It’s officially summer! And it may be time for your to take a bath! Not just any bath, a Shinrin-yoku. In Japanese this means forest bathing or taking in the forest through our senses. The question is, do you have time to take a summer bath? Will you make time to take a summer bath? Consider some reasons why you might want to experience forest bathing. There is now a wealth of medical data that advocates for shinrin-yoku as viable health strategy.
Consider the data from Dr. Quing Li as you ask yourself, “should I try forest bathing?”
- Reduce blood pressure
- Lower stress
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Lift depression
- Improve energy
- Improve pain thresholds
- Boost the immune system
- Improve Sleep
- Improve Concentration at work and school
How do you begin?
“Forest bathing doesn’t require any type of exercise such as hiking or tai chi. There’s also nothing in particular you need to do,” Li says. “You can do anything you like. This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.”
In Japan 75% of the land is forested and many residents are escaping urban density and heading to these trees. In Tokyo, there are 6,158 people per square kilometer. In comparison, London has 1,510 inhabitants per square kilometer, Paris 2,558, and New York, 1,800. This type of density can create stress. Multiple organizations in Japan promote forest bathing clubs, programs and trails to help reduce stress. The World Health Organization has declared stress the health epidemic of the 21st century. Finding ways to manage stress is one reason to try Forest Bathing.
Where is there a park with trees close to you? Give it a try. See how you feel after your first forest bath of the summer. Enjoy.