“The sounds of the forest soothe our frazzled heads, lift us out of mental fatigue and give us the silence in which to think.”1
Forest Bathing – or Shinrin Yoku, as it is known in Japan – originated as an antidote to our unfulfilling modern lifestyles that have led to such damaging disconnection from the land. Many of us find that when we are immersed in the peace and tranquillity of the woods, we slow down our bodies, quieten our minds and step aside from everyday cares. Thus opened to a new way of being, we return refreshed and rejuvenated, with a deeper connection to nature, to our selves and to what truly matters.
“To enter a wood is to pass into a different world in which we ourselves are transformed.”
Roger Deakin in Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees
“Studies have repeatedly shown that the sounds of nature relieve stress and that we feel relaxed when we can hear birdsong or running water.”2
Clinical researchers have amassed a body of evidence that demonstrates the mental and physical benefits of being in nature. There is now a wealth of data that proves that forest bathing lowers stress, anxiety and depression, reduces blood pressure, increases metabolism, fights fat, promotes a healthy heart and helps us sleep.
People also report how re-connecting to nature can awaken a sense of childlike wonder, curiosity and playfulness, as well as the freedom to be ourselves and a newfound enjoyment of simply being in the moment. It can even kindle an experience of awe, interconnectedness and the deep beauty and mystery of the universe.
Selected research papers from the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (USA)
A Guide to Nature Immersion: Psychological and Physiological Benefits
Physiological Effects of Nature Therapy: A Review of the Research in Japan
Medical Empirical Research on Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku): A Systematic Review
1, 2 Li, Dr Qing Into the Forest: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, 2019