surroundings and scenery
  • Tasting the crispiness of the air while breathing

It is still a nice time of year to try this! Please see this NPR article about Forest Bathing!