In Japan, they practice something called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses.
It’s not exercise, it’s just BEING in nature. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world. Connecting us through our senses ~ sight, hearing, smell and touch.
We all know how good being in nature can make us feel. We’ve always known it - it’s instinctive from childhood. The sounds of the wind, the aroma of the trees, the leaves rustling, the fresh, clean air and sunshine — these things give us a sense of peace. This sense of peace eases our stress levels, it helps us to relax and to think more clearly, to breathe more deeply. Being in nature can uplift our mood, refresh and rejuvenate us. And we all know that lowering our stress levels, boosts our immune levels!
The good news is that even a small amount of time in nature can have a positive impact on our health. If you can practice forest bathing, without your tech devices and intentionally slowing down - taking in the nature around you in every SENSE, you will start to reap real health benefits. It will bring you into the present moment and de-stress and relax you. You will physically feel your cortisol levels dropping.
Did you know aroma is the primary language of trees? It’s how they communicate with the world around them. The aroma of the tree is actually the small molecules of the tree's natural essential oil. Smell is also our primary sense, a direct link to memory and emotion, and the receptors in our nasal passages are ready to listen. We have over one hundred different olfactory receptors, able to discern at least ten thousand odors. I share this because if you happen to live in the city, you can create a forest bathing experience in an apartment! Use Cypress or Siberian Fir, Arborvitae or Frankincense in a diffuser. Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Breathe deeply, extending on the exhale and for a few minutes ~ let your mind take you through the forest. You will gain a majority of the healing as if you were in Japan itself!
By the way, the photo to this blog was my family planting trees in Colorado to get more of those amazing tree molecules out into the air during this time where the world needs some love!