Shinrin-yoku is the name given to the Japanese art of “forest bathing”, and it’s gaining popularity in America.
Translated as “taking in the forest atmosphere”, this bath doesn’t involve any water. ‘Forest bathing’ is a very slow walk through nature, and it’s recommended that you walk no more than three miles in a four hour time period. At this pace, you don’t want to confuse forest bathing with hiking.
But why is this mobile meditation catching on? Because it’s good for you.
As reported by The Atlantic, Japan made “forest bathing” part of its national health program in 1982, and has spent millions researching the scientific benefits.
Some of those benefits include reduced blood pressure, reduced stress, improved mood, an increased ability to focus, and increased energy levels. There are even studies that suggest the essential oils and smells from the trees have antimicrobial and immune-boosting powers.
It might not be mainstream in the US yet, but it could be on its way. Ben Page, a certified forest therapy guide in Los Angeles, told The Washington Post, “I think about where yoga was 30 years ago and where it is today, and I realize that forest therapy is making the same journey toward cultural definition in a way that will mainstream the practice.”
Of course the idea that spending time in nature is good for us is nothing new. However, in a world where people check their cell phones every 6 and a half minutes -- it seems like as good a time as any to unplug. So while the government debates health care and tries to see the forest for the trees --Maybe you’ll find a better you just by taking a walk among them.
Watch the video to see how nature can wash away your troubles.