Forest Bathing – A natural way to heal yourself

Life today is stressful. Most people are juggling lots of responsibilities at once. Especially if you are living in a city you might spend months after months riding back and forth in your car, looking at a computer screen and spending time indoors. Of course, this is not good for your health. Humans have a natural demand for going into nature, after all, that is where we started out before building houses and apartments. In a certain sense, it is going back to your natural habitat. Therefore, more and more people are deliberately taking up the practice of forest bathing. 

Forest bathing is basically going out into the wild to connect with the nature around you with the intent to heal yourself. It helps both your spiritual and physical health. This practice comes from Japan, where in the late 1980’s it was named “Shinrin-yoku” or translated into English “forest bathing”.

This type of experience is said to increase NK (Natural Killer Cells) in your body and therefore reduce cancer cells and bacterial infections. A Japanese study showed a 50 percent increase in NK cell activity after a three-day camping trip in the forest. Another study showed that even gazing at trees through a hospital window decreased rehabilitation time in patients. In fact, special areas in Japan are only considered suitable for Shinrin-yoku if a blood sample shows a specific increase in NK cells. 

There is significantly more oxygen in the forest, not to mention that the air is much cleaner compared to urban places. Apart from increasing NK cells in your body, forest bathing also reduces inflammation, helps you be more energized and get better sleep. Besides it also has a mood-boosting effect, it just makes you feel much happier. 

When people hear about forest bathing they immediately think that it is the same as hiking through the forest which, but that’s not the case. During forest bathing, your goal is to get your body into a calm meditative state and engage with the environment. You want to free your mind from other thoughts and listen intently to nature sounds around you, feel the grass, trees and fully soak in everything the forest has to offer. You can even take a nap. Taking off your shoes and walking around barefoot will also enhance your experience. 

Remember, it is best to leave all electronic appliance at home.  The more frequently you engage in forest bathing the more apparent its benefits will become. 

After all, we all need to let loose and get back to our roots once in a while.

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