An old trend is hip again: go into the woods and take a “forest bath”! What is so special?
Love to nature is in our genes, according to American psychologist Edward Ol Wilson. Due to our sedentary indoor lifestyle, we lose contact to the source which affects body, mind and soul, the so-called “nature-deficit-syndrome”.
Experiencing tranquility in the woods has a positive impact on the immune system. So has the different kind of stimuli we encounter there, according to studies of Prof. Quing Li from Nippon Medical School in the 80ties. Terpenes are biochemical substances, trees communicate with and ward off threatening bugs. They produce the special smell and are said to directly influence our immune system.
Shinrun-Yoku or “immersing in the atmosphere of the forest” has become part of the Japanese preventive health care program. Im Akasawa an infrastructure of special forest therapy points has been installed.
What is said to be different to a regular walk in the woods is the awareness: you go slow and become aware of your surroundings, not chatting. Stimulating awareness is therapeutic. Therefor the new old trend has swapped over to the US and Europe.
3 things to focus on when you practice forest-bathing:
- Go slow, no objective, nothing to reach for, if you feel like, stretch or climb over a tree trunk
- Perceive mindfully, be in the moment without judging anything, use your senses, look, smell, touch.
- Time for contemplation: rest, gaze into the distance, relax, observe your breath flowing smoothly in and out. Just be. Or meditate. Or dream.
It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s effective. The zero waste sustainable approach to living the good life.