9th Jul 2020
Although a walk in nature has long been an enjoyable pastime the art of forest bathing and the therapeutic benefits of nature is something which has only fairly recently been studied. Forest bathing originated in Japan in the 1980s, where it was given the name ‘Shinrin-yoku’. It focuses on using your five senses to allow nature into your body and mind to heal and repair. The art of Forest bathing is to immerse oneself in nature without distraction or destination and to allow you to be fully present. The focus is much more on the journey and the moment than where you end up.
I am sure we can all agree that spending time in the forest can help us to relax and clear our heads, but there is also scientific evidence that forests really do have healing powers and not just on our mental wellbeing. A study in Japan found that after just 2 hours in the forest participants showed lower levels of stress hormones, reduced blood pressure and improved concentration. Furthermore, there has also been research into the chemicals released by trees and the benefits on humans. Chemicals called phytoncides are thought to have anti-microbial effects on human bodies which help to boost immune systems.
With the stress of a global pandemic and the country in lockdown our normal lives are facing increased levels of disruption therefore it is now more important than ever to pay attention to our mental and physical health. Not only does a walk in the forest provide us with physical exercise it can also benefit us mentally and boost our immune systems. The National Trust has written a piece on forest bathing and also provided a guide on where to practice the art of forest bathing around the UK. Check it out below: