The term “Forest Bathing” was first coined in the eighties in Japan where they call it “Shinyin Yoku” in fact its what humans have done since the dawn of time because we all came from nature in the first place. Nearly 70% of the land mass in Japan is forest, yet most of the population live in cities. This is a very recent development for mankind so places great stresses and strains for people who are way outside of their comfort zone.
There is a huge amount of research and evidence to support the fact that spending time in nature is of great benefit to mental and physical wellbeing on a number of levels. Forest bathing is not just about strenuous exercise or hiking – though that is fine if that’s what you want to do. Forest bathing is also very much about “just being”. To begin with its hard for us to be still and stop doing all the time – and being still and just present in the moment needs practice. Communing with the trees and vegetation; taking in the sounds and smells and the sensations. Try taking off your shoes and really feel the earth beneath your feet. Developing your connection to the earth is a very grounding thing to do.
Whenever you can – get out in nature – it doesn’t need to be deep in the countryside – though that is good. Your local park is a great place to start. Forest bathing – being in nature is free, accessible to all, requires a no kit and can become a lifelong stress busting habit. It’s great for your health and your mental wellbeing and can help you sleep.